When I was a freshman in High School, I failed my first semester of English. Not just a test or a paper; but the whole semester. I was devastated, although I would never let it show in my anxiety punk high school days. When this happened, though I did not realize it then, I had two options. I could learn from this, do better and prove to myself that I was cut out for better than what I was doing – after all it was not that I did not get the material, I just did not like Greek epic poetry. Or I could just wallow and let the failure define me.
Of course I chose to do the latter, and eventually ended up failing many more tests and papers after that; although thankfully I never again failed a whole semester. Still, even at that stage of my life, I understood something about these failures. They were important. It was a great lesson that everyone should learn sooner or later, the taste of failure.
Fast forward to today. I have let go of the anxiety attitude, stopped worrying about saving face, and have lapsed into a peace loving hippy child that teaches yoga. Nonetheless, as any practicing and learning yogi will tell you, there is still a lot to learn from expectations and failure. I personally have a lot to learn from these two. I have a habit of putting expectations on situations and when they do not going according to plan, I tend to take it a bit harder than needed.
Much like a situation earlier this week. I had planned on having a second chance to go to my What is Yoga? Workshop via webinar. I had a site that I had been excited to use, a plan, and timing all set out. The site had me place the price a bit higher than I would have liked, still I had at least a handful of people via Facebook saying they were going to attend. However Tuesday when I sat down to set up the workshop, problem after problem arose. In the end I canceled the event, with no one signed up via the website, and no comments on the fact that it got canceled.
I was devastated. It felt like my whole dream of being an independent yogi had failed. I questioned everything I was doing. I asked the universe if I was not meant to teach yoga, but live a life that made me miserable (before I was working in an office, I was really good at it; but the stress ultimately got to me and I ended up very depressed). I got angry at the people on Facebook, convinced that they did not see me as worthy, so they did not want to pay me for my talents. I spent a long time twisted between crying and sitting blank faced. I would not even let my boyfriend any where near me because I was so hurt.
Eventually I began to look for answers as what I should do. I could not find anything that was particular to my situation, but I eventually landed on an article that was about failure as a whole. One of the main points was the negative mental spiral we all go through due to failure, or others telling us we are a failure. I began to retreat into my past after this article. I thought over all the times I had failed and all the people telling me what I could and could not do or accomplish. Then I finally realized something, I was doing this to myself. I was making myself fail, but not in a way that one would expect.
There is a tangible nature to the idea of poverty and failure mindset. It is the constant spiral thinking that we do not deserve, or are not worthy of success, or prosperity. This mindset can seep into everything we do, every manifestation we set, and every action we take. On the outside we may say that we are going to do it, we are going to win this time; but somewhere deep down we are still telling ourselves, “sure, maybe, but is that really meant for you? What makes you think you deserve that? WHY are you so special? There are people way more deserving than you of that money/successes/achievement”. Then we fail.
What do we do once we fail? Well it is at this “rock bottom” that we have a choice. We can either let the failure win, or we can get to the root of the problem and fix it, become better, and succeed next time. That was the important lesson I was desperately looking for Tuesday night. I wanted to know that one failure did not define me, and was not the end of my dream, but just another link in the chain. It was not until I had to find the answer on my own, did I even recognize the failure/poverty mindset within myself.
In fact I grew up with this exact mindset wrapped around my life. My mother has and is always worried about money, my father is and was always worried about security; and between the two of them they gave me both of those fears. I am not saying that these are not things to fret over, nor are they things to push to the side; however they are not all that we live for, nor are they the central points of our lives. When we make these worries the center point of our lives we allow that poverty/failure mindset to seep in and take over. Like melted tar, it is sticky, gets everywhere and once it sets, it is not easy to get out.
So Tuesday night I eventually brushed myself off. I spent the night doing relaxing things that did not include work. Ate food that was a little richer and had more sugar than normal. And I went to bed early. I went to bed determined to do better, work harder, and tell myself every day that I deserved the life I wanted, and there was nothing wrong with wanting that life.
I am not saying that this reveling moment and leading mind set will keep me from failure. Nor am I cured from my expectations. That’s why it is called a practice. You cannot fail in practice, you just try again, and again, until you get it; then you move on to the next challenge.
Practice in Love and Peace my Friends.