You know how sometimes you're in front of the fridge door, rummaging through the shelves, trying to find leftovers from last night, and it's taking way longer than you want? The fridge door starts to beep, having been opened for so long, and your stomach is growling, "Feed me!" And then: Just as you're about to give up and close the door, you glance straight ahead once more and see the container of leftovers, sitting RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.
That's me. Literally all the time. Right before summer ended, I experienced this awakening feeling on a more spiritual level.
My mom was asking about my extracurricular activities at school, and I elaborated how most of my free time last spring had been spent with two main clubs in addition to my on-campus job. She asked how many hours per week I worked. I told her 7.5 hours, however, this was "barely anything." Most of my friends work 10-12 hours per week, and I even know some people who work the maximum of 19 hours per week. My mom shook her head and said what I was working was enough. And that's when the "aha" moment finally clicked.
During Yoga Teacher Training, we read "The Bhagavad Gita," a sacred text in Hinduism that outlines the path to yoga. One famous line and piece of advice that charioteer Krishna gives to prince Arjuna during battle is how "It is better to do one man's practice imperfectly than to do another man's well."
We live in a world where more is always better. The more hours you work, the more hardworking you are. The more money you make, the richer and happier you'll be. The more you study, the smarter you are. Etc, etc, etc. More is always applauded, congratulated. It signifies achievement and accomplishments. You're President of two clubs but also heavily involved with a smorgasbord of others, you have straight A's, you have a job, you volunteer on weekends, AND you're in a committed relationship? How do you do it all?!
Having the conversation with my mom made me connect yoga philosophy to my everyday life in a transformative way. For weeks, I had been studying and practicing yoga, but this was a turning point that made me realize how I need to stop comparing myself to others. That I am my own person with my own past and future.
Yoga celebrates individuality and is all about personal practice. Often yoga teachers will say during class that people should do whatever their body enables them to do that day. If your body is more flexible than last week, then yay! Good for you. But if it's sore and tired and you find yourself taking child's pose after every karma flow, then cheers to you for knowing what your body needs AND listening to it.
Today, you are enough. Yesterday, you were enough. And guess what? Tomorrow you'll be enough, too.
Working 7.5 hours per week was enough for me. As for my friends who work 12, 19, or even 5 hours per week? That's awesome. We must remember that we are all on our own journeys in life and it's not always a competition. Rather, success should be measured on an individual level.
My mom also stressed the importance of taking time for myself. Exercising and going to the gym, reading a book, relaxing. MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT, KIDDOS. I've always known this, but knowing something and practicing it are two different things.
As we start the second half of fall quarter, I want to keep this mindset in mind. I'd rather fail at my own achievements in life than try to replicate someone else's lifestyle and be their version of perfection. Because it's MI VIDA. Where I can renew, replenish, and begin again. Where at the end of the day, I am me. Failures and flaws. Mistakes and imperfections. It's called being a human. And whoever that may be, it's enough.