Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.
My foot is crooked & tucked on top of the opposite knee.
My knuckles are pressed into the floor.
My nose? Grazing my shin.
Resistance burns in my belly.
My thoughts turn (as they so often do) to thoughts of cornmeal-blueberry pancakes & maple syrup — which I’ll soon be enjoying, once this ‘ordeal’ is over.
Just another Saturday morning yoga class.
The teacher — a rail-thin yogi with ginger hair & a soft-spoken timbre — makes a gentle announcement.
“If you’d like to take the pose a bit further, here is the next option.”
He gracefully tilts into a masterful arm balance that I’m sure must be called “Boneless Levitating Pigeon Pose” — nonchalantly defying (by my count) all three of Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion.
Beams of enlightenment radiate from his crown.
Somewhere, a choir of angels sings in perfect harmony.
The class falls (even more) silent than usual. The collective sentiment? “Um, that looks hard. Not in this lifetime, dude-friend.”
The teacher unravels himself with ease, noting:
“The pose I just demonstrated is a wonderful challenge — something to work towards, if it calls to you.”
A nearly-imperceptible smile crosses his face.
“Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.”
Oh right. Not required for happiness. Optional, encouraged, impressive — but ultimately, un-mandatory.
Forgot about that.
My mind immediately starts racing (I know, how un-yogi of me! somebody slap me with a patchouli stick!) to all of my other lofty ambitions that are “not required for happiness.”
“I’d sure love to hit 5,000 mailing list subscribers & 7,000 Twitter followers by June. Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.”
“Damn, it’d be amazing if both of the books I’m launching this fall become instant bestsellers. Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.”
“I should really start drinking cold-pressed kale juice every morning. I’ve heard it’s, like, the thing to do. Oh wait … Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.”
Once you start thinking about it, it’s incredible how many of our focal points are, ultimately, “not required for happiness.”
And once you filter out all of the “not required’s” — what’s left?
Everything one might suspect: food, sleep, H20, intimacy, touch, sunlight, moonlight, music, a little bit of mystery & magic. OK, fine — and high-speed wifi.
I’ve spent the last week releasing a few of the most tiresome “not required’s” from my to-do list, inbox & mind. (And let me tell you, there’s no discernible downside.)
Now, it’s your turn.
Fill in the blank (and breathe a siiiiigh of relief):
“It’d be really amazing if I could __________________. Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.”
Annnnnd … go.