Challenges Accepted!

Begrudgingly, it’s true, but accepted nonetheless. And… nailed them!

The yoga training could not have come at a better time in my life. Less than a month in and I am already pleasantly surprised to see its positive impact on me and my outlook on life.

What I’ve been struggling with most in my adult life is the fear of failure, of embarrassing myself by being short of perfect, and the disappointment of doing stuff that go unnoticed, don’t matter and/or do not make a difference, although quite often that was not true, it was my skewed perception of things that didn’t allow me to see the true value of my contribution.

Here I am now, in a yoga studio surrounded by a bunch of other girls (it so happens this time around it’s just us girlies, yay for slumber parties!) learning that we are each unique, perfect beings, each with a remarkable footprint of goodness, kindness and love. Each one of us, the girls inside the studio and the men and women outside its walls, have so much to offer to the world and should never downplay our power to love our neighbor and heal the world (big words I know, but… are they?). Understanding this triggered a shift in my outlook on life and how I should live.

Challenges

Challenge #1. One thing that I have NEVER, I mean NEVER EVER, thought I would do is to use a Neti Pot. Wow. I am still in shock that I have actually grabbed the pot, tilted my head, stuck that spout into my nostril, and (after multiple failed attempts, finally) let the saline water rinse my nose and sinuses. Wow. I suffer from chronic sinusitis; the car AC, not drying my hair can trigger a bout of sinus infection. So many doctors (and Hubbyloo of course) have pleaded with me to try doing a nasal rinse every now and then. It took more than a decade, a couple of yoga teachers and a dozen cheering yogis to have me finally do it. (If you’ve not done the yoga teacher training, or some serious retreat in a secluded ashram in India, you are probably weirded out by the nose cleaning in a yoga setting. I was, too. And I fought against it. Hard. Luckily I lost. You clean your nasal passage in order to ease your breathing which will improve the quality of your breathing meditations. I’m supposed to do this every day throughout the training. No comment.)

Challenge #2. Now this is weird. I am going to go ahead and say that I hate talking to large crowds. If you don’t know me, you will say ok and let your eyes flow over the next line. If you do know me however, you will tilt your head like a confused puppy would, and “huh?”, because you have probably seen me give speeches, make presentations (man, I just remembered that I presented a project to the friggin’ European Parliament in Bruxelles). What am I talking about, right? Well, things have apparently changed and I get serious stage freight. Last weekend I had my first 10-15 minutes of yoga fame leading my training class through a sequence. In retrospect, it was an incredible experience which I want more of. (Thank God! Imagine having to tell Hubbyloo that… I think I don’t like yoga anymore.*gasp*) However, while IN the moment, standing up there, in front of the girls I have grown to know over the past few weeks, I almost froze (physically, as in I found it hard to move around), my palms started sweating while, at the same time, my mouth went completely dry (are these two reactions related? Has my saliva made it all the way to my hands??), I actually felt like I was skydiving again. But there was no parachute to rely on. All the knowledge, the poses and their keys of alignment, little anecdotes I had thought about sprinkling here and there during my time on “stage” became inaccessible. I completely went on autopilot (happy to report that all cues to poses are well ingrained into my brain), sped my way through the poses, and kinda chickened out towards the end letting my class do the last round of sun salutations on their own. Supposedly I was teaching beginners. Yep.

All in all, it was an eye-opening experience; I can do this, more importantly I enjoy it. Not being perfect is something I have to come to terms with. There is definitely room for improvement, and the thing is, even after I improve, there will be room for more improvement. That perfection I am so hung up on is a fantasy and I should treat it as such. What do you do with a fantasy? You think about it, go ‘Awww, ahhhh…”, you wish that was you or your life, but have the common sense to place that figment of imagination in the box labeled “Fiction Stories”. Go on, dream about it, allow it to fuel you with enthusiasm and drive, but do not make a goal out of it and do not let it define you.

I am thrilled to have opportunities like these to challenge myself, and the support of friends, new and old, to encourage me and be active participants to my bettering experience. Isn’t that what life is all about? Go accept a challenge. None readily available? Find one. Make one up. Challenge yourself and Carpe Diem.

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