As I settled onto my mat at a new yoga studio, I looked around realizing that I was one of only three people in class. This was very different than the previous yoga studio I had been to (which could have more accurately been called a yoga factory), in which they would pack in as many people as possible, to the point where I spent the whole class worrying about kicking someone or falling over on top of them, and wondering whether that sweat I felt dripping was actually my own.
Two thoughts came quickly in succession as I sat there in this new, wide open space:
1.) Holy crap this is awesome!
2.) But if they only have three people in class, maybe they aren’t going to make enough money to stay open and then they are going to close and then I won’t have this yoga class anymore.
My forward-thinking, preparation-based mind was kicking in…but not in a good way.
As I caught myself spiraling into negative future predictions, it got me thinking about preparation, and when thinking about potential future outcomes is a good thing and when it becomes limiting.
I think it comes down to this: preparing for potential future events and outcomes is helpful when that preparation helps keep the door of possibility open. It’s good to keep a few bandaids, tissues, and a granola bar in your bag, because when you get a blister, get a runny nose, or get a bit hungry, you won’t have to stop what you’re doing to deal with a problem that could have easily been prevented. Preparation served to help keep the door to the present moment open and it enables you to have more enjoy it even more (instead of thinking about that blister on your foot).
On the other hand, when preparing for the future becomes centered around fear and anxiety – worrying that the yoga studio is going to close when there is no indication that it will – that type of preparation closes the door to being fully present. You are already living in the land of defeat, already experiencing and feeling what you fear will happen before it has even had a chance to happen yet.
The first method of preparation leaves you open to fully enjoy the present moment, and the second causes the door to the present moment to be shut.