When it came to dinner tonight, on my evening home alone, I knew exactly what I wanted: Greasy chinese food, delivered to my door, cheap & easy. (Oh, and it was such a delicious indulgence. Thank you Hong Kong King in Salem, for your perfectly fatty crab rangoun and veggie lo mein.)
When it comes to what I want in life...well, that's a lot more difficult to pinpoint, now isn't it?
I came across this lovely article in August's Yoga Journal about having a more playful spirit. As someone who (just recently, hooray!) graduated from a 200-hour yoga teacher training specifically for teaching yoga to children, I completely believe it how important it is to play! Kids need it, and quite frankly, adults need it, too. We teachers-in-training were ALL too willing to play along with the games, crafts, and creativity involved in our practice-teaches to each other. We don't get many opportunities in grown-up life to be silly, to be creative, to giggle. For one reason, or 100 reasons, we've lost some of that child-like wonder that many of us enjoyed as children.
The article gave a few suggestions to bring wonder back into your life, like spending time with a child or an animal - watch how they play and discover the world again through their eyes. But another one really struck a chord with me. It said, "Instead of thinking about negative "what ifs," play the positive "What if" game. Ask yourself, "What if I get my dream job?" "What if I open deeply to love?" Let your dreams become reality by asking, "How could this get any better?" And live the answer!"
I find it so easy to spiral down a path of negative worry about the future...In thinking about becoming a School Psychologist in 2 short years, it is so easy for me to worry...What if I fail? What if I make a grave mistake? What if I am not successful? What if I end up hurting someone I am supposed to help?
I don't think I'm alone in this worry, especially after a few useful activities from our recent counseling class. But I find that it is easy for me to worry about other things too...Alex isn't home yet? And he didn't call? Oh my god, what if he got into a car accident?
Thankfully, yoga has taught me to nip that last one in the bud, so I usually tell myself- it's unlikely that he was in a car accident, and very likely that he forgot to charge his cell phone. Don't worry about it, until there is really something to worry about!
But I haven't quite been able to shut up all my fears just yet. And why is it that we don't often play the positive What If game? I think, as I've reached my mid-twenties, that we really, officially are not even close to being kids anymore. And when we were kids, we could say, I want to do X, Y, or Z "when I grow up," and no one said, "Well, gee, you're not real close to achieving that goal, are ya?" or "Wow, that's going to cost a lot of money" or "That's ambitious." Not that most people would actually say that to us now, I just feel like there is more of a deadline now. Before college, it was like all you had was time ahead of you. And now it's like, well, better get to "successful" before 30, because aren't you planning on having kids? I think it's mostly internal judgment, but there's also less obviously external judgment, in looks and eyebrow raises.
I think now, too, it's hard to play the positive what-if game for two reasons. 1) It takes real, hard work to achieve ambitious goals. And man, wouldn't I like to watch Gilmore Girls and knit all day? and 2) is that ever-persistent fear of failure. If I announce these dreams of mine, say them out loud, type them in black and white....then you and I will both know if I don't achieve them.
But this is so preposterous! I need to know what I want in order to get it! I need to ASK the universe, please, could I have some chinese food? before it will be delivered on my doorstep!
So what do I want? Lord knows, I'm still not sure. But I think I really would like to be a School Psychologist, and just maybe help some kids and parents and teachers. I'd really like to teach yoga to some kids, and give them a space where they can be safe and relaxed and maybe let go of all the craziness for a little while. I'd like to be happy. Next Saturday, when I teach a kids class at the Holistic Health Festival, I'd really like some people to take my business cards, look up my website, and maybe hire me for some paying teaching jobs! (Links to my in-progress website, coming soon!)
What do YOU want out of life? What's your positive What If question?