Majority of us prefer to think that we are flexible (and adaptable). If we read about future workplaces and professions it is usually emphasized in bold – the future will require flexibility and change. “Ok, I am in”!
I must admit, I also think of myself as flexible.
I like the idea of being flexible. I like thinking about positive sides of it – it will drive me to new experiences, new learnings, new adventures and new opportunities. Everything I like and long for in my mind.
As I spend a lot of time in London now, I have to rearrange my life. To adapt. No problem, I am flexible! One morning I was walking home from yoga class, which had been very different from the ones I am used to have in Vilnius. My mind was busy comparing how it is here and how it was there. All of a sudden I felt something. I felt irritated as it was different. It felt “not the right yoga”! I wanted it to be the same! As it takes a while to walk, I was enjoying the sun and “walking through my anxiety”. The obvious fact was that if I would start yoga in London in my life, it would feel ok. London yoga would be “the usual experience”, my normal. Vilnius yoga would be “not right” then. I was walking and thinking more. Why it is unpleasant? Am I really flexible?
I still hope I am 🙂
But I faced the shadow side of flexibility:
I had to face uncertainty – I was going to the class without any knowledge. I had to make new social bonds. This requires energy. I didn’t know if I would be accepted socially
It required new ways of behaviour – oh god…
I had to deal with shame – I felt pretty good and “competent” in Vilnius. I had to face my “incompetence” in London, as I didn’t know how things worked here. I was struggling to do it the way it is done.
I had to change my mental map of what is a yoga experience. I was comparing. What was not getting into usual shape, was blinking with “error” message.
I had to deal with anger, as the teachers “were not doing it right”. It was easier to project my incompetence onto teachers instead of facing my own.
There is a “price” of being flexible. Worth paying for, of course. This it made me think, how many times we do not pay this price: becasue learning new seems to be too hard. How many times do we chose to come back to yoga we are used to, instead of taming a new one? Shame, uncertainty, incompetence and unlearning are not the most easy feelings to cope with. They are normal valuable part of us changing.
We all like idea of being flexible.
But do we take time to reflect of how much we really are?