Failing at Nirvana

Did you know that it’s hard looking stupid? Well there you go. If you didn’t know I have now informed you as such. Looking dumb, sucks. I try to avoid it at all costs. So this morning when I walked into a Yoga/Pilates fusion class carrying the confidence that I generally walk into a regular yoga class with I was unprepared. The pilates part used muscles that I put to sleep long ago. Yes, they likely needed to awaken but I forgot they were sleeping and they weren’t ok with me waking them up. It hurt.  I have no core strength and at one point the instructor had to stand next to me an hold me up so I didn’t face plant. She kept smiling and laughing and making jokes and talking to people during the class. This made me very angry. Everyone was having fun.

I was looking for a meditative experience. Peaceful and quiet. With breathing and slow movement. I began the day with the expectation that – “This will take me to the next level of experience and I will become enlightened.” I will then leave this space and enter into my work day with focus, clarity, and a glow that says “I am adulting effectively. I am two yoga sessions and a meditation away from frigging nirvana.”

You see, I have been on a bit of a journey of late. I am feeling spiritually deprived. Last week I was on vacation and I began to fill this void with meditation apps and podcasts, listening to interviews with Rabbis, Mystics, Gurus, Yogis, Maharajis, reading about Kabbalah, Ayurveda, Jewish Renewal, Buddhism, etc.  I decided that it is time to deepen my meditation practice, go back to yoga on a regular basis, become more mindful. I’m working very seriously on this. It’s very serious. It’s time to get peaceful. Damn it.

As the reality of my epic nirvana failure fully sunk in, I couldn’t help scream inwardly “Why the fuck is she so god damn loud!” I was uncomfortable, my muscles were shaking, I kept falling down, and I wanted a moment of Zen. People were sitting on their elbows for God sake! She periodically commented on the sourpusses in the room. I knew she was talking about me and it made my puss even sourer. (That sounded dirty but I’m leaving it in because I am a grown-up and I can do what I want.)

I chose this class because it’s the only one I could fit into my work day without taking away time with my family. I wanted my regular yoga class – which is quiet and peaceful and challenging without making me afraid of facial lacerations and a possible concussion. I’ve got to get it done and check this whole enlightenment thing off my list so I can get on with the business of living. I have other shit to do. But the regular classes were just too late in the day so I figured “How different could it be? Yoga is yoga, right?”


I began to reflect on all of that listening that I did last week. Those long, quiet walks in the park reflecting on where I am and where I want to be. The interviews I listened to with great spiritual leaders who all said the same thing – love is the only thing.  Finding a way to not be reactionary but to be present, to experience whatever I’m feeling, acknowledge it and figure out what it’s trying to tell me about myself in this moment. In that moment I felt silly, not relaxed, and very weak. I was reminded that 21 years after a broken pelvis and 3 pregnancies has made my body a mess and I can’t ignore it anymore. It’s not what I went there to learn about myself today. There was a plan. Yoga/Pilates was not sticking to my plan. (stomp, cross arms, pout)

But in the face of the discomfort and disappointment I did something I’ve never done before. I started listening – remembering all that stuff I had been taking in over the last week – and it occurred to me that the joy this woman was sharing with this class was exactly the right thing. Her playful energy – though irritating to me in the moment – was the lesson I needed to learn. Finding joy in the moment was the point. Deciding that I was going to enjoy myself no matter how different the outcome was from my expectations. That’s the real journey, right? I wasn’t there to do something so that I could get it over with. I was there to be challenged because putting myself in those uncomfortable situations is where the growth happens. And when I can react positively to unexpected struggle then I have learned the lesson.

I’m not there yet. So I guess I’ll have to go back again on Wednesday.

Much love,

Erin xo


  1. Sorry about the loud……and the fear of facial lacerations….yikes. Much love!

    1. Profile photo of erinmahone

      Please don’t apologize! It was way
      more about me than it was about you. I will definitely be back!!


Leave a Reply