Self Care
Comments 128

Now vs. Now

empireyoga

A few days ago at work, I lead a creative jam session where we discussed how being present can make you more creative, and it can also make you a more positive person overall. If you aren’t comparing yourself to where you’ve been, or where you you’d rather be, or how much better you could be than the person across from you, then you’re putting that energy into your creative projects right now.

That’s what matters, right?

Right now.

These words trickled out of my mouth so easily, you would have thought I was a pro at living in the now and appreciating life, moment to moment. This weekend, I thought I would test out my creative beliefs by putting them into practice. On this breezy Brooklyn Saturday, I attended a Yoga class for the first time in over a year.

Walking into a yoga class after a year of not practicing was harder mentally, physically, and emotionally, than walking into a yoga class two years ago for the very first time.

Two years ago, I strutted confidently into a yoga studio in my hometown. I had no obligations to myself, other than to simply try something new. It was like trying Thai for the first time, believing that I could be cultured and interesting if I sat in a Thai restaurant and pretended to know what I was ordering.

Still, I stretched, focused on my breath because that’s what my instructor told me to do, and twisted into positions I had never tried before, all for the excitement of trying this newfound thing. When I left the studio, I knew I would be back. Month after month I formed a unique relationship with my mind, and Yoga became something that made me appreciate my thoughts and feelings in the present moment.

I did not share that sentiment walking into yoga today.

If I’m being completely honest, I judged myself, incredibly, during each and every moment. I judged myself because I knew that a year ago I was melting into poses that I could not even wrap my mind around today. I judged myself for assuming that my yoga teacher was judging me. How silly, I thought, yoga teachers aren’t judgmental creatures. I judged myself because the eighty-year-old woman effortlessly lifted into a headstand, and no matter how hard I kicked, my feet fell back to the ground.

I know, Judgy McJudgerson.

My yoga teacher would say, “Try your best to flatten your heels…”
And in my head I was shouting, “No….Flatten YOUR heels, dude!”

It was horribly frustrating, and internally embarrassing.

I say internally because nobody else could tell that I was tearing myself down, pose by pose, in a practice that used to lift me up.

Then, something kind of cool happened. During the last 10 minutes of class, our yoga teacher gave a talk about the misconception of allowing ourselves to think we must always achieve the impossible. That sometimes, thinking that we have to achieve the impossible can make the possible seem unattainable. That perhaps it’s not about what’s impossible, but more, what’s workable. If we focus on what is workable during our poses, then we begin to direct our attention to what we are working with, and allowing that to be good enough.

It doesn’t mean that we aren’t trying to better ourselves, it just means that we are accepting ourselves in the present moment. If we can focus on what is workable in our lives, with our creativity, with our current states, with our capabilities, then we can begin to assess where we can develop those things.

Instead of wishing you could do a hand stand, acknowledge that whatever brought you to your mat was a strong enough force to work with. Instead of wishing you could write the next famous screen play, believe that writing words down that may be read only by you is brave and inspiring in itself. Instead of chasing after somebody else’s accomplishments, say everything wonderful you’ve attained by yourself out loud, and let the sound of your own voice be affirmation that you are here.

Now.
In this moment.

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128 Comments

  1. This is great and so important to remember. On a more literal note, I tried out yoga for the first time a week ago – I’m hoping to practice it regularly as I liked it so much!

  2. Every yoga class I go to is such a revelation to me. I go often (like 5 times a week), and have to relearn things I thought I mastered physically and emotionally weeks ago. It’s so weird how some classes are so empowering and I feel great, and others are so, so difficult and I judge myself the whole way through (and totally hate the teacher). But I guess that’s why yoga is so awesome; it teaches so much about life just in the hour you’re on your mat. #yogiforlife :):)

    • It was intriguing to think about why it was so much easier to practice when I was first starting, and then to look at how hard it was after a practicing for a year and taking a year away from it. I’m excited to get back into it and feel my way through those bumpy moments!

