About two years ago I was working out at the gym. I made eye contact with a fit attractive woman in her thirties, she held my gaze and I held hers for about two seconds. I don’t remember who looked away, but I was left pierced with an arrow from cupid. I rarely crossed paths with her again at the gym, and when I did we exchanged glances but I just couldn’t muster the courage to speak with her.
Finally one day I made up my mind, I would approach her and say that she really caught my attention that day, that she seemed to be an interesting person, and that I would like to invite her for a coffee at Starbucks after our workout, if she had the time.
The next time I encountered her my heart sank: she was with her boyfriend. Their eyes had that ecstasy of newfound love, and by the way they treated each other I doubted they had much time together, they were all over each other, working out together. My inner dialogue was immature, “Oh I wouldn’t want to be that guy, she’s too overbearing”, but my lonely heart yearned for it, for sure. It made quite an impact, I thought I would never pass on such an opportunity because of my insecurities and my shyness.
Dozens of squandered opportunities later, I no longer mistreat myself for these kind of situations. I discovered it is enough to make eye contact and smile, I don’t have to possess and consume the beauty I admire. I’m a handsome, fit man (if I may describe myself in those words) so sometimes I even get a smile in return. I feel a surge of energy and I guess they feel it too, and that’s perfect as it is. I don’t have to chat them up.
Four days ago I was leaving the gym, coming down from the escalator I saw the same woman I liked, seeing her for the first time in around a year and a half. I recognized her immediately. Our eyes met again and I couldn’t help but looking away, I was too nervous to hold her gaze and smile. Then I started chastising myself for being so shy again. Stop stop stop, a part of yourself is still a child, the more you chastise him, the shyer he gets. I was away all this time, between Montreal and Cancún, you will have more opportunities to flirt with her.
Today it happened: I went to the morning yoga class, she came in after me, and set her mat nearby. The class had already started, and I know better than flirting in a yoga class, so she simply inspired me to go deeper into my practice, as the beautiful classmates I had in Cancún did to my practice. Rather than being distracting, beauty inspires you to perform at your best, and this is what I did.
Eventually, the class was coming to an end when the teacher asked us to perform the preparation of a headstand. We were not to perform the full headstand, but the teacher approached me and said that if I wanted to headstand it was OK, she knew me from before and knew my practice. I said it was OK, I didn’t want to be a show-off. I put my head between my hands and made an inverted V shape with my body and the teacher asked everyone to do, and then I discreetly lifted my feet off the ground, in a partial press handstand.
The girl I liked and the woman next to her caught sight of what I was doing and I heard them talking about it, and started trying to do it. I came down from my headstand and gave them some pointers. She was extremely close to doing it herself, which is quite admirable, it takes a lot of flexibility and strength to do a press headstand. The teacher then approached and gave her some assistance, and in the end she was amazingly close to lifting her legs but she couldn’t get it done. I said it was amazing that she could get where she got and we exchanged wide and ecstatic smiles.
When the class ended I scurried away because I was nervous, I knew I would have blown it if I tried to chat her up, and somehow I trusted this had been enough for the day, next time I saw her I was warranted to say hello and perhaps introduce myself. I went to the weight room and worked out my nervousness.
She did a couple of exercises too, our paths crossed naturally, I said “you were this close to getting it”
—“yeah I felt my feet weightless but I think I was afraid of falling over”
—“Oh yeah that always happens in the beginning but it goes away with practice”.
—“But if I fall over I wouldn’t get hurt would I”.
—“Oh yeah, it feels as if you’re going to slap your back on the floor but in reality the body knows how to fall, you will naturally twist and fall on your side. It won’t be graceful but it won’t hurt”.
We continued chatting for around five minutes, with very good energy, and then we both agreed it would be better to resume our workout before we got “cold”, “you come here everyday” she asked, “yes, mostly”, well see you around, it was nice to meet you.
And that was it. It was natural and nice. As I sit down to write on the experience, I notice I have no expectations other than to say hello next time I see her. A huge bundle of expectation was shed with this event. It is our attachment to outcome that which causes all our struggles and anxiousness and whatnot. We ruin it by trying to make it happen. In the most profound sense, life cannot be designed, just relax and life will happen to you.