More Reasons Not to “Should” On Yourself

Sitting in my office sticky and sweaty after my morning run I’m surprised at how much chatter runs round and round in my head. This isn’t because I believe I’m some sort of yogini who has mastered clearing my mind and living in the moment, it’s just one of those recurring “aha” moments when I remember that it’s part of my being human. Maybe it’s just me being surprised that there isn’t less. Much like those days when the thought of practicing yoga occurs more like drudgery and boredom than peace and practice, those days when running for 30 minutes seems like a chore. It cracks me up sometimes to discover I still do that thing with myself where I take something I enjoy and allow it to become something I dread once I acknowledge it’s good for me. You know, kind of like not wanting to eat your veggies because you know you should.

What is that all about? I wonder if it has anything to do with expectation rather than satisfaction. I wonder if it’s because on some level I expect some sort of results I can measure, and forget to be in the moment. I think that’s it. If I were practicing yoga strictly for the sake of practice I would probably be practicing more often and more regularly especially because I do find that I feel better when I am.

Same goes for just about anything; writing for the sake of it instead of for a purpose or audience, cooking because I enjoy it not because I’m trying to impress anyone, learning because I’m pulled to not because I want to be a know-it-all smarty pants. Yep, each of these experiences can and has turned to drudgery when I forget why I’m doing them in the first place and focus on external factors.

So what do I do then? It’s not as though this is going to change overnight, or ever for that matter. What advice do I give to my friends when they’re in similar states?

For chrissake, give yourself a break and notice when you’re doing this crazy thing! Awareness is the key. Once something is acknowledged it can’t hide anymore; it can’t sneak up on you, you have a choice. So join me in breathing in and acknowledging the crazy brain chatter, the resistance to that which seems good and then choose something else, something that feels right, and good. Then do what you should do, what you want to do; eat your veggies.

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