In my practice I have always struggled to let go of expectation. I love learning new things and for a long time, yoga has been a “new thing” in my life. The problem is that my favourite part of new things is when I finally feel myself start to improve. In a lot of ways that can be a really good thing, but it often means I come to my mat with the mindset that I need to push harder and go further than I did yesterday. However, yoga has been teaching me, and I have been struggling to learn, that I must emancipate myself from these self-constructed standards and accept what happens for what it is.
One of the very best weekends of my life so far was spent in Brighton with three of my very favourite friends. We went with absolutely no plan and ended up spending Saturday night dying streaks into each other’s hair in the hostel washroom. It was the most incredible, fun night and I had absolutely no idea it was in store for us when I woke up Saturday morning. That’s the great thing about letting go of plans and expectations – it’s so easy to be pleasantly surprised by reality!
I went with a dark brown streak. I know – wild and crazy, but still.
The flipside is something I am trying very hard to work on – fear. Take this blog for example. I started less than a week ago, and already I’ve gone days without writing anything simply because I was afraid it wouldn’t be good enough or that I didn’t have enough to say. I almost didn’t even write this post! However, I know that by submitting to my own expectation of what my posts need to be I will limit the number that I write and in doing so diminish the quality of this blog. Instead, I am opting to put myself out there and expect nothing more or less than my own work.
Earlier this evening I re-watched a couple episodes of my absolute favourite show: The Newsroom. (Stay with me!) In one of these episodes the main character, Will McAvoy, says something that has stuck with me since the first time I watched. He says, “I’ve decided to live my life as if I’m alive.” He wasn’t talking about yoga, but I think he’d agree that in letting go of expectations we allow ourselves to live more fully. In any event, I’m with Will!