It got me noticing how often we compare ourselves to others and give up before we even start. And often, who we compare ourselves to is the best of the best. The Olympics have just finished up. Football season is starting. Top musicals and dancers are preparing for the new symphony and ballet season. . . . there is what we perceive as perfection all around us.
I went to see a friend play at a local festival. Her band was one of the last to go on and I arrived early to hear a couple of the earlier acts. They were nervous, not yet good at the between the songs banter. Sometimes things didn't work out the way they planned and it was a struggle to hear their words as they sang. When my friend came on, I could admire how much she has grown as a musician, how willing she is to put herself out there and be seen. But what was most helpful and inspiring was to watch the musicians just starting out, to see the potential in them and to realize that the ability to do what our heart most values is within each of us.
When we say we are not ready, it is convenient to pretend that it is about time, money, skill level or physical prowess. We can say that it is about priorities. We do what we prioritize in our lives. I believe we can learn a lot by simply starting on the path. There is not one way to do something. There is no ideal we must meet to have what we are doing count.
The picture above is from my first bike ride in nearly a decade. When I went out I felt slow and ill-equipped compared to the bikers out there training in their professional looking gear. I bought the bike years ago thinking I would do a half triathlon. I never did it, but I learned a lot about myself in the process. I prefer to explore, to meander, to stop and enjoy the scenery without an agenda. Instead of the triathlon, I did a charity walk from Enumclaw to Seattle. I loved the changing scenery and the people I met as I covered the distance. I went camping and hiking with a group of friends and it reminded me that nature makes me breathe deeper and slow down to reflect. I moved closer to the lake but I don't swim in it. I paddle out to the middle and enjoy a yoga practice while admiring the view of Mount Rainer. When I took out my bike again, I wasn't thinking about the triathlon I didn't do. I rode down the East Lake Sammamish trail. Quiet. Peaceful. Beautiful. I am so grateful to be out on my bike again and also for the clarity of what I want that to feel like for me. Yoga helped me get there.
Yoga is not a test to touch your toes or stand on your head. It is a piece of the puzzle the helps you learn who you are and what is most important to you in your life. Yoga is about supporting you in being the person you most want to be, living a life that sometimes challenges but ultimately fulfills you. The struggles in my practice--and there still are many even after 23+ years--are what teach me the most. Don't sell yourself short. If you want to do something, you are ready. Now just decide where to start and begin.
"Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies . . . for the making of the future." --Peter Drucker