I had an evening of karaoke with friends this past weekend. It was fun — we rented a room for three hours, had some drinks, jostled to look up random songs and shamelessly broke into each others’ renditions whenever we felt like it.
My husband is the one who organizes our karaoke nights and he is very dedicated: he has a list of songs, listens to them on the subway, and eventually sings them with ease and gusto.
Me, preparing…not so much. I show up on the night of with no idea what to sing, blanking on all my favorite songs and not knowing any lyrics. This past weekend, in order to combat our nerves, my friend and I stormed the room before anyone else showed up, locked the door, loaded the first song we could find (Abba’s Dancing Queen) and belted into the microphones like there was no tomorrow. I am under no illusion that my singing was particularly enchanting, nor my dance moves particularly smooth, but I had fun! We had fun!
Not so mature, you might think. Well, this is where you are wrong. To me this is incredibly mature behavior! You see, I spent the first half of my life wanting to be flawless and perfect, thinking that people would only like me that way. I would not do anything I wasn’t already perfect at, which meant that I didn’t really do much at all. My skiing was decent, my language skills were better than most, and I trusted my brain/braininess to be up to par. Everything else, especially any physical expression of myself, I didn’t trust or care to share. I didn’t run for the bus because I might still miss it, and someone could see me fail. I didn’t play frisbee or ball or badminton, didn’t dance or sing or climb over fences.
That is why my karaoke evening shows how far I have come, and I am glad because limiting myself to 3 things I do well is so much less fulfilling than being allowed to do all kinds of things regardless of outcome.
What’s that to do with yoga?! Well, yoga was the tool 15+ years ago that started to pull me out of my disengagement and let me connect to all parts of me, flawed or not. Yoga taught me to engage in the process rather than the result. In yoga I learned that it didn’t matter what everyone else on their mat was doing or thinking, what matters is my actions on my mat and what I make of that.