  3. Good to read you again Carley. I have a lot to catch up on as well and have missed reading and writing! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for swinging by! It means so much to me that all of my wonderful readers are still here! Come back soon! ox

  4. This post came at just the right time in my life. Coincidence? I think not! 🙂 I love this line —> Instead of wishing you could write the next famous screen play, believe that writing words down that may be read only by you is brave and inspiring in itself. I can completely relate to it (b/c I do exactly opposite all the time)!. Thanks for this wonderful post and congrats on getting FP! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for reading! It’s funny we tend to think we have to accomplish everything at once, and if we’re not, we’re failing. When in reality, we are self sabotaging by trying to do it all.

  5. I kind of understand what you’re getting at. It used to be my dream to be a writer like Stephen King. Now, it’s more of my dream to be the best writer that I can become. That’s why I write so much these days, both in the hopes to improve myself before I let others read my work.

      • And it’s going so well; I’m editing a novel right now, and I’m making a lot of grammatical improvements that I wouldn’t have made before. My grammar skills seemed to have improved more rapidly than my other skills, which is strange but not unwelcome.

  6. hector1978 says

    Very Positive and thoughtful thank you for the post! I now feel a little bit confident in taking Yoga,lol

    • Yoga really is a great experience. I have a lot of guy friends who take it as a form of physical therapy for various sports, so you’re not alone! It’s for everybody! 🙂

  7. @”Instead of wishing you could do a hand stand, acknowledge that whatever brought you to your mat was a strong enough force to work with. Instead of wishing you could write the next famous screen play, believe that writing words down that may be read only by you is brave and inspiring in itself. Instead of chasing after somebody else’s accomplishments, say everything wonderful you’ve attained by yourself out loud, and let the sound of your own voice be affirmation that you are here.

    Now.
    In this moment…”

    *Round of Applause* You get what so many people, even folks my age, don’t get. Good for YOU and you hit the nail on the head. We are often time are own worst enemies; when being our biggest cheerleader leads to a far more content spirit. Or least that is what is working for moi(me) ..

    • I definitely agree that being your own biggest cheerleader is SO much better than being hard on yourself. Whenever I find myself being hard on myself, I just try to take a few deep breaths and remember that I am doing my best and that it’s enough!

  8. Hi Carly, You are the second post that I have read on wordpress… I’m a newbie 🙂 The way you write is lovely and very insightful. Especially the above article, which I can totally relate to. I am in the process of putting of my Yoga session.. in fact I really should stop procrastinating and get to it! Anyway, Amazing blog, I am following and I look forward to what you have to post next! Nik @The Womens Domain x

    • Thank you so much for following along! Loved your post on Friends with Benefits vs. Lovers. Good stuff! Welcome to WordPress!

  9. It really is an interesting take how yoga allows people to take a step back and really accept your vulnerable self right there on the mat. I’ve attended a few classes, and like you, I’ve taken the year off and occasionally hit the mat ever so often. But as you said, ‘being good enough’ is all what SHOULD matter to us.

    When we become so focused on achieving the impossible, we transition our minds to a state of anxiety. I believe that the here and now allows us to be okay with where we are, as we take baby steps from one destination to the next.

    The one who judges us the hardest is ourselves. Which is why yoga is such an emotional roller coaster for many. It judges and breaks judgements. I think you said it best, that the force that brought you to the mat in the first place should be all that matters. Appreciate the insight you have for us wordpressers on this fine Thursday day!

    • It was pretty amazing (and also REALLY frustrating). The whole time, I was trying to do this “stay present” thing on the mat, but inside I was beating myself up over the fact that I couldn’t get my heals to touch the ground anymore in down dog. And when I left, I didn’t feel refreshed and good about myself, I actually felt really sad. It wasn’t until I wrote this post that I had my “Ah-ah!” moment. Thank you so much for reading. Come back soon!

  10. Although I claim no affinity for yoga, I do fall in to the trap of self indictment for not performing to a level that I believe I should. Great post!

