Prior to speaking at the women’s entrepreneurial event a few weeks back I attended a yoga class with the incredible Nicolas of Brahman Yoga in Harlem. I’ll admit, I’m a yoga snob, having taught it for a few years, and studied it in India. But Nicolas is infamous for his inventive flow and measured pace, which was the perfect way to amp up and get control of my mind and breath before major events.
At the end of his class, he thanked everyone for showing up, and for bringing their ‘highest selves’ to class. I laughed thinking “highest self? That was not my highest self falling out of flipped-down-dog.”
But later, after class, I realized he was right. It’s not a perfect performance that indicates our highest self showed up. Our bodies and minds and hearts are still being trained, but it’s the highest self that asks all our working parts to keep showing up at the mat, to keep working, to try harder.
And that’s exactly what I said to the women in my speech. Thank you for bringing your highest self. Because even though it might not be your highest self performing in your day job every morning, or on the yoga mat, or in your relationships, its the highest self that’s showing up to keep learning and conditioning.
In that way, every time we work to better ourselves physically or emotionally is training. It’s all conditioning work to get our current selves to meet with our highest self.
Every little thing we do, from reading a book on how to improve our productivity to trying-and falling out of- a yoga pose to having an inspiring conversation with a friend or mentor.
As long as it pushes us toward our goal, it can be considered conditioning work, so that someday our conditioned, trained current selves will unite with our highest self.
This is especially true in work such as meditation. The first few tries are rough, and even seasoned practitioners don’t always get long periods of clarity. But it’s all training, it’s all practicing. It’s all getting us closer to our highest self so we can spend a little time there, and use what it has to say in our day-to-day actions.
The hardest part about working toward your highest self isn’t the conditioning itself. If you’re looking for it, inspiration is everywhere. It’s allowing the process to take place that’s hard. We live in a society in which, for some irrational reason, it’s embarrassing to be a novice. Some how we’ve built up the stigma that we need to be experts, not students. Which makes enjoying the process, especially in the beginning, all the more difficulty.
But as we’ve talked about before on HerAfter in this article, all you must do is allow yourself the beautiful opportunity to learn. To not be perfect. To not be an expert. Allow yourself the gift of time, the gift of being new to something (which is, ironically, a beautiful and rare sensation for most).
Allow yourself the opportunity to experience every part of the journey toward your best self.
It’s the steps of the journey that will matter most at the end of your life. Those are the moments you’ll be sharing with your grandkids about how to live well and move past obstacles.
It’s ok to be a beginner. Enjoy it.