Challengers and beginners!
(Because lets be real, we are all embarking on a challenge and in many ways we are all still beginners. We are both. Do you know THIS is the beauty of this practice? That we are all in different places on the same journey, experiencing it together, learning from one another? There is no such thing as a beginner and no such thing as someone who has arrived. We are all in different places, needing one another, honoring the place you’re at, while honoring the place that the person beside you is at. This is how us/them boundaries disappear and where love and compassion for self and other can rise up.)
Anyways. Challengers and No-Longer-Absolute-Beginners! Its Wednesday, week 2. How are things going? This is about when I poop out. I’m not a finisher. I’m a starter. I love starting stuff. I get about 1/2 or 2/3 of the way into something and I’m on to start the next. What are you noticing about yourself this Wednesday, week 2? Are you ready to move on to something else? Where are you finding the motivation for another day, another week?
Do you know that your power lies in your ability to choose? You can choose to keep going, or you can choose to stop. You can choose to lie in savasana the whole class or you can choose to sneak in a handstand during the vinyasa transition. We live in a world where we are inundated with information! So much so that I believe it has caused us to forget this power of choice. Buy this brand, think this way about politics, the environment, what to eat, how to dress, how much sleep to get at night, so much information we have become dependent on it to make our choices for us. We are choosing, but not because of thoughtful consideration and more because someone is telling us what is “right” or “good” and we’re buying it. And we’re paying for it.
This morning at 5:29am my phone rang to inform me the schools were on a 2-hour delay. At 5:31am my phone rang again and I hear, “Dude, its bad out. What do we do?” She and I decided to inform the 3 people who were signed in to the 5:45am yoga class to stay home. I asked if she would stay at the studio to catch the straggler who may venture out in the ice for class. Maybe we made the wrong call, who’s to know. But it turned out, not one straggler came for class, 9 did. Nine people got in their cars, or walked down the sidewalk to come to yoga in the frigid, dark, icy morning. First of all, y’all are badasses. And I admire this kind of dedication!!!
In a later conversation, we lamented the decision a little, but reflected on what she herself experienced getting to class and the comments made by every student who trekked to the studio. Basically, everyone said, “dude, its bad.” Our conversation then turned to what makes us keep going. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, one more press of the gas or tap of the brakes as we slip and slide along. At what point, do we stop and say, “Dude, its bad. I’m going to stop now, turn around and wait.”
What I say next may surprise you. You don’t have to keep going. You don’t have to push through. In a culture full of information, we find ourselves waiting for something externally to tell us what to do. The overload of information from the outside hinders the internal voice of guidance. In a yoga class, if a teacher cues you to do something and you feel a little unsteady, a bit unsafe and slippery, you know you can listen to that warning and choose something else, right?. Stop. Wait. Try again later. Your power is in your freedom to choose.
The tricky part is discernment. Your brain will tell you to stop waaaaay before your body needs to. But there are times when it just isn’t safe. No one externally can know which is which—for you. Only you know how you feel. And if you make the “wrong” decision, its ok. Its how you learn and that’s never wrong.
Are you pooping out because you’re onto something else? Are you sticking with it at the expense of your safety? Have you done the courageous thing and stayed when your mind says quit, or quit when your ego says stay?
Just like there are no beginners and no one who has it mastered. There are no wrong answers, only learning experiences. Your power lies in the ability to choose.