  11. “act for actions sake arjuna, with no regards to the results.”
    ” this is the yoga of action”
    “yoga is skill in action”

    what this means to me is that life is in the actions, not the results. great post:)

  12. ironically this attitude does seem to lead to better results though so i see where your coming from i think.

    one last quote from the gita that lines up with this post;

    “better to do your own duty though imperfectly, than to perform anothers imperfectly.

  13. I just loved this. I can relate and it’s a good reminder that sometimes we need to be easier on ourselves for these exact reasons that your yoga teacher explained 🙂

  14. RSpeaks says

    Thank you for shaking up my awesome, yet not so productive future. Present is duly acknowledged. Great article.

  15. Liz Rathbone says

    Lovely post! And a wonderful reminder of where to focus creative energy… Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  16. Beautiful thoughts and beautifully written! It reminds me of a quote my sister-in-law wrote:

    You are enough.
    Don’t exhaust your energies by constantly looking over your shoulder or trying to keep up with someone else’s dreams.
    You are exquisite enough.
    Name your stunning passions that make you your own one of a kind marvelous being.

    Thanks for inspring living in the now and being true to who and where we each are right now.

  17. Lovely! I used to attend yoga classes and easily get inclined to the teachings that promote peace and compassion. It’s always reviving and refreshing to feel anew and motivated with the practices and teachings like these.

    Yes, we must learn and feel good about our own part of achievements, no matter how small they look apparently.

    • And even the smallest achievement, like getting out of the bed in the morning, is proof that you are here! Thank you for reading and commenting. Come back soon!

  18. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Your blog reminded me that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself all the time. Thank you for such an inspirational story:)

  19. Well written and welcome words. Currently at a “Where I feel I should be vs Where I am” internal debate, It’s refreshing to hear words like these ones!

  20. I understand completely. I always used to feel like I had to do everything well, especially with how my family always compared me with my brother or my cousins. Whenever I couldn’t meet their expectations, I always used to beat myself up over that, but now I realized that it wasn’t that I wasn’t only striving to reach their expectations, but that I was being crushed under my own expectations of myself. Now, instead of just blindly running forward, I’ll take the time to look back on what I’m done.

    Thank you so much for writing this post, Carley. 🙂

    • I always say comparison is the kryptonite of creativity! Never let anybody’s (especially your own) expectations crush you. Thank YOU so much for reading, and come visit again sometime. Always love to hear different people’s thoughts. xo

  21. helena mallett says

    ‘believe that writing words down that may be read only by you is brave and inspiring in itself’ and ‘let the sound of your own voice be affirmation that you are her’ – i’m saying this out loud and clear right now. Thank you.

  22. Loujain says

    I think everyone can relate to this post in a way because with the fast pace of life, we are always focused on catching up and stuck in endless competitions.
    I actually wrote something with an idea close to yours, if u’de like to check it out. http://onewaytickets1.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/limitless-limitations/
    Being a student/journalist with several deadlines every week leaves me at an endless challenge with my own self to be the best, always looking for reinforcement, untill one day I realized that I should work and meet my deadlines because I love what I am doing, not because I need to do so so I won’t be a “failure”

    Great Post 🙂

  23. Wonderful writing and it came exactly in right time. Right now I’m trying to improve my cgpa, learning how to cycle, how to swim, Conducting a voluntary club, arranging programs from there, thinking of new projects and thinking I’m not doing good in any of it. Your post just reminded me how hard I was being on me. Thank you so much.

  24. Ahh, nostalgia. Which yoga place did you go to? I am an Aussie, but lived in NY for a lil while, and went to yoga to (or for) the people in midtown a few times. Good times, too. Sweet post. I’ll be back *read in Arnie’s voice*.

    • You’re an Aussie who lived in NY?! Because I’m an American who lived in Australia! Welcome! Yoga to the people is a great spot. 🙂 Come back soon. Your comment made me smile!

