Once upon a time, seated postures were so impossible for my rigid and bound body that I could only ever practice a standing series.
Now, seated postures are exactly what I need.
Partly it’s because my body has opened up enough that it is now possible for me to sit on the ground with my legs straight out in front of me and my spine extended upward.
Until that point is reached, seated postures either need modification, or props.
But also, it’s because I’ve changed.
Once a driven, ambitious, controlling, machine-like person ruled by the mind, now I’m learning to soften, let go, surrender and feel.
And softening, letting go and surrendering is the only way to access seated postures. Actually, it’s the only way to access all postures, but in standing postures, it’s deceptively easy to grip and hold and still feel like we’re doing a great job.
Doesn’t work like that in seated postures.
Any gripping and holding shows up immediately because there’s a conflicting force as one part of you grips and holds on for dear life, and the other part of you strives and pushes to get somewhere.
And that got me musing. About pushing and striving and forcing and trying.
Once upon a time my goals were to make a million by the time I was 25, to become Prime Minister, to write a mega-hit movie, to write a bestselling novel, to create the most popular website in the world…
Actually, it wasn’t even Once upon a time. Some of those goals are recent. Like last week.
In the middle of surrendering into a forward bend and feeling the ease of being, I wondered, why?
Why do I set such lofty goals?
What’s motivating me to aim so high?
And do I really want the kind of life that achieving those big, lofty, go-high or go-home dreams would entail?
Truth be told.
I like my life as it is right now thank you very much.
Right now, I’ve got time to play with my son, bake cookies for afternoon tea and pies for dinner, potter in the garden, enjoy cleaning the bathroom, practice meditation in the morning and yoga in the afternoon… and write for the pure joy of it. All the while running a getting-busier website.
So why am I setting goals that would entail a lifestyle that I don’t even want?!
I reckon part of it’s conditioning.
All the way through school, we’re taught to aim big, shoot for the stars, dream big. Be the best, the biggest, the brightest, the richest, the thinnest, the strongest…
All in the name of fulfilling our potential and being successful and doing well…
And the underlying whisper that snakes into our hearts and forms a core belief before you can say Hot Diggity Dam is that Unless we are Successful on a Large Scale, we’ve Failed.
And if we Fail, no one will like us, no one will love us, and no one will want to come over and play with us.
So, because we want to be liked, we want to be loved, and we definitely want people to come over and play with us… we aim for these huge dreams, that require huge workloads, and use up huge resources.
In doing so, we end up creating lives that Eat Us Up.
Well I don’t want to get eaten up.
So, surrendering into a delicious forward bend, I took a deep, deep breath and let go of that belief that states:
Unless You’re Somebody, Nobody Will Love You.
Glad that’s gone.
Now I can get on with just living my life as it is, because that’s enough. I can just be Me.
And what a relief that is… because you know what?
I’m really, really, really enjoying being Me. Like seriously. I’m in Love with Me.
I don’t have to set huge, big, lofty goals anymore and strive and force and push to get there.
I can just turn up every day and do more of what makes me Me.
More writing. More yoga. More meditating. More mothering. More baking and cooking and cleaning and dancing.
It’s such a relief, just being able to Be. And something tells me that this might just be the big secret to a successful life.
Loving the life you’ve got. Surrendering to the place you’re in.
I’m still not real bendy in my seated postures, but as we Lunchboxers well know, bendiness is a not a prerequisite or even a requisite of yoga.
Just like making a million dollars or having the best website in the world is not a prerequisite for success.
Nope, just being able to relax right where I am – that’s success in yoga, and it’s success in life.