Unfortunately, I'm setting myself up to fail. This is a tiny little conversation in Peace is Every Step, a book by the aforementioned Thich Nhat Hanh, that caught my attention:
[A]n artist asked me, "What is the way to look at a flower so that I can make the most of it for my art?" I said, "If you look in that way, you cannot be in touch with the flower. Abandon all your projects so you can be with the flower with no intention of exploiting it or getting something from it."I literally heard sirens in my head yelling, "Pay attention! Pay attention!" and had to reread it a few more times. While thinking about it, I realized I was doing it all wrong. That is, I was doing life all wrong. An intention is assigned to nearly everything I do, experience, or want in life. Nearly, because here are few things that have no ulterior motive: like loving people. I love my boyfriend, my family, and my friends all in specific ways and for no reason other than just to love them. Of course, I'd like to be loved back and I'm sure I am but I'm not going to tell them how much I want or how I'd like it. I just let it happen. It's easy for me to do. I don't know why. I haven't been hurt so perhaps that's why I can love in such a blind and simple way.
But when I do yoga or go for a walk outside, I'm looking for the benefits- flatter abs or to be all skinny and pretty. Why can't I just go for a walk? Must there be a reason? I kept catching myself at various points in Peace is Every Step thinking, "Oh, I should definitely write a blog for that. And that. And that." and I had to remind myself, I'm reading this for me, not for some internet fodder. When I try to meditate, I go in thinking, "How is this going to make me better?" or "How is this going to cure what ails me." and nearly every time, I emerge frustrated. No wonder it hasn't been working for me.
Hidden agendas pretty much never end well. I've seen people, myself included, taken advantage of. Friends and loved ones get hurt. Things don't work out. Nobody is happy in the end. When I do a yoga session and I don't achieve what I expect, I'm not thrilled and that affects me for the rest of the day. Instead, I could've just have been enjoying my session, being grateful my body can even move and do what I ask of it. Those little things would've put me in a good mood for the rest of the day, but instead, I'm irritated because I didn't meet the standard I set.
I need to take a step back and re-evaluate my journey. There is an end goal, and it's not wrong to have. After all, I need a direction in which to focus myself and my energy. But I also need to let go of all my expectations and my intentions and just let the journey take me where it will. Inner peace will never be achieved if I'm constantly disappointing myself and losing sight of my real goal. My goal not to be skinny and pretty (though that'd be nice) and it's not to have something to write about on this blog (though I'll keep doing that,) but it's to finally accept myself and live in harmony with my spirit, the earth, and the people on it.