Yoga Observations & No Expectations – The stories we create in our head…
On this Memorial Day as we remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice I am gently reminded of why we take this day to be quiet and reflect upon all those who never came home. Finally after two yoga classes, an hour-long sauna, and two hours of Karen Carpenter I find myself in somewhat of a somber mood. I am in final preparations to leave Wednesday on my travels across the country. In addition, Susan also left this morning on her own journey across the country to meet her sister in Denver and then fly to her nephews wedding in Portland. A mast of emotions are arising for me today, as I am both sad, worried, and somewhat scared for Susan to be driving all the way to Denver by herself since her injury. I am having a difficult time with these emotions as each hour that passes another thought runs through my mind. What if she can’t make it, has an accident, gets a flat tire, and the story continues to create itself as the day unfolds. Yet I gently remind myself that she is a grown woman, we are getting a divorce, and she makes her own decisions whether I think those decisions are good or bad. I wrote about this last week in my blog that the hardest most excruciating lesson I have learned because of this tragedy is the only thing I can change is myself. Even as I write these words I must continue to articulate my own feelings out loud to myself, “Deb you can not change other people, nor change the way they think, act, process, and make decisions. The only thing that you can change is yourself. Deb be kind to yourself and remember you are strong enough, brave enough, smart enough, have done enough, and continue doing enough.” I recently finished 4 Brene’ Brown books, so if you’re a fan of hers you will often hear a lot of her work in my journey. Brene' posted this picture on her blog today, so since it spoke to me I wanted to add it to my post too.
This morning at my yoga studio we celebrated, remembered, and dedicated our practice to the husband of one of the studios yogis who recently lost her husband of only 48 years old. Why is a vibrant man in his prime suddenly taken from his wife and children while out riding his bike? So many questions are running through my head as I consider my own personal hardships and journey in this life. There are so many whys that will most likely never be answered in this lifetime. I frequently find myself caught right in the middle of WHY on most days. Why is a really big question for a word spelled with only three letters? Personally, I have spent hundreds of hours contemplating on my own losses and why did these events happen? Why did Susan get hurt, why did our relationship fall apart, why did my mother commit the ultimate sin against my dad, and why and how did I finally summon the strength to get off the floor in December? Many of these questions resonate in my relentlessly chattering head, yet I have discovered when I practice yoga I can find presence in myself and peace in my soul. I have attributed my practice of yoga and the beautiful people I have met at NWA Hot Yoga to saving my life. This morning as I practiced in the studio I felt much sadness for the family who lost their father, husband, and friend, yet I felt an overwhelming gracious stillness within my heart that my life had been spared. Again the big why question could continue to come back into play; nevertheless in those hours in the studio I find calmness in those questions and feel a surge of positive energy and peace. This past week I have been to the yoga studio for extra classes as I prepare myself for the upcoming trek across the United States. In a most recent class, I experienced something that truly caught me off guard emotionally and physically. To this point, I have become accustomed to a certain rhythm and focus with each particular yoga class at the studio. However, this past week I experienced an unearthing of how I have perceived certain expectations in others, situations, and events in life. I now know that this has caused me a great deal of heartache over the years. I have now realized unknowing I had made it a practice to set expectations upon others. I did this to my family, friends, colleagues, students, strangers, and hell yes myself. I totally set myself up for disappointment that was completely of my own doing. I recently gained incredible insight into my practice of placing expectations upon others to do, say, react, behave in a certain way, or especially be able to read my mind. Now much of the credit for helping me process through my aggravations is owed to a recent conversation I had with a friend who has an incredible gift for listening non objectively and pulling out only the facts. She has the innate ability to leave out emotional rubbish and provide solid feedback based only the core problem she heard from what I explained. Perhaps that is a skill of a pharmacist, facts only, and dot all the I’s and cross every T. Nevertheless, she listened without interruption as I was vented about my frustrations in a yoga class I had just attended. I said to Colleen “during my yoga class today I was totally out of my rhythm, my head was racing, I was frustrated and I even became a little angry. The lady who was teaching today threw me off my breathing and irritated the crap out of me. It took me 30 minutes to get my head back in the game and start to do my own thing.” I spent over an hour in deep discussion of why this particular instructor had almost ruined my individual experience that morning. I deeply wanted to know and connect the dots in my mind of why I allowed this lady to get in my head. As I reflected that evening I tried to figure out when I had felt like this in the past, and what was the correlation between this feeling and similar events in my life? Up to this point after hundreds of hours practicing yoga at the studio, I wanted and needed to figure out why a different yoga instructor had almost tipped me over the edge in my practice. In just one sentence my funny fact filled skippy to the rescue no nonsense friend said, “Deb it makes perfect sense, you went into this particular yoga class with one set of expectations and totally got something else.” I looked at her and said, “shit, you are exactly right!” I previously had attended that specific Power Flow class with Scott or Marilisa. I completely knew what to expect from both of them even down to the tempo song selections, and pacing. As I continued my discussion with Colleen about why this feeling was so disconcerting to me, my mind wandered into a philosophical space of how I have had this feeling many times before in my life. One conversation about a yoga instructor has given me insight into 35 years of setting unfair expectations of others and myself and then getting pissed off when it does not work out as I pre-expected it to. I am learning how Yoga has no preset expectations, just show up and be present within yourself. This is a lifetime skill that I will continue to work on for myself as I travel, pray, heal, reflect, and gain perspective into what I want in my future. During the next 30-day trek across the country I will use these experiences to gain a peaceful resolve in my mind on many issues, feelings, and emotions. I embark upon this trek with very few expectations working towards allowing myself to be vulnerable to the many unplanned lessons that unfold. I am the queen of the monkey in the mind and have for years created meaningless situations from pebbles in the road to volcano eruptions and earth shattering matters. I ask for patience to understand myself, unravel emotions, forgiveness, understand things I have lost, believe that I will love again someday, all while granting myself some slack in the process. I am very grateful for the gift of several long-term friends, new friendships, and my supportive family. I embrace the journey to continue to learn, expand, and become myself again.
Let the journey begin within yourself