Flip your world upside down
“Rock, paper, scissors... Shoot!”
This was the backseat commentary I overheard while driving through the streets of suburbia yesterday. My four year old daughter, Lennon, was having a grand ol’ time playing her new favorite game in the back seat...while losing over and over again. Rock-paper-scissors is a serious game of competition, chance and bragging rights and one which she was getting a little frustrated with on a consistent losing streak.
At the next stop light I peeked back to see how my three year old son was seemingly dominating this RPS battle. Nope. He was passed out cold, loudly snoring with his head tipped back in his car seat.
Curious, I asked her, “Lennon, who are you playing rock paper scissor with?”
She replied with her fake serious voice, “I’m playing by myself and I keep losing!!!”
I love these moments as a parent, because they are those brilliant flashes of wisdom, where you sound very intellectual and can actually make sense of the world in the midst of a four year old’s silliness. AKA - you have your shit together.
Puzzled by her logic and sporting my best all-knowing-mom smirk, I asked her “Lennon, how can you lose, if you’re playing against yourself? If you’re losing...who is winning?”
She smiled an equally mischievous smile in return and replied, “I am winning.”
In that moment, we both learned something. Maybe on different levels, but we got it.
You can’t lose if you are competing with yourself! Even in the times it feels like a loss, undeniably, it will always be win.
Sometimes in order to ‘get it’, you’ve got to flip your world completely upside down. You have to look from a different perspective and take cues from a child and the other subtle hints the universe offers you in these moments. The experiences that often feel like failures are actually a sign that we need to learn a lesson. Pay close attention.
When we spend so much of our time and energy trying to get to the next level or attain higher goals by comparing what our idea of success is versus other people, we will never feel fulfilled.
Think about a time when you finally got to a benchmark in your life -- but when you got there, you had the feeling of ‘wait, is that...it?” Were you expecting to experience the fulfillment that you perceived someone else was having when they got to that point? Kind of like seeing an ad in a magazine of someone having what seems like "the time of their life" on a trip. Then you go on that exact same trip because they hook, line, and sinkered you into believing it will change your life. Only to find out that it was a total rip off and not at all what you expected. You feel less than thrilled and rather pissed off that you fell for such a scam. THAT is exactly what happens when you compare your idea of success, happiness, or fulfillment to another persons. You are gonna be disappointed.
We put so many demands on ourselves to be where other people are at on their journey, because that is the way we have been programmed to believe that happiness is achieved. Per the example of the magazine ad...that is happening to us every.single.day. Every time you look at any kinds of media...that is their intention.
The most beautiful gift I have discovered that has made all of this a reality is my yoga practice. When I first stepped into a yoga studio, I was all excited to be there with my matching outfit and cool new yoga mat...but suddenly I got knocked straight down the totem pole -- both quick and fast with the realization I had a long way to go. Physically and mentally.
I’m stumbling around on my mat, trying to hold my big toe in front of me, while everyone around me is effortlessly swaying from one pose to the next. I thought about quitting, but then I listened.
Every word my teacher said in savasana (basically a yogi nap) resonated with me. Focus on you.
It is your practice and your journey. It’s the simple things that we struggle with. Focusing on what others are doing, then feeling defeated if we aren’t where they are. Focus only on what you are doing, your progress, and your victories. It’s a marvelous thing to be able to pat your own self on the back, laugh at your mistakes while finding joy in the lesson, and being in awe when you realize who you are.
Flip your world upside down, look at yourself from a new vantage point and learn everything you can from yourself. Even if you fall, even if you fail...you still win, because you are playing the game with yourself...and no one else.
Realizing this is what freedom feels like.
I’ll leave this quote right here from my savasana this morning. They always are perfectly perfect, be free my friends.
“We have a lot of educated people in our society. I just don’t know how many free people we have.” -Jim Palmer