THE GENUINE AMID THE NON-GENUINE
No one wants to seem like they’re trying too hard. Some people exude cool like they were born with it, putting others at ease, while others just come off as…off. As in the opposite of ease.
When I watch an awards show like the Golden Globes, I judge (yes, we all judge) the evening based on how uncomfortable I feel at various moments of the night. What (who) makes me cringe, and what (who) makes me simply feel, comfort.
The red carpet portion tells you nothing (because they’re perfectly rehearsed, I mean, poised). It’s during the awards show itself, when the dresses have already made their statements and have become old news, the “stars” are downing glass after glass of champagne, and the camera discreetly pans the room, when the darting eyes, the fake smiles, and the rare moments of actual emotion come alive in mini-moments of oops, truth.
That’s the thing. When who you represent outwardly is not who you really are, you’ll be caught. One day. Probably soon.
Now, I’m going off on a limb a bit by speaking of the Golden Globes in the same breath as my yoga practice. But yesterday, it seemed to transition smoothly in my mind as I thought all day about what it takes to be able to act nonchalantly, in an honest fashion.
No faking or trying too hard, or thinking too much about “what is expected of me”. Just genuine me-ness.
IN YOGA IT’S CALLED PRACTICE
My yoga teacher lives in Upstate New York, and she takes the 6AM bus into town to teach her 10AM class. When it is 16 degrees out as it was yesterday (and today), somehow that seems even more heroic. But of course, she’s not doing it for the heroism.
I wonder how many people woke up yesterday, realized their toes were frozen, said No way in hell and snuggled back under the covers. It was a Sunday, there were no obligations to be anywhere, it was the perfect morning to enjoy winter – from home with a cuppa steamy joe, and no one would know if you decided not to go to yoga. No one.
I might have stayed snuggled if it were another yoga class, a different teacher. But I didn’t want to miss this class because I knew what it would do for me. It would take me to a state of peace and calm that I just can’t get to by myself (yet). So I jumped out of bed (not quite at 6AM), thanked myself for shunning the beer and wine the night before, and threw on my yoga clothes before I did anything else, so my mind knew I was not budging, I will go to class, a 15-minute walk and 20-minute subway ride away. Gave myself no other options.
HERE’S WHY I GO
After our 2-hour class, invigorated, physically and emotionally warmed up, and open, life was good again. And I was still. Not quiet. Still. As class disbanded and we picked our mats up off of the floor, our teacher commended us for coming in on an ice cold Sunday morning, and then she said nonchalantly, “Yes, discipline gives you freedom.”
Not preachy, not self-importantly, but as simple fact. Half the people were out the door already.
Discipline gives you freedom.
Making that effort frees you rather than binds you, because you don’t have to spend the rest of the day torturing yourself with, “I should go” and “I have to go” and “Why am I not going?”, eventually leading to an exasperated “You wasted another Sunday!” at about 7pm. Definitely not a liberating way to spend the day.
Imagine how much the Golden Globes would have irritated you then. (Joking.)
Instead, I enjoyed a rather free-spirited Sunday, liberated from my inner critic.
I’ve had many yoga teachers, and I myself was a teacher (in performing arts) for nearly ten years, and students can always tell when the teachers are not speaking truthfully. But with teachers who have walked the trenches and done their work, who are in the process of learning still, the real lessons can be found in how words are said, rather than the actual words said.
How? Nonchalantly, but honestly.
That’s very, very cool. And something I strive for, as I begin another day huffing and puffing, not at all being cool.
See you next time! Thanks as always, for reading.