Feeling: LIKE DAVID BOWIE – TIME TO MAKE A (lot of) CHANGE
It was the Pedaller who enlightened me to just how much unneeded pressure I put myself sometimes. (Ok, a lot of the time).
“You should always underpromise and over deliver,” he said. “That way, you only impress; you never let down.”
I’m a massive over promiser. Be it work, personal, anything. I always say what I think the person wants to hear, always guarantee a time frame of delivery that is verging on the non achievable, then absolutely ruin myself trying to do what I said but even better than the perfection I promised.
Then of course, the stress sets off, the resentment and irritability festers and Angry Anny comes out to play. (Well, swear and be a bitch, more like).
Well let’s just take one out of the 52,114 of my day; writing wedding scripts.
Once I have locked in to wed certain someones, I organise a meet up to discuss their script. Here they tell me what aspects they like from previous ones I have done, what they don’t, and what points they would like me to focus on. I get my journalist on and ask them questions to make them banter, writing out their answers and any parts of their personality together that might work in putting the script together.
Whenever I leave I always say, “I’ll have it to you in a few days”.
Why. Just why. A script needs tender care, delicate editing and many many look overs before I’m content enough to show it to another set of eyes. Plus, many of these people I’m meeting months in advance of their actual wedding day; they don’t need a script copy for ages. Yet I always declare a quick turnaround, promising it within the week.
The few days before I left to come here were ridiculous. Aside from working 11 plus hour days, I had to pack, farewell people, organise my money and such lark, with four wedding scripts and a CV to write on top of that. I felt sick everytime I awoke thinking of the mounting pile of work I just had to do.
Then I realised I didn’t.
All of the couples are not due to hitch until at least November. And I knew I could do a much better job should I give the time and attention with no restriction, rather than rush just so they could tell people they received their script within five days. I emailed the couples and said of the delay, and you know what?
None of them were at all disappointed. I have four weeks in Europe between my courses with nothing to do all day except do yoga, run and catch up on Coro St; why am I overloading myself today, when that tomorrow is so open?
It’s the competitiveness.
I am ultra competitive. Ridiculously so. Overtly, secretly, in every single way. If someone achieves something I do feel happy for them, but I feel that urge to one-up. If someone does 70 sit-ups, I have to do 77.
And it’s so fucking stupid.
But yoga isn’t like that.
In yoga, you can’t compete with others. Everyone’s structure is so different, everyone’s bodies have their flexible points and their not so. And it’s not about who can get their head closest to the floor or hold the crow for the longest time; if you ever go to a yoga class where that element is added, it would definitely be one based on Western ideology that is wrongly approached. Yoga is the process of getting your body in balance, listening to what it’s saying and although pushing it to go that bit further, not hurting it to achieve that cm extra of height.
And you can’t even compete with yourself. Sure, maybe in the beginning you could do 20 downward-to-upward-dog flows and now you can do 50, but in reality each day your body is of different ability. Yesterday you may have been on fine form, performing boats like a goddess, but today – after severe lack of sleep from the constant honking of horns from the main road, or from a little case of Delhi belly – maybe your lift is only halfway. It doesn’t mean you’ve regressed; it just means you can’t push yourself quite so.
It’s not a competition.
Mohit – one of the beautiful boys here – said a perfect phrase this morning that really resonated with me. “Yoga is not just for stretching the body,” he said, in his quiet but somehow commanding respect Hindlish. “It’s for stretching the mind as well.”
One aspect I am highly focused on achieving is the ability to be in the now. I’m always a few hours ahead, days ahead, sometimes even months ahead, planning planning planning and never being being being. Although being organised is one super of my skillset, it also can be a pitfall – when you get to the point that you’re scheduling in six minutes for a shower, you know it’s gotten a bit beyond the palm. (I.E., “out of hand”).
So although I haven’t banished my diary (that would be akin to severing off my left arm), I have greatly lessened my reliance on it these past few days. I jot down things I would like to get done in my breaks, but now it’s only one or two rather than 17. And if something comes up – masala chai with my yogi family, or an amble into the bustle – the jots are moved onto tomorrow.
I’m now viewing them just as “to-do’s” not “I-need-to-get-this-done-by-2.56-so-I-can-finish-that-before-class-so-tonight-I-can-complete-those-other-seven-necessitates”.
