Adjusting to my shifting life has not been easy but it sure has taught me a lot about myself. Namely: I am a control freak. Ok, ok — many of you already know this. Even I already knew this. BUT, having to let go of life as you know it when you are a control freak sort of puts an exclamation point on the obvious.
Anyway, this whole “letting go of control” thing is probably just what I needed right now on my path in order to grow and evolve. Yoga Sutra 1.16 says, “That freedom from the constituent forces (of nature which arises) due to an individual’s self-realization is supreme.” Hmm, now that’s a mouthful. What it really means in plain English is that we need to, at some point, give up control because the more we try to control the world around us, the less control we really have. Yet, if we are able to just let go and stay present, we actually gain control. Now that’s a concept worth pondering.
Today this sort of hit me in the face. I was taking Heidi White’s Sunday morning yoga class at Breathe Joy Yoga. Yup, the class I taught for six years up until two weeks ago when I resigned as studio manager and teacher. I forced myself to arrive three minutes before class started (all you yogis out there should not take this advice and instead arrive 10 minutes early!) so I could try to be an anonymous student without anyone asking me questions that should be directed to the new teacher. As class started, I noticed the lights on so I got up and shut them off! Heidi thanked me and as I walked back to my mat, my monkey mind started shouting off things like, “Why didn’t you just let it go?”, “It’s Heidi’s class now. Let her deal with it!” “What if Heidi wanted the lights on? C’mon control freak, it’s not your class anymore.” I settled myself back onto my mat and began my process of quieting my mind and letting go through my breath.
After class — which was wonderful by the way — I meandered to the front desk. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just file out the door like all the other grateful yogis? Just like I always used to do, I said goodbye to everyone and made small talk about their lives, their kids, etc. But one conversation stuck with me and I couldn’t let it go — obviously, as I am writing about it here.
One of my favorite students (let’s call him Joe) doesn’t live nearby; he lives in New York City. Whenever he is in town visiting relatives, he takes classes at Breathe Joy Yoga and I was so happy I got a chance to see him today. He wished me well in my travels, we chatted about maybe meeting up in NYC when I am there, and he offered up this tid-bit of non-solicited feedback and advice: Heidi’s class was great and she seems like she’ll do a fabulous job as a teacher here and our new studio manager. Then he added, “All this change in your life is great on many levels but it also offers a wonderful opportunity to learn how to delegate and let someone else handle things.”
Was Joe reading my mind? He certainly doesn’t know me personally and has no idea how hard it was for me to come to grips with letting go of the day-to-day operations of the business that took me eight years to build and grow. I just stood there nodding and then said, “You’re right.”
Not only is he right but it is ABOUT TIME. About time for me to put into practice this lesson of letting go. About time for me to let Heidi take the reins and run with it. About time for me to lose control in one way so that I can gain control in yet another.
As Joe was leaving, another student asked me where I was going on my trip around the country. I looked at her and said, honestly, “I only know where I will be until about the fall. After that, I have no idea.” As I said this, I actually felt good, maybe for the first time, about not knowing and not controlling my own situation.
You see, I have no control over where I am traveling to and where I will put my head down at night. I have no choice but to be patient and wait until someone from the tour company provides me with my travel information. For me, this has been a real struggle. If you haven’t guessed already, I am the type of person who likes to plan every trip out ahead of time, research hotels for weeks and be the one who selects each destination. So it’s no surprise that the universe decided to throw me a curve ball or, rather, place an obstacle in my way so I could learn how to let go and go with the flow.
And that’s just what I am doing.