Right now is a new moment. Breathe in and feel the new breath in your body. Breathe out and feel the old breath release. Every breath takes in the new and releases the old. There might be sadness here or tentativeness; there might also be sweetness and joy. Notice what is present with a spot of kindness. Offer yourself any amount of compassion for whatever you are feeling in this moment.
I’ve done a lot of striving in my day, and I bet you have too: striving for the best education, the best job, the best partner, the best family, the best meal, the best soap, the best meditation, the best yoga practice, and on it goes, possibly without end.
I invite you to join me in not striving – for a moment (or even two) – as you take in the words of Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman who speaks of striving in her poem “The Hill We Climb:’
“And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside”
Sometimes striving is necessary. And sometimes savoring is what’s needed.
I invite you now to look back and notice the good work you have done, just one tiny nugget of goodness you gave to the world, whether it was earlier today, yesterday, or 20 years ago.
Perhaps it was a smile, a delivery of groceries or a warm meal. Maybe you drove someone to work, school, or an appointment and then drove them home, walked your dog, or picked up trash that wasn’t yours. Or, you gave yourself permission to go for a walk, or to sit and rest.
Our striving is not for perfection, friends. It is for a life with purpose, to compose a song filled with various rhythms and key changes, dotted with eighth notes and swept with drawn out phrases and pauses, a life of tiny little nuggets of goodness. Not perfection, but purpose.
My invitation to you today: Savor what is sweet and leave the rest.
Yours in Practice,
The Universal Yogi
PS – Follow the links above to learn more about Amanda Gorman and hear her reading “The Hill We Climb.” My encouragement is to listen twice. Once with your eyes closed and once with them open (in either order).
PPS – I didn’t want to leave this out in case it might be useful: try savoring your yoga practice, instead of striving throughout the whole thing, trying to get somewhere you think you’re not. Do the yoga as something to enjoy, not to cross off your list. Practice as play.
Go play some yoga 🙂