And in yoga this way of thinking means being present fully in the pose I’m in, not thinking ahead to the next or end of class or Wednesday two weeks from now when I want to go to Scorpium Handicraft (not a place where artwork is made from insects, I’ll clarify, but the wonder world of incredible tapestries).
And while I find I am heartily improving, often it goes somewhat like this.
Be in the moment.
Ok. So think about holding downward dog. Remember, weight evenly across your palms. Breathe. Be in the current.
Current. Blackcurrent. Mum and Karen like that shop. Shit, forgot to tell Karen’s son Jacob about that part of doing journalism. I’m so happy he’s thinking about doing it. Gosh, I miss uni. I better message Steph. Maybe when I’m back…
Stop. Clear. Be here now.
Right so here. Oop, moving into plank. Shit my planks are getting better. Funny how even though everything else has a name after an animal, a planks a plank? Plank; picket fence. I wonder if the Pedellar decided on which ones to get. I wonder how many he’ll need? And do they join together, or are they placed together? Are….
STOP. BE.HERE. NOW.
And so on. That blasted monkey mind, I tell you. So many thoughts swirling around asking for attention. I wish I could make like Dumbledore and hustle a fair chunk into a pensive. But alas, I am not a wizard. I think of it like cleaning out a wardrobe; taking out all the thoughts I no longer “wear” or no longer suit me, and have those remaining that are purely beneficial to me, my health and my happiness.
I am trying really hard to live yoga, not just ending it at the conclusion of asana practice. That means straightening my back, positioning my posture, all such lark. And aside from my lessening of my diary dependency, I am also steadfast on the following.
1. Not being on my cellular so much. I am atrocious at having my phone out, though it’s not (well, not always) me messaging others or scrolling through Insta or stalking on FB. Whenever I’m sitting, I feel the overwhelming need to do work, so I flick out my phone and start emailing, admining, anything. I want to hugely eradicate this trait, so I no longer take my device to dinner, lunch or breakfast and once I’m in Europe with The Pedaller I shall only allow myself to use it a small portion of the day.
2. Sitting cross legged often to make it habitual. Fuck mate, how did I make it from the Year 0 days of Mrs Louden up to Mrs Mita seven on in such a state? Doing so for three hours of classes here – and not even straight! – has my feet tingle in intense pins and needles within ten minutes, and has me rejigging on the constant. I think it should be law that every adult has to make like a pretzel and fold for a quarter-hour so a day. I am resolute on making my lotus lovely-feeling.
3. Breathing in and out of my nose. Since last time I have been spot on with switching to do so in every activity – even running, would you believe! – but I want to ensure I am absolutely always. You see, when you breathe in through your mouth you inhale more oxygen, meaning an excess goes in and an excess comes out in the exhale. This causes an imbalance in your bod. Also, you nostrils are lined with mucus and cillia (a nice name for the little sprouting hairs up each nose hole) that act as air filters and clean it to go in. Furthermore, these colanders warm the air up, so it enters your lungs at the ideal temp. When hustling it in through your mouth, particularly in wintertime, the breath is shorter and colder, your lungs are more sensitive, and it can lead to issues such as asthma.
4. Sitting (or standing) in stillness. Just for a second or so. This morning I came downstairs and just leant against the railing, feeling the sun shining on my face. It was fucking fantastic. It was Pico Iyer who said something along the lines of, “In this age of constant movement and hecticness, nothing is more urgent than sitting still”. Right on Iyer; that’s to be my only absolute essential.
5. My insecurity. Although I am oh so elated here, I do still get those moments of welling uncertainty and anxiousness, usually when I awaken. Rather than reach for the Rescue Remedy, I am trying to deep breathe to quell the stabs of solicitude. And instead of allowing the hatred and subsequent berating of myself for my conceived wrongdoings of the day to take over, I’m trying to focus on what I’ve done well and right and what to try tomorrow.
So yes. But of a lengthy spiel for you, if you’ve made it this far. A lot learned, a lot still to be so. But now at least instead of permitting those feelings of jealously at Christina’s insane flexibility and high leg lift, I am starting to genuinely applaud her inside and be proud that mine is a lot more stable than it was last week.