This morning, I eagerly rolled out my yoga mat at Laughing Lotus in preparation for one of my favorite classes...a Basics class with Christine Chen. As I sat in a cross-legged seat, Christine shared her insight about what it means to be present. As New Yorkers, we are always thinking about what's next for us...what big events are going on this week at work, what auditions are coming up, what do I need to do to get ahead or get better or how can I get more accomplished? I breathed a huge sigh of relief as Christine asked us to focus on the present moment, to come back to something as simple as an inhale and an exhale. As the class began to chant ***Om shanti shanti shanti,*** my innermost layers of worry, anticipation, and expectation began to slowly melt away.
As I tried to focus on staying connected to my breath, I watched my thoughts begin to dance. I realized that I struggle with being present because my brain has associated staying present with not doing enough or being lazy or falling behind. When, in reality, that thought pattern is the opposite of what is true.
The majority of my friends are artists, and as artists, we can be some of the worst offenders of letting our minds run away with 100 mph thoughts. (although our craft calls us to be ever so mindful/present). We are always worried about the next gig, or crushing that next audition, or learning those 11 new songs that will re-vamp our repertoire. This drive and passion is NOT A BAD THING, hear me out. And I am the QUEEN of getting swept away in a vortex of thoughts until I am in an anxious panic. But I began thinking today...what if I am able to be OK in the present moment, regardless of my performance schedule or lack thereof. What if when I finish a show, I approach the days to follow with gratitude and openness instead of anxiety and self-imposed stress. Why the need for such extreme highs and hellish lows? What function do those feelings really serve? Openness, awareness, and presence are what I yearn for. And I know this is possible one breath at a time.
When I approached my yoga practice today, I was invited to slow down, to listen, and to respond in-the-moment to the cues of both Christine and the cues of my own body. I want to extend this invitation into my day-to-day "grind.". What if this unpredictable NYC life is no longer a grind but an opportunity....no longer a battle but an invitation to breathe, pause, and experience the fullness of life in real-time?
HAPPY SUNDAY, LOVELY FRIENDS!
P.S. If I wasn't present after class, I would have missed out on dousing myself in GLITTER from the GLITTER BAR!