Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about whether quitting fits in with yoga philosophy. Perhaps you’ve heard a yoga teacher speak about the path of yoga as a process of peeling off layer upon layer until we reach the very essence of our true selves*. Isn’t this peeling process another way of saying quitting those things that don’t feel like a genuine, energizing part of yourself? Our capitalist country just happens to carry around some negative connotations with the word quit, as it’s not often that the bio of a successful CEO reads, “quits under pressure,” or an online dating profile entices with, “I quit before getting emotionally invested.” However honest any of those statements might be. But perhaps I could be more sensitive in using this word, q–t.
In the past two years, I went on a q–tting spree, releasing some very foundational elements of my life (long-time job, relationship, graduate school plans, even mailing address and cell phone), yet it wasn’t without fear that I did so. The very word q–t once spilled convulsive tears at age 24. My soon-to-be-former manager eyed me curiously, lacking the words to assure that q–tting this, a first job, was such a natural event in one’s life. Somehow I felt like I was letting someone down. Why are we so opposed to just letting go of things, no matter how draining or untrue they feel? Four years later, when I decided to q–t job number two, it was much easier, even somewhat thrilling, if not quite cachet because of the financial crisis and all. I’ve realized recently that q–tting is not even a word I have to avoid typing.
Maybe we can put quitting in springtime terms, find a way to liken it to a spring molting, shedding, or cleaning, as we often do this time of year. And perhaps this year, instead of examining those spawning piles of murk in the attic, let the dust mites lie, take off the latex gloves and set down the disinfectant. Let’s think for a moment about what we can shed beyond these physical things weaving garlands around our homes, leaving sink spots in the rugs and constricting our physical spaces. What other elements, thoughts, influences, activities, are simply distortions that we can quit to be more free?
I welcome your stories of past quits or intended quits in comments below!
Spring hugs and shrugs,
*Okay, this is really more of a Buddhist perspective, but western yoga philosophy is enmeshed with a variety of eastern sources.