Power-yoga with Denise at 9 in the morning. This hardcore rock-n-roll-tattoo-filled-mother-of-a-teenage-boy-yogi is oozing strength and general bad-ass. She looks like someone who has been training yoga hardcore 8 hours a day for the last 30 years (and probably she has! If not more!), and everything she does is done with grace as if nothing is hard (and now we are talking about poses such as balancing on the chin, or one hand or, seems like, balancing on your pinkie-toe type-of-things). She does not try to push anyone, she just sets the example for how it is supposed to be done, and encourages anyone who had enough, or just does not feel like it, to just take a rest. It is all the same anyway, we eventually end up in the same place regardless – as she puts it.
It is just after 9am and the sweat is already poring from all of us, roughly 60 participants whom with a little less grace and a lot more effort are trying to keep up with Denise’s jumps from arm-balance, to handstand, back to plank position, 10 jumps in the air from pressup-position to jump through your own arms into legs in the air for some belly muscle toning. PUH!!!
“Do not worry about any of this..” Denise says calmly as the sweat is poring down the bodies left right and center in the yoga studio, “what about if every pose you do is a resting place, a preparation for the next pose and what is about to come?”
“A resting place!?” I think “you mean this is going to get worse! Please do no tell me that..!!”
But of course she is right. In life, many times we think we are doing the hardest thing we are capable of doing , when, in fact it often turns out that it was only a preparation for the next challenge we are about to face. I still think about sometimes how incredible happy I was when I was accepted to start my MA Politics degree at the University of Edinburgh. It seemed like the most impossible task, when I was sitting by myself in our flat in Dublin, with stacks of brochures around me (this is when people still printed, sent and read brochures as supposed to browse on-line.. THAT long time ago!) reading the instructions of “how to apply to UCAS” and no-one around me to ask, since the system was different in Ireland, and nothing like the system in Sweden, and no one had a clue of how to go about it! However, somehow, I managed!
After first had been refused by all the departments I applied to, when the Politics department had received my additional letter (with various superfluous information about me and my background, experiences and yet another letter..), they reconsidered, and sent me an email saying that they were giving me an unconditional offer to start the MA degree in the fall.
This email I received by the end of the St Patrick’s day celebration (in Dublin and around Ireland, St Patricks day, or Paddy’s day as “we” say is no longer just One day but have turned into a long weekend of fun and frolic. Like the Irish version of the carnaval!) I had been working hard during the long weekend, and partied as hard every night. So there I was, tired from work and hangover from the weekend of celebrations, I’d been working on no sleep, yet, still the body buzzing of too much red bull (and vodka!). I read the email in the middle of the night after my shift in an internet cafe (..as I already mentioned, it was THAT long time ago!!). I got soo happy, no beyond happy, ecstatic rather, that I RAN all the way home to our house a good few kilometers outside of the center, in a skirt and working shoes, through a sleeping Dublin in the middle of the night. However I could not contain myself, I was sooo happy and excited, and undeniable the red bull was still running through my system.. So there I was, running like a mad woman all the way home to our house a couple of kilometers outside Dublin, to wake my friend up to tell her the amazing news! (I imagine that she was kinda surprised when I woke her up, in the middle of the night, sweaty from my running “Jody Jody!! They have reconsidered or something like that, I have received an unconditional offer!!!! What does reconsider mean anyway by the way..?”). What I remember so clearly, was the next day, I was alone in the flat, and so incredible happy that I danced around to Bob Marley and cried of happiness and thought to myself that “This is the BIGGEST thing I have ever done!!”
..how little did I know..
If it was difficult to get in, how on earth did I think it would be to COMPLETE the degree??However, I didn’t think about that then and it would have been no point of killing my joy in that moment anyway. Thankfully, I did not even consider that it might be hard or difficult to complete the degree (come on, I was 21! Of course I associated University more with student discounts and 2-for-1 drinks than long hours in the library..!). I was in that moment saved from the blessing of worrying about what was about to come and what challenges I had to meet by starting and completing that degree.
“Meet the challenges in here with joy. Everything in here is a practice for the Real Life and what if you can meet all challenges with joy..?” Denise suggests while a few people are already down on their mats, done with the challenges she is offering.
Of course she is right (again..!). Just like in Dublin, there is no point of worrying about how hard the next thing will be, better to stay present and meet the challenges with joy and as-positive-attitude-as-possible. On and off the yoga mats.. And even though I found completing my degree in a foreign language and a new country very difficult at many points, I managed to do it. Every time it was possible to rise up to the new challenges I was presented with.
“Anyway, it is just yoga. Do not take any of this too serious!”
Even that, just like life.. do not take any of this too serious.. We are better to stay happy or content in the moment than knowing, or fearing, that the next chapter or challenge will be more difficult than our current situation. That, my friends, I believe serve us no good. At all.
Thank you for listening and have a wonderful day where ever you are!