Ever tried to do something and consistently fail at it? You put out all the right messages, all the right motivations and yet fail. All amount of mental imagery and visualization does not bring the desired result? You keep trying and you keep failing.
What happens then? Do you start punishing yourself, indulge in self badgering, and then eventually give up?
This is exactly what happened with me. I enrolled in a yoga class and had been going there twice a week for over a year!!!!.(the recommended attendance is 3 -4 times a week) . Each time I came out of the class feeling like a complete idiot. I just could not bring myself to doing half the poses that the class was doing. Even the ones that I could manage, I needed correcting all the time.
I persevered with my shameless endeavor to master the crow ( standing on hands with legs dangling in the air)and the chataranga, ( sweeping your body from a high push up to a low push up in one sweeping motion) but no amount of will power or visualization came to my rescue. I was still falling over and making an absolute fool of myself.
Eventually, embarrassment at my inability to do even the simplest of poses got the better of me and I stopped attending the classes. I decided it was not for me and berating my stiff body, went back to my treadmill. I missed the relaxation and the calmness of yoga, but I still did not think of going back.
Till yesterday, that is;
I decided to go back to the class and had a chat with my teacher, I told her how I was completely demotivated and I did not feel like coming for yoga anymore. She then told me the story of the farmer who gave up too soon.
A farmer desperately in need of water started digging a well, he dug and dug and the hole got deeper, but still no water. “I must be digging in the wrong place he concluded". Each day he began digging in a new place. Eventually he had 20 similar holes and no water. A wise man passing by saw the farmer’s predicament and asked the farmer to dig in the same spot, but go much further as the water was available at 20 ft and the farmer was giving up at 10 ft. The first few feet was easy, but the next 10 feet needed a lot of work and sometimes more than one person to do the job. So instead of asking for help the farmer would just give up.
This is exactly what I was doing; each time I was unable to do a particular pose, I would just go into the child pose ( Lying down with my head down and legs and arms curled under) . Even when someone would approach me to help me I would turn around and ignore them. I would just curse myself and wonder why I was unable to do what everyone else was doing?
Too often we are too hard on ourselves. We compare ourselves to others and beat ourselves for not having attained what the other person has.
I recently met a 14 year old boy who stopped going to school because he came 2nd instead of 1st. He is an extremely bright boy and always ranked 1st, but this semester, his grades fell by a few points and he came 2nd. He felt embarrassed and stopped going to school. Much to the worry of his parents he has now adopted the attitude of “ If I can’t be the best , I won’t bother being second best”.
How often do we all do the same? We try and we try, but eventually give up just short of attaining our goals. We set the bar too high and when we are unable to attain it we tend to get too hard on ourselves. Only if we could sustain the enthusiasm and focus till the end, our lives may turn out very different.
Wasn’t it Edison who said “ I haven’t failed yet, I have found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
With that in mind, I am once again going to try and master standing upside down and looking at the world with a whole new perspective.