I’ve always wanted to write about my Yoga experience. But somebody beat me to it! So let me just highlight a few quotable quotes from Claire Dederer’s Poser and invite you to get a copy yourselves! A must read for Yoga lovers like me. And because of the wealth of wisdom this book provides, I will serve you this entry in 3 parts.
When I first came to Sri Lanka I did not exactly come fresh from a “work” trauma but as with big things that happen to one’s lives, sometimes it takes time for us to deal with it. Maybe when we’ve distanced ourselves away from it that makes it less bigger than what it really is. Or we are a bit readier to deal with it. Yoga has helped me put that experience into perspective and this was the moment in my life that I’ve always associated when I do my poses the first three months of our stay here and Claire Dederer’s words have summed up the lessons that helped me process my experience.
“When we fit our bodies into an idea, it’s dangerous. We stop feeling from the inside and take cues from the outside about what we should be doing. This can lead to injury and, even worse, dissatisfaction.”
I was offered an opportunity that may not have been ripe for the picking. It was a huge jump but being the “can do” me believed I can do it. The person who provided me the opportunity believed so too. Why shouldn’t I? Right? But somewhere along the way his (and probably greatly affected by other people’s) expectations overpowered the belief. He ceased helping or maybe his efforts were not helping. Or maybe because I realized that I was trying my best to “fit my body into this idea” that was totally against what needed to happen at that time. It did lead to injury AND dissatisfaction.
“When we breathed, we felt more. When you are literally tying yourself in a knot, this is all you can do: Breathe into sensation. Stop and take in air and find out what you’re really feeling.”
And so I took the time to breathe. It may have been driven by another person, of a similar stature telling me I should go and find another way. I was baffled by that message… was that something you tell someone you’re grooming for a bigger role? To someone you actually offered another more suitable opportunity albeit out of the country. It doesn’t mean that if that same opportunity was offered to him and he wouldn’t take it for nationalistic reasons, I shouldn’t take it as well. Well I got so mad and indeed did what he exactly told me. To the chagrin of person #1. Many things (even worse things than this that happened and were said) have been brewing inside me and this was pretty much the last straw. I took a breath and exhaled this whole experience out of my system. Physically at least for quite some time.
“For some reason, it’s important to learn yoga from a live person. Maybe it’s simply seeing the poses done in three dimensions. But it feels like something more than that. When your teacher shows you how something is done, there’s a feeling of possibility, a transmittal of something like faith. Yes, this can be done. I’m seeing it right before my eyes.”
There are many shoulda, woulda, coulda’s in that situation. But Yoga made me realize that as a manager or even as a person in general, I will be mindful not to do the same thing to my direct report and to people in general. I vowed that I will show in three dimensions how it is done… to walk the talk. But more importantly to keep the flame of possibility alive and to keep the faith. Both for myself and the one I’m trying to help or develop. That s/he will think, “Yes, this can be done. She is doing it, so can I."
“What if I didn’t have one goal for how I might act but simply acted differently? Simply stopped being so pre-occupied with doing this perfectly.”
What I was trying to do to myself is to do it perfectly. It was what was expected and being a Three in the Enneagram, I will perform to that expectation. But what if that is not what is meant for me? I snapped out of it just in time and for the first time in 7 years, I acted differently.
“Get over yourself! You’re gonna fuck up! And it’ll be OK.”
Was it a failure? I wouldn’t be quick to judge all my 7 years as a failure – of course not. But it taught me that yes I am human and “I can actually fuck up. But it will be Ok.”