The season of fall is upon us… And I could not be happier. Fall is my favorite time of year, and the only season where I get even a hint of nostalgia. Fall means the beginning of school, potential, work to be done, bonfires to be had, gardens to dig, things to be learned, nights to spend cuddling. I make no secret about my affinity for school and education, so I get a little doe-eyed remembering the crunchy leaves on the college campus and the buzz and hubbub of new students all scrambling to find their way.
Fall also means more more more… More activities on my calendar, more deadlines, more responsibilities, and more potential unrealized.
This is the lesson that yoga teaches me over and over again. Slow down. You don’t have to do it all at once. Take your time. Let things come to you. Stop sprinting to the finish line.
I’ve spoken before about how my perfectionism is more, “Get it done and get it done as soon as possible, even if it’s not perfect,” and in school I was always that annoying girl who had her essay completed three weeks before it was due, and then the professor decides to change the assignment so I had to go and rewrite it. This is how I approach everything else, too.
When I have an idea, there’s two ways I approach it: the first one is to jump on it right away, to create it and put it out into the world before it leaves. The second is to jot it down in my “idea notebook,” where invariably it will go stale as I think about the best possible approaches to bring it to life.
This is why my art just cannot be planned. Or my writing. Or even my teaching of yoga. I really love and appreciate a good, structured, well thought out yoga class. But what if my plan doesn’t fit those who are in the room? What if I planned a really energizing practice but everyone comes in looking tired AF? I’ve learned to roll with it, and, although I usually have an idea of what peak pose I’m looking to build into, the rest of the class unfolds organically.
What happens to me most often in the fall, is that I get this whole rush of new ideas. Ways I’m going to improve my personal life, my career, workshops I’ll teach, ways I’ll be a better partner, new promises to walk the dog daily.
And what happens, invariably, is that I overcommit and underperform.
Wouldn’t you think that I would have learned my lessons by now? As I watch events unfold in my life, I can see the good I’m doing – but not my best. I could be better. I could be better by doing less, and by committing more. (Note the tones of perfectionism here, and a reminder: Be gentle to yourself.)
I’ve been asking myself some soul searching questions as of late, and I even spent the weekend off of social media to get a better idea of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I’ve come up with a list of things that are important to me, my central messages, and I need to find a way to integrate this into everything I do, everything I teach – and to embody it wholeheartedly myself (because the best way of teaching is through example). Those messages are:
- You have all the answers you ever need if you just look within.
- Love yourself first, because it’s from self love that love for others grows.
- You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be persistent.
- The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with your Self.
More than anything else, I want people to know: I am not your guru. I don’t have the answers you desire. You have them. What I can offer you is tools to enter that space, questions to ask yourself. What I can offer you is the space and time to make those inquiries. What I can offer you is my own personal experience, my own flawed, imperfect existence, and hope that that helps reassure you that you’re okay, too. I believe we’re all on this journey, side by side, but it’s a solo flight you must take yourself, but we’re all here to support you.
This week, start to get inquisitive. Ask yourself:
- What are a few statements that most closely identify your philosophy and beliefs?
- How can you better love yourself, so you may then love others?
- How can you stop the cycle of overcommitting? How can you give yourself breaks?
Get reflective this fall, and then join me in class, where we’ll dive deeper into your own personal journey.