  25. Roshni says

    It’s such an inspiring post. I’m kind of stuck in a rut, myself. Creatively, emotionally. Reading this post helped brighten up my mood considerably. Loved it. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  26. I agree that I am also harder on myself with things I’ve tried previously than completely new things. Funny because one of the situations I was in was also about yoga! I was able to do things before that I could no longer do with ease. But continuing to mentally push myself bit by bit I was finally able to do those poses I could no longer do and new poses!

    Keep it up!

    • We often are our biggest critics, Jo! Sometimes I think that mental toughness and mental strength are different beasts. Thank you for reading!

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  28. Lovely.. I totally get what you’re saying. =)

    I’m still going to hang on to that dream of getting a book published eventually though, lol. =P

    Have a great day! =)

    • Hahaha! You know, surprisingly not! I was jealous at first (jealousy really is a beast, isn’t it?) But I was happy that she was practicing and I thought it was so impressive!

      Thanks for the morning laugh!

  29. That was really beautiful and motivational!!! It is true how much we get engrossed in past that we forget to live and enjoy the present. Thanks for reminding that. !!!

  30. Something different and positive from what i’ve come across in the blog world. i like that. Wonder if i can implement those positive feelings and produce that in my work.

  31. I feel when we accept ourselves for who we are in this moment, we give ourselves the permission to unfold naturally into who we are, rather than beating it out through judgments and negative self talk and endless bouts of good intentioned self help. I’m here, I’m tired, a bit sad, thankful for the sunlight on my back, desperately seeking the novel burning a hole in my heart, but in beginning to write I’m finding that same heart whole as I mend the self I am word by word.

  32. Abdul in New Zealand says

    I didn’t try yoga before . About accept our selves . I heard once :
    don’t compare yourself with other , compare yourself with yourself <– -not sure if it is right to say it that way- .
    and by doing that we can see the improvement because everyone has different abilities and skills.

    cheers

  33. embracingsustainability says

    Loved it! It reminds me how hard can we be on ourselves. Be gentle and let your body open up on its own.

    • Thanks for reading, Candice! I checked out your blog, you have such a cool story! I live in NYC and ironically I missed the ball dropping because I was traveling!

  34. Pingback: Now vs. Now | creativise

  35. This is exactly what I needed this morning. I have been struggling with the “what ifs” so much this week. My path always seems to have options that carry me away from my desire. Being centered and focused on the now will allow me enjoy each moment. Thank you for the reminder.

    • So happy you were able to connect to this! Remember at the end of the day that while you have control over your life, you’re also human, and you’re allowed to have “wtf” moments! Giving yourself permission to not be perfect all the time will help you be more centered and figure out what you really want. Come back soon!

  36. Great advice. I have those internal struggles with my ability to “perform” as well as I want (or often, just as well as everyone else). Thanks for the reminder!

  37. So rad. I’ve been in a rut as of late, and I think this article makes that brings to light the difference between an acceptance of the present and being complacent. The positivity is much appreciated.

  38. Love this post. Always gotta start with foundation or the whole house come crumblin’ down, right? I’ve done yoga since 1999 and everyday is a new experience…it’s like you wrote…staying in the now and accepting it as perfect…just as we are. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  39. I’m glad I stopped by. Thanks for sharing your story. Truly , your post is very inspiring and wonderfully written. Congrats getting in FP!

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  41. grizyeti says

    Kind of inspires a person to try to be more active and live. As I sit here typing in my chair eating junk food. 🙂
    Hmm, maybe I’ll hit the gym tomorrow, or the next day since tomorrow just filled up.
    Life will wait, right??

    Great article, thanks for sharing the yoga class memories, I laughed.
    “)

  42. Pingback: Now vs. Now | Mentoring Movement

  43. I really like this! Great write! I’m going to remind myself “what’s workable” anytime something seems tough or even worse… impossible.

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  45. Tried Yoga for the first time in January. Takes practice and for me, concentration and focus. However it is relaxing and enjoyable. A pleasant change from more strenuous exercise.

  46. Reblogged this on Corporate Skirts and commented:
    Right now, today, I needed to remember this! That life is in the NOW and “how soon is now?” is a good enough reason to do the things that we want to do.

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