Monday, January 18, 2016

On Entitlement

It can be really hard to sit patiently with your efforts, and not get fixated on the results.

This is what yoga asks us to do, but our society is largely driven by the idea that efforts=results, that if you work hard, you 'deserve' the fruits of your efforts. (Hey, capitalism!) This isn't a terrible equation; after all, sometimes, it's true. But it's usually a profoundly unhelpful one.

A lot of people try to turn it around like an algebra equation, solving for X in a way that doesn't help anyone:


No results=no effort.

In other words, poor people are lazy people who are getting what they deserve. Black people are still struggling because of their 'thug culture', women just don't WANT to be in leadership positions as much as men do, trans people are choosing to alienate 'normal' people with their 'alternative lifestyle' etc. etc. etc...

And that's just one part of why yoga teaches us to look at that equation differently:

efforts =/= results

Which is not the same as saying that you aren't entitled to human rights: clean water (looking at you, Michigan. WTF?), healthcare, food, shelter, etc. If we want to claim the title of 'civilized', if we want to say that we live in a society with values (to say nothing of that nebulous concept, 'Christian values'), then those are the human rights that we need to be striving to provide to each and every human being regardless of their efforts.

Because efforts, and the fruits of those efforts share only a very tenuous relation in the best of circumstances, but this is incredibly true in our deeply flawed world full of systematic oppression.

Anyway, this isn't actually what I planned on talking about today; its just what came out. I actually wanted to talk about I've been putting in the effort, working my ass off, unsure if anything was happening, and doing my damnedest to not worry if anything was happening, for months. For years.

I could see what I wanted to look like in the incredible aerialists around me. And I could see that I did not look like that. But all my work wasn't moving me from point A to point B

It finally clicked that I needed help. I looked for the best, I found it, and lo and less than six months my movement quality had changed so much that people don't recognize that its the same person in both sets of videos.

I could have kept right on efforting, letting go of the results, forEVER and gotten nowhere. 

So lesson 1: Feeling entitled to the results is not the same thing as trying different kinds of efforting to help you get them. It wouldn't have made me more noble, or more yogic, to keep up the same shit that wasn't working for another few years before giving up on my dreams for good.

lesson 2: ASK FOR HELP! Don't hesitate to pay for that help if thats an option. A friend or mentor can help you out over tea or lunch, sure, but if you're paying someone for their no-how, they are focused on you, and you will get what you need.

lesson 3: Don't ask for help by wailing, "Heeeeeelp!!!" pathetically. Do some of the leg work yourself. Figure out what those missing pieces are, and ask the right sources for those missing pieces. Or ask the right sources to help you pinpoint your missing pieces. Then ask the right sources for those missing pieces.

lesson 4: This is a privileged thing to say. I know that. But if you are privileged enough to have financial leverage, don't be cheap. Time is money. Experience and expertise are pearls beyond price. And also use your privilege to fight systematic oppression. Please and thank you. If you are not, bartering skills may be a great option for you! Don't hesitate to ASK (see lesson 2). All anyone can say is no.

I leave you with this. My performance from late July (there is a lot of fun nonsense in the beginning; feel free to skip to 1:20), and a snippet from my performance from yesterday. I don't know what your journey looks like. I don't know if the lessons I learned will be beneficial to you. I'm definitely not saying that doing this stuff will results in results. After all, you're not entitled to those. But, I'm confident that these lessons can't hurt, that if they don't help a bit, they may at least get you thinking about your journey in a new way, and all kinds of things could come of that.

I'm not entitled to my results...but I'm sure as hell celebrating them! (with Farmer's Market spicy brownies!!! :-D)

Live Omily,

1 comment:

  1. Well, a big nod to you in achieving results and helping your blog readers to understand what you are imparting! I am in awe of pretty much everything you do so I will take your advice and intend I get results from what you shared.