It is the lack of control that frightens me.
In yoga terminology, I believed I had a rajasic mind – an overstimulated body, unable to keep still, and an anxious mind. I have never thought of myself as a perfectionist. But over time, I realize my need to establish structure and stability has heightened over the course of adulthood. Maybe for a long time, I have decided I have been cruising through life too much – lost in life at 19; the I-woke-up-one-day-and-decided-to-fly-to-Australia-for-two-years-with-a-student-loan decision because I thought leaving was the best solution to a happier life; the trip to the grocery store one day, with a budget of 20 dollars, felt like crap and walked in to get a job at a café. Those days, I drank too much coffee, to keep my body physically capable to do everything I thought I had to do.
There were also days I felt moody and lethargic, having a tamasic behaviour, causing me to make impulsive decisions, like waking up one day and telling my partner I’m taking a solo trip because I needed to be alone. Those days were the worst, because they were the days I lack purpose, demotivated to chase a shining future. I ate badly and lived on ready-to-eat food. I smoked and drank too much, thinking that the 5 minutes that cigarette will last is the 5 minutes my mind could be at peace.
Shifting from the two extremes was exhausting, not only for me, but also for the people around me, particularly family who couldn’t cope with the stubbornness, my then-partner, who had to live with my impulsive decisions and irrational moods. After a while, with all the hasty decisions and carelessness, I made a commitment to settle for something, for anything.
I made a conscious decision to settle on a career and to stay in Singapore. Being in one place allowed me the space to try new things for a longer duration of time. In my quest to find myself, I found yoga. For a long time finally, I felt I had composure.
I began my quest to eat more sattvic food, partly to lose weight so I can work on my asanas, but as I went along, I also began feeling healthier, more energetic and focused. I slowly transitioned towards cooking more. As much as I can, I avoided processed food, even bread and crackers, even if they were wholegrains, but I ate small portions of brown rice. I couldn’t avoid meat altogether but I switched to white meat and fish. I snacked with nuts, not on chocolates (though I snacked on 90% dark chocolate).
Suddenly, with the choice to progress and grow, I realised that the control I was searching for was within myself.
I cannot alter my external surrounding, I cannot will people for approval, my partner’s loyalty – in short, I cannot demand certain outcomes. That is the challenging part, isn’t it – accepting that some things are beyond dominance.
And with that, I leaned back on my office chair and drank my chamomile tea in big gulps. I then left the office much earlier than usual. I met a friend and had some good laughs, and made one conscious decision;
This time, I will breathe and let go.