Facing challenges, on and off the mat
"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are."
~ Bernice Johnson Reagon
What does “avoiding difficulty” really mean?
Avoiding – to go around. To detour. To take the easier path. To manage
not to do something or stop something from happening.
I watched today as this guy struggled to go into a back bend. His arms
flopped open, elbows taking the strain, shoulders collapsing.
Desperately trying to push up through a weak foundation. He could
spend years like that, slowly making the weakest parts of his
shoulders weaker and wearing out his elbows: until finally something
breaks. OR he can go a step backwards, he can learn to look at the
part which he finds difficult (in this case holding the elbows in and
the shoulders in their sockets) and work their before even lifting the
head off the floor. Identify the work. The real work. The work that
will bring about positive changes’, that will give you strength; that
will give you a different outcome.
IT IS hard. I know it is hard. That’s why we avoid it. We do it the easy way because we think it will get us to the end result faster. But that is just an illusion. It’s simple not true. All it will do is keep us from the right path. Stop us from heading in the right direction. It actually prevents the results that we desperately seek.
So how can this important lesson be reflected into our day-to-day lives?
If we have the same problem occurring over and over again we to have
to take a step back. Re-asses the situation and identify the weakness.
What is it that we do that avoids dealing with the difficulty? What is
it that causes the same results over and over? For me I am trying to
learn how to act and not react. I tend to get defensive and when I
respond emotionally it is normally unpleasant and vicious. Like a
scorpion, I have a sting in my tail and when I react with my sting, it
hurts. It also drives people away. Scared of being stung again, the
attacker retreats. This has resulted in me being left alone; not the
outcome that I desired.
So, working within my difficulty, I have to take s step backwards. To
recognise what I am doing wrong. See how to change it. Learn how to
act, not react. Let the emotions drain out of a situation before I
respond. Come from a calm and nurturing place. Not a defensive and
stubborn place, unwilling to back down. It IS hard! That’s the real
work. The work that can bring about change. The work that will set
about a different cause and bring about a different effect. The work
that will bring me the results that I want.
Sometimes when we feel bad about ourselves we do things that avoid
dealing with the real issue. We drink alcohol, we smoke : we do things
to numb out the pain. This in turn makes us feel bad, we feel worse
about ourselves and so we drink to hide from it. To avoid dealing with
the real difficulty. What we really need to do is be nice to
ourselves. To work within the difficulty. To take rest, do more yoga,
eat good food, laugh and be with people who love us. Do the hard work
to feel good about ourselves. To get the result that we really want.
To be a fitter, healthier and happier person.
And there you have it. Working within the difficulties. Doing the hard work. The real work. Seeing the faults and putting in lots of effort to correct them, to rebalance them. In the case of the back bend, if you work on the foundation then you will lift up higher. From strong roots we grow tall. And so it is the same with my own issues off the mat. Work on the foundations. Come from a good place, have strong
roots. Work within the difficulties and do the work. Start to get the results that you want.
By changing the way we do things daily, allows a new person inside of
us to grow.
~Laura Grace Ford
Ashtanga Yoga Devon