What Strength Feels Like

Posted: November 29, 2013 by writingsprint in Essay
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

tiredThis morning’s yoga felt different from all the other practices I’ve done over the past month. Normally when I worry during a workout –- will I ever be flexible, will I ever have balance –- I focus on the practice and keep going. It happens pretty often. At 44 years old and a desk job, my tools for yoga start with the flexibility of a brick and balance of next to zero. I still consider myself a beginner. Daily practice over the past two months has improved this by light years, but I’m a long, long way from doing a forward bend that touches my head to my knees.

Today I had enough with ignoring my thoughts. I don’t like shutting away the doubts and powering through it. The race is hard enough without fighting myself. In yoga, you breathe, and I may be wrong, but it feel like my mind needed to breathe for a while.

I let my mind do what it wanted, while I kept another part of it focused on the practice. My thoughts wandered around. It went to things that were making me mad and things that I was happy about. Eventually I let go of some of the things it was thinking about and went back to practice. By the time I was done, I felt like a kid sitting in a room with blocks but not knowing what he wants to build. I took it as a positive. I think some of the stretches were easier, too.

I saw a motivational picture online that said something like, “At the moments when you want to give up, that’s when change happens. Don’t give up.” I think that’s true. When you’re working on something, even if it’s small steps of progress day after day, sooner or later you reach a point where the you who you’ve been needs to change into the you who you’re becoming. If you felt the same, you’d be there already. The hard part is the doubt. Wondering if it’s worth it. Questioning if you have the strength. You like yourself the way you are, and maybe you won’t like yourself as much if you change. Chew on this: by the time you finish reading this sentence, fifty million of the cells in your body have died and been replaced by new ones. You are literally in a constant state of change every moment in your life. You are not who you were, even from five minutes ago.

You might not make it. If you don’t try, though, you won’t know. If you fail, you can try again tomorrow. You can also back off today, build up your strength some more, then try again tomorrow. Progress is a road of ups and downs headed overall in the “up” direction over time.

You can also change, decide that you don’t like the view, and go back. Nobody ever thinks of that one.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that weakness is what strength feels like, that fear is what courage feels like, and doubt is what confidence feels like. When you’re in that moment, trust, and take the next step. It’s terrifying. It’s also amazing when you stand on the other side.

“A sensible man will remember that the eyes may be confused in two ways – by a change from light to darkness or from darkness to light – and he will recognize that the same thing happens to the soul.” Plato

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