‘Laugh More, Worry Less’

People think Mondays are terrible. It’s the day you have to go back to work, it’s the start of a long week before another blissful two days where your responsibilities are to yourself, and not to your desk. Personally I love Mondays. There’s something really wonderful about starting a week over again, putting the past week behind you and looking ahead to wonderful things in the days to come. That’s not exactly the case this Monday though. I can’t figure out how I feel about this Monday, because it’s the last Monday before I start yoga teacher training (henceforth referred to as YTT), and that means it’s the first Monday of the next six weeks where, to an extent, I have no idea what to expect.

I’m a natural worrier, passed down from my grandmother and from Mama B, and shared with my sister. For many years, I think I relished my worrier status. It’s a lot easier to punish yourself than it is to feel a sense of pride in accomplishments sometimes, so even when I’d find myself in situations that didn’t require me to worry, I would let the anxiety that’s plagued me my entire life take over. Much of that started to change as yoga became more integrated into my life; first it was taking a few moments to breathe and stretch in the mornings and reset my brain before a day behind a desk, then I started doing yoga after work to quell the office anxiety that followed me home, and eventually yoga came into my daily life, breathing through moments that would normally make me crazy, removing my ego from negativity that would bubble up inside me when I found myself in situations I couldn’t control. It’s a huge reason I’ve been so adamant about getting certified to teach yoga: I want to deepen this practice within myself while simultaneously sharing what I’ve learned with other worriers who just need to learn how to breathe.

All this worry though, all these negative thoughts about whether I’m enough, whether I’m good enough, ready enough, strong enough to handle the next six weeks still hasn’t gone away. I’m nervous about this in the same way that I’m nervous about everything that’s going to happen in the next six, ten months; my mind is constantly on edge that something is going to tip the scales and it’s all going to come crashing down around me. It’s in these moments that it becomes difficult to breathe and simply live for the moment happening before it fades away. It’s in these moments I need yoga the most, and it’s in those moments lately that I’m beyond grateful I’ll have the chance to explore and deepen my life within yoga throughout the next six weeks and beyond.

Something that I’ve been working to grasp as I’ve gone through the Yoga Sutras ahead of Thursday is that everything is external. All the worry I have, all the joy, all the moments where I can’t shut my mind down are completely external from who I am and what I need. I don’t need to throw a tantrum because I lost my phone while drunk at an office party and I don’t need to make a rude facial expression at the person on the subway who pushes past me to grab a seat I didn’t want anyway. Everything around me and in me, the worry about whether I’m enough for YTT or where I’ll be when September is finally here, it’s all external, and I can control how I react to it if I know how to control my thoughts. I can choose to look at any situation as positive or negative, but after a lifetime of choosing the negative, controlling a stream of consciousness towards the positive is far easier said than done.

Bipolar Sunshine has a song, ‘Laugh More, Worry Less.’ that I listened to a few times this morning as my subway unexpectedly crawled along the local track from 175th street to 14th. Such simple words, but they’re such perfect words to live by this week and all the time. Laugh more, worry less. Remember to enjoy this moment because there will never be another one like it and you’ll never get to relive it again. It’s so easy to focus on the negative, and it’s so easy to distort things you can’t control into these huge problems that take over everything. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing your perspective on a situation, whether it’s a Monday morning or whether it’s the next six weeks of the rest of your life. If I can learn to love Mondays over time, I can learn to breathe in the moments this week where it feels impossible that something I’ve been dreaming of for nearly a year is finally here.

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