I was dripping in sweat, but feeling good. Then the teacher came over to correct my downward dog. What? Seriously? How can the most basic yoga pose still be alluding me after nearly 20 years of practice?
This summer I was golfing in a tournament and won the two closest to the pin holes. Yet, last week I couldn’t land a shot on the green on any of the par 3 holes to save my life. In fact I was playing most of the game from the bunker.
I’ve been married, I’ve had many long term relationships and I’ve cohabited with several women over the years. This week after months of harmony I had an argument with Meg that made no sense to me, I think I’m still mad. Have I really not figured this out yet?
When I look back at my yoga practice I’ve made incredible and meaningful progress over the decades. The way I connect my breathing with my movement is really meaningful. The alignment of my standing poses is night and day from even one year ago, and I now have zero pain in my shoulders even though I have labral tears from countless wakeboarding falls. I want, NO I need those adjustments from teachers. I want to hear what they think in order to progress.
Golf, like many things in life is about two steps forward, one step back. The more steps, the further forward I progress. The steps backwards are as important as the steps forward, in fact they can accelerate the steps forward. Michael Jordan famously said; “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Everyone is irrational in comparison to ourselves. Completely bonkers. Of course there will be arguments with the people we are closest with. No one matches our worldview completely and even if you find someone who appears to share many of your beliefs and values, people change. In order to find long term meaningful relationships we must accept everyone’s irrationality as our own issue, not theirs. We need to stop searching and start accepting. We can serve and surrender without submitting and find ourselves in others when we really listen, when we are fully present. Love is not a feeling, it’s an ability. Abilities can always be improved.
I don’t know anyone who has ever built anything truly meaningful that hasn’t taken a massive amount of time and effort. It’s about progress, not perfection.