As I lunge forward into downward dog, I scan the crowd behind me to see who actually has their heels down. And then I think, “Sierra, get your eyes on your own mat.” I retract them back to my pose and take a deep breath in. I think about how I am doing alright, and it doesn’t matter what everyone has going on.
I always thought this a metaphor for my life in general. “Sierra, keep your eyes on your own mat.” Don’t compare yourself to other athletes, other professionals, other parents, other women. Just look at you.
But my eyes do drift. I may not want to be the best at whatever role I am in, but I at least want to know I can hang. “What does that even matter?” I wonder.
I have been a novice swimmer since I hit the pool on my middle school swim team in 5th grade. Yep, where I grew up, 5th grade was in middle school. Needless to say, I wasn’t very good. I tried and eventually retired the Speedo but have picked it up throughout my life, certainly a different size, and have used swim as recreational exercise.
Now when I am in the pool, I know I can’t hang with the pros. Sometimes I catch a glimpse so I can better understand how to swim or watch how gracefully others move through the water. I never feel competitive, just humbled. I trudge along.
Does it pay to look at what others are doing? Maybe. From looking at others, there are some benefits. I can gain a better sense of how I might like to do things. I can see I might be doing just fine or even better than some. I can also look at how I might like to change or challenge myself.
I think there is a distinction to be made of when it is OK to look around, and it lies in our motive. Am I looking around to better myself or to put others or myself down? Am I looking around so I can judge or so I can challenge myself? Maybe push myself to do things I didn’t think were possible. Not with animosity or negativity but with genuine heart. This distinction can be hard to determine as there can be many layers as to why we do what we do.
All I know is it feels better, whether I am on the yoga mat or in the pool, and I am truley focused on me. When I am not competing with anyone but myself to be just who I need to be for that day. The strong athlete or the soft woman or maybe even a bit of both.
Maybe its time for you to keep your eyes on your own mat. Be an observer of yourself. What does it feel like when you focus on you and not what everyone else is doing? What happens when you don’t compete or compare?
Remember, being you just as you are is good enough. Namaste.