Several weeks ago, I agreed to sub a class for a friend who couldn’t teach on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. On Friday at some point, I realized that I had agreed to sub a morning class that was taking place right in the middle of Georgia’s marathon, literally. The studio I was teaching at was in the center of the race course. Being the over-planner that I am, naturally I printed out the course map, the road closure list, and sat down with my dear friend Google Maps to figure out how the heck I was going to get to the studio.
Sunday morning, plan in hand, I left my house two hours before class time just to be safe and headed out to take quite possibly the most convoluted journey to the studio that has ever been concocted. Feeling crafty and oh-so-pleased with myself, I cruised along enjoying the sunrise and looking forward to getting my practice in at the empty studio before class started. And, then my clever glee came crashing into the dashboard as I saw the sea of runners completely blocking the ONE ROAD I needed to cross to get to the studio. Hmmmm. No panic. I’ll just try another route. And another. Another. One hour later, I am intimately familiar with many Intown neighborhoods but no closer to the studio. Time to throw all that yoga out the window and panic.
I call the friend that I’m supposed to be subbing for; I call the studio owner. “Cancel class. I can’t get there. I tried everything.” Defeated, I start to head back home going over what I could have done differently. Then, I realized that I hadn’t actually tried “everything”; I hadn’t tried the route I normally take to the studio. I had just ruled that route out as an obvious disaster. Cutting right through Midtown? Across Ponce? Please, that route can be a disaster at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday not to mention in the middle of a race with thousands of people. But, not wanting to leave any stones unturned, I turned the car towards Midtown and headed down the roads of my auto-pilot route. Did I make it to the studio? Um, yeah. In all of about 15 minutes. “ARE YOU FRICKIN’ KIDDING ME?!” I shouted silently in my head. Calmly I dialed the studio owner, “hi, this is your very calm, zen yoga teacher calling to say that I did indeed make it to the studio. No need to cancel class.” Tail properly between the legs now.
I walked into the studio, lit some incense, opened the curtains to let the light flow in, and sat down to breath for a few minutes before folks started to arrive for class. I wanted to practice but Irony was taking up too much room on my mat. I mean if Alanis had been in my car that song would have way different lyrics. If I had just let go of my need to be over-planned, over-prepared I would have gotten into my car 30 minutes before class, driven my normal route and arrived in plenty of time to teach. Instead, because of my great expectations I had created a disaster out of nothing.
And this wasn’t the first time I had done this. In fact, I did this a lot. I fretted and expected and stressed over things that turned out to be nothing. Mountains out of molehills, right?
So, Sunday I shared with my little class of yogis this idea of letting go of expectation. The idea of just letting the situation be whatever it needs to be without labels. Without words or story around it, most of what we experience is just that – experience. Not good; not bad; not a mountain; not a molehill. Just the path we travel.
I’m sending my lyrics to Alanis.