Here we are at another new year: 2014. A clean slate, as it were, pregnant with infinite possibilities. What do we want to draw into our lives? What goals do we have for this year? These are questions I always ask myself. What do I want to happen this year?
When I ponder the answers, they usually include things that I want to accomplish as a yoga teacher. I want to be invited to teach at places around the country, I want to start leading residential retreats, and I want to finish the book I’m working on. These are all goals for me; ends, as it were.
So, I set my intentions and usually make a vision board with the various things that I want to happen in the upcoming year. When I sit down to meditate, I put the vision board above my altar and focus on the feelings of these things already in existence, as if they have already happened and I’m just catching up to it. I really enjoy doing this and many of the things I had on my vision board a couple of years ago have come into fruition. However, some of the things that I most deeply want have not. In fact, they come so close and then poof – it feels like someone comes along and blows the dandelion seeds of it away. My usual lament is something like, “Why won’t these things ever happen?!” “What’s wrong with me that it finally comes so close and then just evaporates?!”
Then, I inevitably go through a period of soul-searching that I really dislike. “Am I even supposed to be a yoga teacher in the first place?” “Maybe I misheard my calling and I should be doing something else?” “Why do I keep trying at this – I just fail and fall. Nobody even seems interested in what I have to say about yoga, anyway.” “If this were my true calling, it would be easy, it would all fall into place, I wouldn’t struggle, I wouldn’t soul-search like this all the time.”
And this year, right in the midst of that ugly year-end struggle, the clarity came in like warm sunlight in a dark, cold room : Process.
In my focus on certain things happening under the guise of “yoga,” I have missed the whole point of Yoga, really. It’s a journey. It’s a process. It’s not about this end or that end; this goal or that one. It’s not about how things look on the outside. It’s about what’s happening to me on the inside. And, man, that has everything to do with process. And in the midst of that discovery, came the granddaddy of discovery: I don’t like process! I really, really don’t.
Process is slow, messy, dirty, unpredictable. It’s totally chaotic; a swirling sea of everything and at any moment it could be up or down. I want the teaching opportunities to come now. I don’t like having to move through the swampy terrain of self-doubt, vulnerability, and failure. I want the book to be finished now. I don’t like the snail’s pace of the way its going and how there are brief, beautiful moments of insight followed by desert-like dryness. I don’t like getting my hands sticky in all this gooey glop of process. I just want to be “there” already. Wherever “there” is.
When I’m clear, I know that teaching Yoga is definitely my calling. It doesn’t look pretty and shiny like a slick magazine cover; it doesn’t look like a million national workshop invitations; it doesn’t even look like a book yet – just a bunch of very rough words in a Word document. But I can’t not do this. It’s in my soul. It’s who I am. I really feel like it’s what I’m here to do. I’m learning that, for me, it’s a process – of constant becoming, of never-ending growing. Often, it feels like I’m a rock tumbler, floating and falling with the grit and water. Just when I think I’m getting smooth and about to get out of the tumbler, round I go again. Process.
So. What if, this year, I make “process” my goal? What if I treat process with the same excitement and hopefulness as the intentions I have place on my vision board in years past? Instead of focusing on this thing or that thing happening, what if my sole intention is to simply be present with, be at peace with, allow and invite…process? I mean, we all say, “It’s about the journey, not the destination” but wow, is it really possible to be at such peace with the journey, the process of becoming, that I no longer am so focused on where the journey is taking me, externally? I’m going to give it a try. I wonder what will happen?