Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.-Lao Tzu
This has always been one of my favorite lines in the Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell.
In our teacher trainings I ask people “If failure wasn’t an option what would you do?” In my book(the path of joyful living), I write about this misconception and that by the end of the teacher training conversation, we come to the conclusion that there is no failure because we learn from our failures. If this is true, then success doesn’t exist either.
This is a concept in yoga called Vairagya – which is to not be attached to results. Vairagya allows us to be more in the present moment, standing on our two feet without chasing pleasurable experiences or avoiding pain.
I have always been good at not holding onto personal success as I know that to be part of the ego. On the other hand, when perceived failures come I have a difficult time practicing non-attachment.
I know I am not the only one that suffers from the fear of other’s disapproval, not succeeding, or self-doubt.
After all these years I still experience fear…
I still fear the split between our human-ness and our spirit, which part of our inherited human condition.
As my book was being published last month and I was becoming – AUTHOR. I could not fully hold the container of abundance, joy, and rewards that are part of the present moment experience in any birthing process. I couldn’t hold the fullness of the moment, because I was too distracted by all of the ways I perceived myself as “failing.”
My “successful” yoga business and institute have struggled financially, even though it is one of the most in well-informed and few accredited yoga therapy programs in the world.
We had to move our community, and deal with a landlord that was not interested in providing the same perfect space for our community that we were.
I was still holding on to the grief of a divorce 2 years prior, that was simultaneously one of the most truthful and violent things I have ever gone through on a spiritual level.
I am practicing the mantra “Own It.” This means to own my failures and successes, and to not be attached to either of them. They may not exist on a spiritual level but they provide the transition to the next rung of the ladder, whether it is up or down.
May we own our “shaky-ness”
When I am helping a student find a new transition in a yoga therapy session or class, and the muscles begin to twitch, not by exhaustion, but from new neuromuscular connections firing; we celebrate the shaking. At first people get embarrassed by this involuntary movement. We are trained to not show our suffering. This is so deeply imbedded into us that we would rather not grow than admit to one another we are trembling. It is from this place of trembling that we can celebrate growth.
As a seasoned practitioner of yoga, from the outside my postures may look more “put together.” But on the inside I still struggle with fear. The fear of going too far and the fear of letting go. There is still fear in the places that I know Grace to exist. There is still something holding me back from the edges of abundance.
Today I landed on my mat with “beginners mind,” the child-like wonder that comes when we focus on the simplicity of our breath or our foot. Wonder is the emotion where some of our expectations, perfections, and even our limitations fall away. With the wonder of “I am doing it” by Grace, “It is done.”
I am climbing again and the position is shaky. I am learning to embrace my failures and successes. This is another way I am standing in truth.
“When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.” – Lao Tzu
True Lao Tzu. And may we celebrate these transitions of shaky-ness, for they help us learn how to stand on our own two feet.
Practice and Be Well.