There I was, standing in a hot, crowded tent with seventy people sitting on all sides of me, listening while I introduced a workshop at the one and only Burning Man Festival.
I was trying my best to look natural. My hands were searching my body for a comfortable place to be and I was anxiously shifting my weight from leg to leg. “This isn’t working”, I realized, so I asked myself a question.
How would I be standing right now if I was in this tent by myself?
My hands dropped to my side, my shoulders relaxed and my feet found themselves peacefully planted on the floor. My speaking became more natural and my breathing relaxed.
Later I realized that no amount of trying or posturing could have given me the result I was hoping for, it was only by not trying, or untrying that I was able to relax.
Untrying. It’s a made up word that I find useful when speaking about living a peaceful life. It’s the subtle noticing of how you are posturing, holding yourself or trying to be something and gently letting it go.
So often we try to relax by adding behaviors, adding routines, adding postures. This can lead to more stress, because often we are moving further away from our natural state of being.
The state of being that was already relaxed before we started trying to relax.