Beware of Having Preferences
Recently, I was given the opportunity to begin a yoga program at a mixed-martial arts gym. Excited as I was to have this chance to jump-start my dream of owning my own yoga studio/meditation hall, it has been a real struggle to get people to come to my classes. Let's be honest - Covid-19 isn't helping matters. I know many of the students who would be coming to my classes are staying at home with their kids to homeschool them during the pandemic. Plus, people are struggling financially and, although yoga and other forms of self-care are needed now more than ever, most people are not willing to chuck money at anything that may be deemed unnecessary. But I think the main issue is I don't have the marketing know-how to get the word out. Let's just say I am learning as I go.
That gets me to this: Reality rarely, if ever, meets expectations. In the kitchen of Southern Dharma Retreat Center in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, retreaters doing their silent meditation task of washing dishes or cutting veggies can look up and read a sign, seemingly hung a long time ago, that reads: "When I have no preferences, I am never disappointed." Although the first time I read the sign, it gave me an "ah, yes" moment, time and time again I find myself caught up in being disappointed, frustrated, annoyed, or ticked off when my expectations, the stories my mind tells me about what the future is supposed to look like, do not resemble the reality in front of me. This is called suffering and we do it to ourselves all the time.
My expectations, or the stories my mind told me, about how amazing and successful my yoga program was going to be (right out of the gate) have caused me unnecessary suffering because reality is what it is. Accepting reality, being aware of when my preferences are causing me suffering, continuing to learn the yoga studio business, and making space for it all is my "work" now.