"Do or do not. There is no try." --Yoda
My brother was a Trekkie (not that there's anything wrong with that...and, yes, I can do the Vulcan sign thingy with my fingers, so I'm not a hater) but I was a Star Wars fan (don't judge, please!). Yoda, that so-ugly-he-was-cute green creature was my favorite. I spent quite a bit of time wishing and hoping that my own little inspirational green guru would appear in the wooded area of my backyard (no such luck!). Ah, if wishes were horses...
But I digress. The thing that appealed to me about Yoda was his wisdom (there was a lot of bang in that little green package). Hmmmmm...perhaps even then I was wanting to transcend. Or maybe I just realized that there's only one letter separating Yoda from Yoga. Again, I digress. Yoda's urging Luke to get in touch with his feelings, to face his fear and to eliminate the word try really struck my pre-teen brain. And as silly as it sounds, his teachings stuck with me over the years. And how different are they, really, from what we learn in yoga?
These days I've become intently focused on facing up to the truth and going for what I want (doing rather than trying). It's amazing how scary the truth can seem to us and what lengths we go to deny it. It starts with the simple things. For me, a few weeks back I "forgot" to do my yoga practice. I had a conflict in the morning so I skipped my usual time, figuring I'd practice in the evening. When the evening came, I allowed myself to get distracted by unimportant things. By the time bedtime rolled around, I found myself whining about not "having time" to do my practice. Nonsense! I had the time -- I simply chose to do something else with it. Telling myself the truth about it reminded me to be more discerning about how I spend my time. I didn't use the truth as an excuse to beat myself up -- I simply used it as an opportunity to improve.
When we lie about little things like our yoga practice, we're bound to by lying about bigger things. Perhaps it's lying about your relationship or your career or lying to yourself about your life. Yep, BIG things. Just yesterday I was reading this interesting relationship article -- 8 Delusions That May Be Infecting Your Relationship -- and I was reminded of Yoda and trying and lying. Number 8 really caught my attention (no surprise since this is the topic of today's post). This excerpt in particular got my brain churning:
"Trying could be said to be a kind of lying. It means well, and may even believe its own hype and promises, but almost always falls short of its intended actions, simply because too much of us is simply not aligned with our trying’s stated intention. Trying is big on talk and small on action—and how could it be otherwise, given how divided and half-hearted it is?
When you find yourself saying, “I’ll try,” probe deeper until your resistance to doing what you say you’ll try to do surfaces. The energy locked into this resistance is the energy required to do what really needs to be done. And how to unlock it? Cultivate intimacy with it."
You want to whine about this, don't you? You want to disagree and make excuses for why you are trying rather than doing? I understand. I've been there. Oh, I've so been there. And I've done it. I've whined, cajoled, made excuses, blamed others. And you know what? All of that effort took up waaay more energy than if I had just told the truth.
A few months ago I was chatting with a friend over tea. As a good friend is wont to do, she was sticking up for me in regards to a relationship break-up. She was saying that it was his fault that the relationship broke down. Years ago, I would have agreed with her. In fact, about 4 years prior, I had spent quite a bit of time blaming this person for my unhappiness in the relationship. You know where that got me? Nowhere -- angry and bitter with no insight as to how I could improve as a partner. Not only was that not true, but it wasn't helping me to roll over play the victim and not take responsibility for what was going on in the relationship. Luckily I figured that out somewhere along the way and I told my friend that he was not the bad guy who broke the relationship but that we both did. I made mistakes. I did stupid things. I lied (to him and to myself). He didn't make me do any of these things -- I did them all on my own.
Years ago, I would have resisted that truth BIG TIME! My ego would have been horrified to admit that I was wrong in so many ways and that I had made mistakes. The thing is -- it's not about ego; it's about heart. It's not about try; it's about do. It's not about lying and deflecting; it's about truth, responsibility and acceptance. When my ego rears up and freaks out over this, I remind it that this isn't even about the other person but about me. When I got into another relationship I take myself with me, which means that whatever happened in the past will happen again in the future unless I bring some awareness to it (WARNING: the ego will try to convince you that it won't happen when you enter into relationship with a new person, a better person. There IS no such thing as new or better -- there's only different).
Recently, I met someone who talks about his life as if it's something that's happened to him. He just happened to meet the wrong people and he just happened to get dragged into the wrong relationships and bad situations. He tries to be good at relationship but it just doesn't seem to work. At first I found myself puzzled -- how does such a wonderful person end up with such drama and sadness? Then it hit me -- he's lying to himself. I think it hit me so clearly because I've been in that exact spot. And if I can manage to move out of that spot, so can anyone. As Yoda says, there is no try...
So when this person said he wasn't happy about what was going on in his life, I found myself thinking: "If you want it badly enough, you do it. You take responsibility and you go for it. Stop being a passive victim and stand up for yourself and your life!" Okay...so even though it sounds like I've come a long way, I think I still have a long way to go, as I seemed to be lacking in compassion for this person. I went all Bootcamp Yoda on him -- "Stop being such a victimy wussy and take charge of your life!" I suppose you could say that I forgot what it was like to be in that place, sort of like how a parent sometimes forgets what it's like to be a teenager.
So what are you trying to do right now? Are you trying to maintain a regular yoga practice? Are you trying to make a relationship work? Are you trying to drop a bad habit? Are you trying to make a go at a new career? Now get really honest with yourself -- what are you lying about?
It's looking like I need to stop trying to be more compassion and start DOING it!
And on a lighter note...
I don't normally go in for stuff like this, but I couldn't help but laugh at this funny little Find Your Yogi Name blog post. I would be Karma Samadhi Joy, but you can call me K for short! HA!
And here's a little inspiration from Mark Whitwell -- who I consider to be my very own Yoda (no, he's not green!): Don't follow the leader. Follow the breath!