Always right (or completely silent).
Wanting things to look a certain way.
Wanting to manage people, situations, everything.
Doing what I am supposed to do.
Getting it right.
I am these things, though I do not relish admitting this to you (or to myself).
I remember the first time Michelle invited me to come to my mat to feel. Not to feel good. Not to feel better. Not to feel happy. Just – to – feel. It was novel: no goal, no place to be, no right answer, just the messiness of inviting myself to be open to whatever was there and being with it.
“Can’t we just put a bandaid on it and make it better,” my brain screams. “If we did it this way (aka, my way) I’m certain we would have a better result,” I shout out. “This isn’t how it was supposed to be,” I’m thinking. But this is simply how things are and no amount of pushing, squeezing, gripping, striving, or doing will change that. As they say, “it is what it is.”
These tendencies manifest themselves physically – clenched jaw, grinding teeth, gripping buttocks, tension in my neck. They also manifest in other ways – trying to steer a group towards a particular outcome, getting passive and quiet when I don’t know an answer, strategically placing myself in situations where I know that I will get it right.
On the mat.
Of course, these same tendencies, habits, ways of being, are present on my petri dish of a yoga mat.
I feel it in Trikonasana – feet in alignment, knees not locked, tilt deep into the hip crease, strong through the core, feel the twist in the torso, keep your head on, put your arm up. I methodically and precisely walk myself through these elements to put my body into the pose. (The pose from The Book, of course.) It looks good, people tell me. They “ohh and ahh” admiring my strength or flexibility and I get to feel awesome – I’m “doing” yoga, I tell myself.
But yoga is not about doing, it is about feeling.
And when I am clinging desperately to a sense of control, I am not open to feeling. When I am focused on getting it right, I am not rubbing up on my boundaries because that could mean getting something wrong. When I am trying to manage people or situations, I miss out on the opportunity to be present with what is actually happening in that moment.
So, this is me, recommitting to an old intention: to come to my mat to feel. I can only imagine what I will discover…