“Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins:
Sometimes, I am very goal-oriented with my yoga practice: entering the full expression of a particular pose, working a muscle group to its limit, creating a specific mindset. In balance, this is not a bad thing.
But sometimes I am so focused on wanting a specific result that I miss out on the exhilaration purely from experiencing my practice. It can feel really good to get in the rhythm of a flow or to hang out in a resting pose even when I could do more or to try balancing in half moon even when the odds overwhelmingly favor me toppling over. And it’s okay — beneficial, therapeutic, even — to just experience that and to love it for what it is.
Similarly, in life off the mat, I’m at that point in the school year, where the students think they’re done, only they’re… not… yet. And so, I will say, when faced with the student who tried to ditch my class by hiding in the library only to discover that class was going to the library, the finest reaction for me as a teacher was not to get angry about it (which I didn’t) but to enjoy the hell out of it (which I did), mark her late, and say, “Here’s what you should be working on and what you missed.” No Valuable Life Lesson was going to come from attaching myself to anger, but laughter moved the situation into something productive for both of us.
It’s okay to notice you’re whizzing away on water skis and to wave to yourself on shore.