Seriousness and Lightness

“Do what you love, and do it with both seriousness and lightness”

-Elizabeth Gilbert

 

These are the words that I needed to hear… I take things too seriously, especially when it is something that I care about. I take what I love, and I fill it with pressure. I set rules and regulations. I turn what brings me happiness to painful work.

I live in the extreme of seriousness. Seriousness about my relationships, my purpose, and my interactions. I almost always overthink every tiny detail. I let these things weigh on me for far too long. I have difficulty bringing lightness and letting go of my fears. I think that is where so much of my latest anxiety has been coming from—knowing so little, worrying about the big picture, and overthinking every choice.

I love hard work. So parts of me think that is good. And parts of it are good: dedication, discipline, and perseverance. But, I go to an extreme. I consume myself with the work and forget about the passion. The seriousness that you place on what you love should not outweigh the lightness that it brings you.

Again, balance.

I think the saddest place that this has occurred in my life is in my relationship with my practice. I LOVE yoga. I love it.

It brings me peace.

And it brings me pain.

It helps me feel scary things.

And it heals me.

It teaches me how be.

And helps with my anxiety.

It is an intrinsic part of my being.

But right now, I have had the most inconsistent, sporadic practice.

I got too intense. I love Ashtanga. It has taught me more about myself, and life, than probably anything I have yet to encounter. It is a demanding practice. It pushes you, and demands more of you. Which I love. But that is something that the practice has taught me that I do to myself enough. I allowed my practice to be another pressure in my life. I allowed to rules and regulation and my attempts to a “Perfect Ashtangi” (which, what even is that? And I don’t think I could be farther from it) to take away from the root of why I practice. Why I love yoga.

To me, it isn’t how the asana goes that impacts me so much, but rather my dedication to the practice. And I can be too intense about that. Right now, I need to accept that at this phase, my practice and my relationship with the practice will not be what it once was. But, I still need it in my life, even if it is full of “flaws” and “failures”, I need it.

And I know in the past I have already said that I will show up, allow whatever needs to happen and accept it as it is. But that was out of what I thought I “should’ do. And I still wasn’t making it to my mat enough. But now, I want it. My time away from my practice has eaten at me enough that now I am craving it. It is a gift to be able to practice each day, not a requirement.

I practice because I love it. I need it. But I need to approach my practice (and oh so desperately, my life), with both seriousness and lightness. (or both strength and flexibility). And while that task is far easier said than done, I shall begin with my mat. And see how I can then apply that do my daily life.

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