Week of October 2, 2011:
Pardon me for a moment, as I go out of chronological order with my posts. I’d like to talk about yoga today, specifically last night’s yoga.
Yesterday was not a great day for me. It wasn’t an awful, out-of-control day, but it was one of those days when I felt like I was doing work that doesn’t matter, regulatory paper-pushing work so that someone else could put a checkmark in a box that I had fulfilled XYZ state-mandated task. A wiser person would just get this stuff done and move on with her life, but paper-pushing almost always puts me a bad mood. I acted on that bad mood, sending a tart e-mail to someone and (in a separate incident) making a joke that was in poor taste, which I immediately regretted.
I realized that my behavior yesterday was anything but professional. Or maybe a better way to put it was that it wasn’t classy. When I think about how I want people to perceive me, professional is the lowest rung, but what I really want people to say is, “She’s a class act.” Classy implies professional, but it’s more than that: it’s a certain kind of warmth and kindness and intelligence, on top of being professional. Classy people are the kind of people who make you feel good about yourself and what you do.
Last night, I was thinking about all of this while I was on my mat, right before bed. I felt bad about my day. I felt bad about how I can’t seem to rise above some of the petty expectations that I must meet. I laid in child’s pose, and I had an epiphany: I must forgive myself. If I’m going to do a better job tomorrow, I must forgive myself for today so that I can move on and be classy tomorrow.
And so I did: I forgave. And today I’m feeling much improved and more determined than ever to be the kind of classy person I admire. This is why I love yoga: because it continues to inspire me to be the best person I can be. It doesn’t turn me away because I have failed, but it gives me a chance to make things better. Perhaps yoga itself is the classiest example of all: accept yourself as you are, and keep striving to be better at your practice. Both endeavors are worthy of your efforts, if you can wrap your mind around the paradox.