Sep 28, 2022

Practicing Swiss yoga

The mindfulness of putting together furniture

My mom called me this weekend asking if I wanted to help her put together some furniture from the notorious Swiss furniture giant. Of course… the ideal way to spend Sunday afternoon! 🙄 But it’s my mom, and I had already promised her months ago.

Upon arrival I was confronted with literally a dozen boxes and exactly zero instruction for how each piece fit together.

A photo of a floor covered in a mess of furniture parts and hardware

What I thought would might a couple of hours at most, ended up taking almost six. And I still didn’t finish the job. But curiously, what took almost six hours, felt like only a couple.

How could that be?

We’ve all had the experience of pulling our hair in a cloud of frustration trying to decipher those cryptic pictographic instructions. You make some progress only to realize that you missed a step and now have to backtrack. It’s excruciating!

But this time, I set an intention up front. I told myself, this is a yoga retreat. I’m going to stay present, pay attention to my posture, move mindfully with efficiency of movement, and practice patience.

That changed everything.

It wasn’t perfect. I did have to backtrack a couple of times. I did get frustrated many times. But in those moments I reminded myself: That moment of awareness of frustration is the practice. And in that awareness I have the choice to either tense up in frustration, or settle in, loosen up and Do It Easy.

These days, yoga and meditation are more popular than ever. But there is a tendency to draw hard boundaries between practice and daily life. I meet many clients who have tried yoga/meditation and gave up because their formal practice didn’t yield the results they expected in their daily life.

Formal practice is wonderful, and necessary, but if we’re only practicing formally, we are missing out. Off the cushion and outside of the mat, that’s where these practices have the most potential to impact our lives.

Meditation is a way of being more than it is a technique. It points to a state of mind that we can inhabit any time when we have the right attitude. I don’t mean the idealized state of blissful calm meditation is often misconstrued as, but more a gritty and down-to-earth resilience.

What about you?

How does your yoga or meditation practice show up in your regular life?

Maybe you don’t have a practice, but where in your daily life do you find this kind of moment-to-moment resilience?

What are you doing the hard way where you could instead Do It Easy?

A portrait of Jameal Ghaznawi

Jameal Ghaznawi

Hi, I’m Jameal and I'm on a mission to help people and organizations on their path toward mastery, starting with Stuckness. Feeling stuck is an essential precondition for growth. Remaining stuck, however, is not. As a teacher and certified coach I help people increase their awareness, tap into their innate wisdom, and find creative ways forward. Find yourself at a sticking point? Let's grow together.