I woke up with a bit of a headache Sunday morning and groaned when I heaved myself up. It might have something to do with the mostly empty wine bottle thrust back into my fridge. Maybe. I staggered across the room gathering yoga pants, sports bra, water bottle. No time for coffee, the class was booked and paid for.
Self-management tip: One thing that motivates me to fulfill commitments to myself is when they are already paid for.
Lying and breathing with all the thoughts racing, I heard these words from my yoga mat:
"Meet yourself where you are."
No, it wasn't my hangover or my subconscious talking. It was Ariana, my yoga teacher. And since I trust Ariana, with all of my heart, I listened and wondered what these words mean to me.
I have written before that I don't believe in manifestation. But I do believe that if you are intentional in your actions and your thoughts, the whispered words you need to hear become a shout that can shake you to the ground. Don't blame the universe if you are not listening.
"Meet yourself where you are". First, I was on my yoga mat in a not so comfortable pose at the time. I don't go to yoga to be comfortable. I go to stretch my tight hips, lengthen my body and find a bit of peace and openness (full disclosure: peace and openness are part of the uncomfortable for me). I clear my mind when I am on the mat and wait to see what happens in that empty space. I am not in a good place physically right now. I have been "too busy" painting and volunteering to get to the gym or to the mat and so I took these instructions at face value. Pushing my body past it's limits only brings me pain, so I resolved to do all that I could but not expect more than I could comfortably do today while on the mat. I would practice where my body was today.
"Meet yourself where you are". I have been pushing lately. Pushing time and skills to the limit. I feel this crazy urgency in my life right now, like I fell behind years ago but didn't know it. Now I run to catch up. I paint like a person possessed. I try and try and fail. Try again. I have no less than three online courses that I binge on when I have time. I am following three podcasts and I am searching for more. I'm a mom. I volunteer to help keep my passion alive. I am a wife and that passion has to be kept alive too. I work a full-time job that keeps all the other things solvent. Even when I appear to be doing nothing there is a merry-go-round of ideas in my head fighting to be the next in queue.
I keep thinking ahead. When this painting is finished. When this course is completed. When this event is over. Then there is the next, the next, the next. Each thing I finish is like a stroke on the canvas getting me closer to the end. I fake it until I make it and that little bit of stress that shows up as the rubber bands in my stomach, keeps the adrenaline flowing and my energy on tap. I am tired of "practicing" and I just want to be doing. I play to a future where I have all of the knowledge and contacts and skills I need to be everything I dream of being.
"Meet yourself where you are." Living ahead of my now cheapens it. Sometimes I can't see where I was yesterday. So where am I now?
I am a student of art. Not yet a professional artist. I am a student of marketing. I am a pair of hands and a beating heart trying to connect with my community. I am an employee that needs to show up for my team members every day. I am a mother with a teenager navigating shifting sands of growth. I am a wife deeply in love.
"Meet yourself where you are." I am growing but I am not there yet. And that is totally okay. Practicing is a thrilling and blessed place to be and also a place where expectations should be a little tempered. There is no deadline to miss in this growth spurt except that I set for myself. After a lifetime of always working to someone else's schedule, this is new way of being that I don't fully understand.
While I am running ahead, I don't want to miss the beauty of the experience I am going through and I don't want to leave anything I value behind me either. Each day is my life, not just the days I run towards where all dreams are fulfilled. To meet myself where I am, I must keep pausing and orienting myself; finding the ground beneath my feet in the now while recognizing how far I have come; checking in to see if I am where I need to be or if in my excitement I have headed off course. But most importantly, I must reach out to ensure all of the things I want to take to the end: my family, my friends, my passion, my health, my dreams are still with me.
The finish line is somewhere out there, some vague distance away in the future and I hope I never find it.
Ariana Novak (referenced for her statement "Meet yourself where you are") is a yogi, life coach and extraordinary entrepreneur. Her website can be found on my Resources page.