Back Pocket Yoga

My life has gotten noticeably better since I started carrying my wallet in my left pocket. How could something so simple make such a big difference in my life?

Before I tried this crazy experiment, I always carried my wallet in my right pocket. I never really thought about why… it’s just what I did. Presumably it was the most natural place to put it since I’m right-handed. I’m sure that’s where I put my first wallet – a small step into a adulthood I celebrated with a camouflage velcro masterpiece – and I never gave it a second thought.

Fast forward to the recent past where I found myself struggling to maintain the sense of peace and calm I cultivated during my yoga practice throughout the day. I’d walk out the door of the studio feeling great: I’d just spent a precious hour with no technology or social media and no one needed anything from me. I’d spent an hour stretching and challenging my muscles, focusing on my breathing, and cultivating presence, authenticity, and compassion. Paradoxically, that hour crescendos with a few minutes of the deepest physical and mental relaxation of my day as I lay in Savasana. And all that would frustratingly slip away unnoticed as emails and calendars and traffic and Facebook each took a tiny piece of it.

I wished I had a way to recharge and reconnect to all those good things yoga can do; a reminder to put life’s frenetic pace in the context of the things that truly matter. I wanted help remembering – as if from a string tied around my finger – to prioritize the important over the urgent. So I started carrying my wallet in my left pocket.

It felt strange at first and it took real effort to break an old thoughtless habit. But each time I went to the gas station, or the grocery store, or out to lunch, I had a choice to make: Will I be the person I used to be, or the person I want to be? And while that choice isn’t completely fair – I’m just the person that I am – it provided a level of accountability to myself that I was looking for.

Oh, I’d forget of course and I’d discover my wallet in my right pocket on a fairly regular basis in the beginning. But as soon as I realized, I’d move it to the left and try to use that as an opportunity to not get frustrated or angry about something that makes virtually no difference. Because who cares which pocket I put my wallet in?!

In reality, this has nothing to do with a wallet, but it has everything to do with intention.

It still feels a little strange to carry my wallet in my left pocket – and I still forget every now and then – but it’s way better than carrying it in my right pocket.

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