Posts Tagged ‘letting go’

Stretching Feels Good, Once You Get Past the Uncomfortable Part

December 14, 2010 Leave a comment

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. ~Lao Tzu

Last week while I was practicing a really intense stretch to improve my back flexibility, I got a cramp.  I quickly backed out of the stretch. My body wasn’t used to working in such extreme ranges of motion and my mind’s tendency is to resist against such new and unusual requests. Whatever the mind thinks, the body takes as direction.  Stretching shows me where my current limits are and reaching beyond those limits is always uncomfortable, extremely uncomfortable.

I needed to convince myself that I was okay, that nothing bad was going to happen to me and that my body was safe from harm.  I had to earn my own trust, physically as well as mentally. Even though it was totally counter-intuitive, unless I leaned in to the discomfort, relinquished some control and believed that I was doing the absolute 100% correct thing, not only would I miss out on achieving my goal of becoming bendier, but I would also risk injury. With that in mind, I performed the stretch again. Every time I thought the stretch was becoming too intense and I got uncomfortable, I instructed the muscle that was threatening to tighten up to relax and then I waited for it to release the tension.  Once that happened, I was able to move deeper into the stretch.  By acknowledging the discomfort of the stretch and letting go of the resistance to the discomfort and practicing a great deal of patience, I had earned my body’s trust and cooperation. We were on the same team, working toward the same goal and it felt amazing.

I can apply this lesson to other areas of my life as well and I need to. I sometimes hold on tightly to an outcome and muscle my way through the process, even when it’s clear I’m making things worse and more painful by doing so. I lose my patience when things aren’t happening quickly enough and that delays my progress. I let myself get distracted with minor annoyances and forget to focus on the greater goal. Admittedly, once I step outside of my body and into the real world, the scope of the challenges and skills I wish to master can feel overwhelming at times, but they don’t have to. Instead of backing out of the discomfort I feel when I’m challenged, I can move into it. I can find the one issue or area that is most uncomfortable and sticky and be committed to unsticking it without distracting myself with drama.  I can wait for that moment when patience and persistence subdues the resistance and then relax into the solution that has been waiting for me to discover all along.


Falling Apart, Pulling It Together

June 21, 2010 6 comments

I’ve had a challenging month. I learned that my eldest daughter has a learning disability coupled with behavioral issues that require extra academic support (and extra patience I have difficulty locating). I have also had to scrap an ambitious business plan that I had going on for this year due to some external circumstances (including, but not limited to, the reallocation of resources to my children). These two things led me to question my fitness as a parent and as a human being . . . and I was pretty hard on myself.  As if that wasn’t enough trauma, I was late to my hair appointment and did not get the fabulous blow out my stylist usually has time for (a treat I look forward to every six weeks).  Pout.

I’m really good at getting things done, so my first inclination was to put it in gear and fix what was not working.   Good plan, except I was totally overwhelmed and drained by the challenges I was faced with and that competed with my burning desire to solve each problem ten minutes ago.  The only option I had the energy for, which also brought up tons of resistance from me, was to let everything fall apart and sit in the mess for a while. I hate that. But I let the suckiness of each situation run over me, I relinquished control and gave in to a really hot cry. I do this so rarely, that I forget how amazing it feels sometimes and it really did feel good. So I did it a few more times. Call me a hedonist.

I got really into it.  In fact, I think I took it too far.  I moped around, felt out of sorts, and I took my frustration and anger out on my loved ones (sorry loved ones).  Then it just stopped feeling good and it started feeling really crappy, so I moped around about that, too.  Then I realized something about my challenges, they put me at a crossroads: I can either choose to step up my game or I can choose to step out of the game.  Neither one of those choices involve moping.

Sometimes in order to take control of a situation, I have to let go of it first.  I have to let stuff fall apart to see what I’m working with so I can come up with a better plan or maybe even discover that I don’t really want to work with it at all.  That’s where I am now: sorting through the fallout of my situational (and emotional) meltdown and salvaging the pieces that I can work with and discarding the pieces that hold me back.  It can be messy, hard work, but when I focus on one challenge at a time, divide it up into smaller challenges, suddenly, I’m working with one teeny tiny challenge and I can totally conquer that little thing. Then I can move on to the next tiny little challenge. I may not get it done in the lightning fast timeframe I prefer, but I’m getting it done.  It feels like the best possible use of my time, especially since I’ve already decided that I won’t be spending any more of it moping around.