My name is Morgane and I am an anxious person. (“Hi Morgane…”).
I usually put the barre really high for myself and expect people to expect the best from me. I excuse people but rarely myself. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember. Until very recently.
My Mom always said there will come a day, with experience (or age), when you start realising no one else has a clue and pretty much everyone is living by the “fake it until you make it” motto. However, I did not just turned 30 this summer and suddenly became calm & wise. No. It took a long journey to get me to where I am today. That is, slightly less anxious and with a tad more self-esteem. Part of that I owe to my relationship to yoga. Oh, how cliché I know. But I am not going to twist my life story to fit the part. So here it goes; I tried yoga about five years ago for the first time and hated it. Absolutely hated it. Then I picked it up again by myself but without really understanding the whole concept. It was when I travelled to Thailand on a kind of “eat, pray & love” experience, except that I ate way more than I prayed, that fell in love with it. Nine months later I was a yoga teacher.
Now that I have established my credentials, I would like to share some things that I strive to remind myself of in order to live more in the present moment and be more focused on myself (in a non-egocentric way), especially in times like these (the Christmas holidays) when everything can get a little frenzy: The pendulum of mind, a concept my teacher taught me during my training and which blew my mind.
As we all know, in life, just like in yoga, it is all about balance. Nature’s aim is to put everything into balance. Why do you think we say “after the storm the sun will shine”? In the yogic philosophy, there is something called the pendulum of mind. Kind of similarly to the concept of karma, according to which each action we take will, eventually, create an equal and opposite reaction, the pendulum shows that our emotions keep going back and forth between happiness and sadness. Meaning that if you are extremely sad, you will eventually be extremely happy, and vice versa. Because as you may have noticed happiness comes and goes.
You can’t do good if you don’t do you good.
It’s also said that to reach enlightenment (the state where you are free from Maya – the illusion that does not allow us to see the true matters of things) – you need your pendulum to stand still. How do you do that? By removing the battery. Which is? Your attachment to your expectations. Obviously, we are not looking to achieve enlightenment today or maybe ever. Let’s face it, a bit of illusion is quite nice in this world. However, it is still an important concept to have in mind in our everyday life: The higher your expectations and your attachment to them, the more exposed you are to disappointment. Plus, most of the time, the expectations depend on people or circumstances: we expect others to act or react a certain way, situations to unfold a certain way… but cannot control them or the outcomes. Who can you control? Yourself. And at the end of the day, who is the most important person in your life? I know who you’re thinking of right now. Your parents, your kids, your partner, your dog. But all that is wrong. The most important person in your life is: you. You can’t do good if you don’t do you good. You need to find your minimum level of expectation to be happy.
Of course, this does not mean we should not have hopes, dreams or be optimistic. It does not even mean we should have zero expectations. What we should get rid of is our attachment to them. Expectation is a belief that something will happen, and we can never be sure of that. Whereas being positive is a mental attitude towards events and facts, which is much healthier!
Forget the pendulum for a second and picture a Christmas tree. Imagine the bulbs are your dreams and hopes, the star on top represents your expectations. They are heavy and make the tree lean to the side, it’s unsteady, ungrounded and unbalanced. If you remove the attachment, the thing that binds the star to the top of tree, it is suddenly much lighter and falls back into place. Steady, grounded, balanced. See what I did here? A beautiful Christmas metaphor. You are the tree.
What the pendulum ultimately also tells us, is to enjoy the present more.
Sylvain Tesson a French writer who spent six months all alone in a wooden house on the shore of lake Baikal (so he had a good amount of time to reflect on those things) wrote something in French that goes like: “Between regrets and desires there is something called “The present”. We should strive to find our balance there”. Regrets are the past we constantly go back to, hoping we had done or said things differently. The desire is the future: the hopes we have for it, because it is always going to be better then, we can’t hardly wait. We are so preoccupied with waiting for it that when it actually happens we do not know how to enjoy it anymore. It comes and goes. It turns from future to past without giving us time to call it the present.
Bottom line: Enjoy the present, don’t get attached to things you have no power over, and do you good.
Merry Christmas <3
By: Morgane Oleron