Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Joy and Humility: The process of trying, not the result

"Om" (felted micro tapestry 5"x7")
Have made a few yoga related items lately, including this "Om" felted micro-tapestry for my yoga space.

Objectively speaking, I honestly feel I am somewhere between terrible and mediocre in my mastery of even beginning yoga asanas. At an earlier point in my life, this would have been a real problem.  I am competitive, and want to be "the best."  This characteristic is an asset when balanced, but is otherwise a terribly destructive force.

In my younger creative life, I tended to set myself up for defeat--indeed, not even trying after awhile--when I perceived that I could never "compete" with all the amazing talent out there (I wrote poetry and music when I was younger.) Perfectionism became a reason to not even try.  An inability to be the best at something made that something not worth doing.  It's like an over-sized ego finding a way to be lazy.

I have no natural aptitude for the physical aspects of yoga, which is compounded by how late in life I started, and by the utter lack of care I had taken of my body up to that point.  Three years in, I still wobble out of some single leg balancing poses.  But a desire to overcome chronic physical pain gave me the determination to stick with it.

Most things in life have come easily for me.  But being terrible at something and sticking with it anyway has taught me humility, and it has also taught me that it is the process of trying that brings growth and personal satisfaction, not the quality or result of the trying.

I believe we all start life with a desire to create. Yoga helped rekindle a long dead passion for creativity in me by bringing a sense of  "joy in process" as opposed to being hung up on expectations of a certain result.    Who cares that I still can't touch my forehead to my toes or do the standing splits?  That's not to say there aren't positive results from sustained effort: I am physically living in a different body than I was three years ago, but on any path--creative, physical, spiritual-- it doesn't help to be attached to any particular desired outcome  Goals are much less important than committing to a path. . . .and realizing you don't actually know where that path is going to end up.  Trying as hard as I can at things I love brings me into the moment, into the joy of the present moment.  It's only in the present moment that I truly find the joy in creation. 

Cthulha (female) in Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

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