One foot in front of the other

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 17, 2015

So this crazy transition happened yesterday. For the first time ever, I was able to come down from a handstand into another arm balanced called Koundinyasana B, in one fell swoop. Let me remind you (*cough* myself) yoga isn’t about achievements, but sometimes we have to celebrate when breakthroughs do happen - and I'm not gonna lie, I have a hard time not getting excited when I reach milestones in my physical yoga practice. It's so fun!!!

Five years ago, I took a class and remember watching one of my teachers do this. I laughed out loud - along with the rest of the class - one of those nervous laughs that people utter when they feel totally intimidated or are thinking to themselves “yea right, that’s awesome but I’ll never be able to do that.” And that’s how I felt about this transition. I’ll never be able to do that.

Slowly as I began to learn how to handstand, I figured that maybe - just maybe I would actually one day be able to do that. But in my mind, it was still years away. In class last night we were given a few minutes of free time to work on an inversion of our choice. I don’t know why but I suddenly felt called to try it, so I did.... and I landed it. WHAT!? HOW? WHAAAAAT?? WHEN DID THIS BECOME POSSIBLE FOR ME? Thing is, it was always possible. I just wasn’t seeing the possibility, and I was scaring myself by focusing on this specific transition rather than on the steps I would take to get there one day.

For me, this is really just an example of life - and how yoga shows us who we are. I immediately went to "hahah yea, not me," and "I can't even do a handstand, how the hell am I ever gonna do that?" I didn't see it at the time, but that's exactly how I've approached many of the bigger things in my life, from a place of "I don't think I can do that" or more realistically "It's going to take so much work to do that, I don't know if I'm up for it." But here I am...years later...all of a sudden able to do this thing that was always impossible.

As I lay in bed last night falling asleep, it hit me that this is what it’s all about. It's the journey, not the damn result. We're so attached to the result!! Most of us could succeed at pretty much anything we want to do, but get so overwhelmed by striving for the end result that we don’t even know where to begin taking steps in that direction. Changing careers. Opening yourself to love. Ending a relationship. Moving somewhere else. Starting a business. Losing weight. Quitting smoking. Traveling the world. Learning a new skill or language. How many of us wish we could, wish we had, wish we did? We stay frozen with a bunch of wishes piling up and weighing down our potential.

When I decided I’d never be able to do this yoga sequence, I stopped working on IT. I just worked on other poses, kept showing up and did my thing. But behind the scenes my body and mind were preparing themselves, getting stronger and more comfortable. I was unwittingly developing the tools I would need to be able to do it. In a very paralell way, I am in a big life transition at the moment (I will post about that later!) and am doing what I had always thought would be impossible. Funny how this very difficult - "impossible" yoga transition is all of a sudden accessible to me now and not a few months ago or a few months from now :) 

How many things have you thought about starting (or even actually started) and then dropped them when you realized how difficult or unattainable the end result seemed to be? How many things do we not even attempt because they seem so out of reach?

What if…we just put one foot in front of the other and take baby steps in the general direction of where we want to go, without stressing about the end result? What if we just show up for ourselves, work on the baby steps, one day at a time, one step at a time, without being attached to when or how we achieve the goal?  I bet we’d get to where we want to go a whole lot faster with much less fear and overwhelm. When we commit and take continuous action (no matter how small) in the direction of a goal, shifts happen. Our perspective shifts, and our perspective is everything. Once we believe we can, we do.

That is my commitment to myself today after having this breakthrough on the mat yesterday. From now on, I refuse to believe that anything is out of my reach, and I commit to simply putting one foot in front of the other, taking small, manageable steps in that general direction and letting the rest take care of itself. With conscious action, the goal will be reached eventually but by then, there'll be a new goal in mind and the journey will continue.

I invite you to join me in this commitment. What is a dream or goal you’ve had that you’ve told yourself is out of your reach? What tiny step can you take TODAY that will slowly begin to take you in that direction, without attaching yourself to the outcome?

I’d love to hear what you’re working with :)

With love,

Nat