Move A Little To The Left

I do yoga – not always well, but I do it (which I’m told is at least half, if not the whole point) – and my absolute favourite pose is tree pose. Tree pose is when you place the base of your foot on the inside of your thigh or calf on the other leg. Once in position, you breath and balance. The best way to keep your balance is to pick a focus point, aka your ‘drishti’. (I’m down with the lingo.) (OK, yes, I Googled it.)

I also have a favourite mat ‘spot’ at my local yoga studio in Manly. It’s three-from-the-wall in the front corner, facing the windows (I’m very Sheldon-esque about it*). When I’m doing tree pose in my spot, I always focus on the same thing out the window: the pink WiFi signal sign attached to the telephone box.

But last week I noticed something that I never had before. Maybe I’ve subconsciously been aware of it, but this time I took notice. (Yoga teaches you about being ‘present’ so I can only assume that those messages are actually sinking in to my sweaty brain ‒ I sweat a lot during yoga.)

So there I was doing tree pose in my spot – and loving it, I might add – and I noticed that when I do the pose on my right leg (so with my left foot against my thigh), I can see the pink WiFi signal sign. BUT I can’t actually see the telephone box at all. So I focus on that pink WiFi signal sign, and I mean really focus on it. And while it enables me to balance, I essentially ignore everything else around me. Then when it’s time to do my left leg, suddenly my whole view changes. I don’t just see the pink WiFi signal sign, I see the whole Telstra telephone box. I’ve barely moved ‒ I’ve just changed feet and moved slightly to the left – yet suddenly my perspective has completely changed.

It made me wonder if this was a living analogy for my life sometimes. Are there things I’m focusing on so intensely that I’m missing the bigger picture?

When it comes to our perception of our lives, relationships and current situations, sometimes we get caught up on one small element that we can’t see anything else. We’re so focused on one small thing and we’re letting it derail everything. But if we just changed feet it would move us ever so slightly to the left, and we might find our perspective is completely different.

I recently found out there’s going to be changes to my (day) job. Changes that I don’t think are ideal and that I’m not particularly happy about. And while it isn’t exactly what I wanted, I have been offered a job and the team at work have done all they can to make sure I feel valued. But I’m annoyed damnit! It hasn’t gone my way so I want to rant, and moan say the same thing 1,000 times. So what have I focused on the past week? The fact that things haven’t gone my way, and that I’m soooo hard done by that I’ve been offered another job and made to feel really valued. Yes, I realise what I just said. And yes, I AM ridiculous with a capital R. (I’m also dramatic and available for children’s parties.)

But when my boyfriend told me to get a grip – more than once, and one of those times not as politely – I realised that I was only looking at the pink WiFI signal sign, and missing the whole Telstra telephone box.

I’m lucky to be employed, and rather than being frustrated that it’s not the opportunity I want, I should make the most of the opportunity that’s in front of me, because I still have a lot to learn. I had got caught up focusing on one element that I didn’t take in the whole picture. I needed to change feet.

It can be hard to recognise. When situations are tough, and you’re feeling angry, disappointed and overwhelmed, you’re often just trying to keep your balance. And because you’re trying so hard to balance, you focus on one thing to stop yourself toppling over, but it’s making you miss the bigger picture.

However, when you do recognise it, changing feet actually isn’t very hard. Moving a little to the left is only a very small thing to do – but it has a big impact.

There is one other vital element to tree pose that keeps you steady: breath. You have to remember to breathe. (That’s in, out, in, out in case your new to the whole breathing thing.)

We approach situations with our own bias, perspective and emotions so it’s hard not to focus on the one thing that affects us, and forget everything else. But what would happen if you looked at your situation from a another perspective? If you looked at the entire picture, rather than the one small thing that you think keeps you balanced?

It’s important to add that if you looked at the whole picture in tree pose, you would fall down. But there’s a reason you do the pose on both feet – it moves you a little to the left.

So ask yourself: what would happen to your perspective if you simple swapped feet?

*Big Bang Theory joke