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Welcome to the learning curve

This past week has been a lot about learning. One was figuring out how WordPress manages to post columns on a future schedule. For those of you who have checked this column over the past two days and expressly did not see the notice on Yoga at the Lighthouse with Kathryn Downton in it, well, that would be me not figuring out the instructions in time. It’s all fixed now. Sorry, I’ll do better next time.

It’s true of all our false starts. We try and err and try again until we figure out which buttons to press and which hoops need to be jumped through in which order. I’ve been working through the mechanics of opening a business. It’s been a lot of this form to this place and then that form to this other place – don’t mess up the order please. But so far, I’ve managed to get Dharma Yoga registered as a sole proprietorship, operating for business in the Province of New Brunswick and duly blessed by Corporate Services for the Province. And in another two hours, I’ll have finished all the jigs and wheels that come with having opened up banking services for Dharma Yoga.

Marketing has been a pain in the gluteus region. I completely and totally suck at marketing. I really hang back when it comes to tooting my own horn. Even my most modest efforts sound like boasting to my ears. That whole issue of “Who am I to teach yoga?” rises like a cobra. It’s probably a good thing for me that I teamed up with my own teacher, Kathryn, and some of my classmates to teach co-operatively this fall. Kathryn is a walking encyclopedia of “what to do, and when to do it”. She’s been at this for ten years now and would be the only yoga teacher in this region who has made her full-time living teaching yoga for a decade now. She’s very free and generous with her advice and has probably headed off more than a few blunders in the making.

Four of us have banded together to share teaching space and split the cost of advertising for the fall term. Poster design costs split 5 ways are very manageable. And it makes sense to bring together our energies. It really doesn’t matter to me that someone takes yoga from a different teacher. In the long run, taking the strategic approach to the issue, the more people who get involved in yoga, the better it is for my business. I firmly believe that a rising tide floats all boats.

But this co-operative bit raises a whole bunch of other issues for me. There’s no other way to say it delicately other than my inner control freak is completely freaked out. I don’t deal so well when I have to rely on other people to do things and so this week has been a constant struggle to NOT ask what’s the status on project X and has anyone followed up on Y and what’s the fall back position for Z? Details, details and more details are whirling through my head at the speed of thought.

I’m blessed with a work ethic that would flatten a workhorse. In my head, everything needs to be done now. As in “right bloody now”. In a perfect world, I’d rather have a task list as long as my arm than to cast my lot in on the productiveness of someone else’s efforts. Emotionally, it makes me feel very vulnerable to trust other people to do what they’ve agreed to do, in an appropriate and timely fashion. Now let’s be perfectly clear here, this is entirely my drunken monkey mind ramping up into overdrive.

If nothing else, yoga has given me the clarity of mind to understand that none of my “worst case scenarios” have come to pass. My “what if” catastrophizing exists only in the confines of my skull. I’m projecting all the fears and disappointments of the past into an imaginary future that will never exist because it exists only in my head. The key word here is an “imagined future”. My rising levels of anxiety are entirely self-induced because I’m the sole author of this mental and emotional drama.

So in many respects, this week has both been instructive and amusing. I’ve learned a lot just sitting back and watching myself freak out. Part of my brain is completely consumed with “to do” lists and project management. And the observer in my brain sits and watches as my brain metaphorically chases its own tail.

It’s the lesson of Abhyasa and Vairagya, taken off the mat. My job is to do my thing and let go of the results. I need to make sure I’ve dotted all the I’s I’m responsible for dotting and cross all the T’s I’m responsible for crossing and then just let the chips fall where they may. People will either do what they said they would do or they won’t but I need to wait until that’s a reality and not an imaginary figment.

Is any of this helping my inner control freak? Not in the bloody least. She’s ramped right up into full snit status. What’s different between now and every other time I’ve found myself in this situation, I better understand the mechanics of my mind. It’s the art and science of learning that I am not my thoughts and I am not my emotions. I observe both and understand that these too shall pass. Yoga has given me sufficient clarity to understand that about 95% of what I’m feeling right now is not based on reality but comes from my deep well of inner fear and insecurity. I’m willing to wait until I have facts to deal with instead of making ill-advised decisions based on fear and fantasies.

So, I think I’m mostly successful at walking away from the impulse to micro-manage. I’ve put my stuff out for the consideration of others and now it’s about letting the Universe unfold as it is going to anyway.

And for me, learning to let go of the results of my efforts has been the steepest learning curve of all.

Thanks for reading and Namaste,



About Kate MacKay

I'm a certified Viniyoga teacher, in Fredericton, NB. I was a 9-1-1 operator and emergency services dispatcher for 22 years. Surprisingly, the two worked well together, or as I liked to put it, from the sublime to the ridiculous -- all in a day's work. I'm currently off work as a result of a stress-induced cardiac condition that's thrown a few crimps in my lifestyle. I'm not actively teaching yoga in the classroom right now and probably won't for several more months. That said, this blog is one of the forms of practice I can do and I thank you for joining me in this exploration of all things yoga.

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