Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Do you really wish you were 20 again? STOP IT!

As I wrote this post, a commercial came on the television about a woman who was so excited to be able to fit back in to her “high school skinny jeans”. REALLY? MY POINT EXACTLY!

“I wish I was 20 again; I used to be able to do the splits”. That is how the conversation started. One of my yoga students was bemoaning the fact that she was unable to do things she did when she was a teenager. “I just want to get back to where I was when I was 20”. This “mantra” permeated her ideas of health and wellness.

Isn’t this idea universally expressed in our society? We glamorize and idealize our past selves and then mourn the loss of what we identify as our best selves. STOP IT!

In yoga, there is a teaching known as “Aparigraha”. A simple definition of Aparigraha is: Non-coveting/Non-attachment, especially through jealousy of others’ talents and abilities or the inability to let go of emotions, judgments and history.

The idea of Aparigraha is not to be detached and unemotional or to never notice things about other people which we admire. Rather, it is the idea of being always in the present moment and letting go of the strangle-hold we have on the past or on our desire to be like others to the exclusion of our own talents and abilities.

Putting aside this idea as it applies to others, ask yourself this question: Are you so attached to your past self that you ignore the amazing reality of your current existence? Do you covet your past self?

Do you find yourself expressing a wish to be as strong, flexible, skinny, pretty, tan, rich, spontaneous, fun as you used to be? Is your present life consumed with coveting and holding on to the past? AGAIN, STOP IT!

Have you ever noticed that the most interesting and comfortable people to be around are those who are truly engaged in life now. They are actively living and enjoying today! Does this mean they never remember the past? No, but they are not continually living in the past. BE THAT KIND OF PERSON!

Here are some questions to help identify our attachments and areas of self-coveting:

1. Do I wish I could have my past self here today?

2. Do I spend time remembering and speaking about things I used to be able to do and wishing I could do them today?

3. Do I remind others about who they used to be and express my wish for them to be that person today?

4. Do I feel that my best self lies somewhere in my past self?

5. Do I regularly complain about the effects of time and age?

Can you see how this falls into the category of coveting? Wow, doesn’t this bring a new dimension to this idea? So, let’s challenge ourselves to let go of self-coveting and we may be amazed at how vibrant and abundant NOW really is!


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