I know I’ve posted this quote before but I like it so much, one more time aint gonna kill ya.
Set a goal so big that you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can. — unknown author (at least unknown to me)
Last night I was cleaning out the filing cabinet and came upon my psychological evaluation for entering seminary. I remember being all in a self-righteous huff about it at the time, wondering what agenda the doctor must have had when filling mine out. Oh, younger Rachel; calm the heck down. When I read through it last night it seemed pretty spot on, still today.
One little piece that I remember really rubbed me wrong at the time was that I tend to do things that I have experienced success and affirmation, but am not as willing to branch out into new, unknown areas which would challenge me and possibly not feel immediately successful.
Yes. I agree.
In my yoga practice is where this is the most obvious, at the moment. There are some poses that I don’t ever consider doing, like arm balances. I have learned how to do a great headstand…but that came pretty quickly. But the others; where your whole body is hovering a few inches off the floor? Not a chance.
Why, I ask myself in a pleading way?? Because I have tried a handful of times and it didn’t work. I know it takes a really long time (months?) of practicing, of building up core strength, and of simply not hovering a few inches off the floor at all, but I get frustrated and discouraged with my lack of progress. So I don’t go there.
I know that I am missing a great gift in life that comes with challenge and growth and the discipline that both require. I am a huge sucker for the stories of people overcoming incredible adversity and moving through challenges with struggle, drive, and discipline. In my desk drawer I have a picture of a woman standing on one leg, holding her other prosthetic leg up, high in the air. She lost her leg to cancer when she was 16 and the caption is “I didn’t think I was a person who could practice yoga. My practice reminds me I am whole.”
Yoga philosophy talks about generating “tapas” in your practice. Tapas in this case doesn’t mean a delicious plate of little bites of sausage but instead it points to the heat and energy created by challenging yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually in a yoga practice…challenging yourself to go a little deeper, try the next step, stay in the awkward pose, lean into the challenge.
And in my Christian faith I have this core belief that God has created me to be my whole, outstanding, beautiful self; full of potential. I am not in a fixed state, but am called to be expanding, growing, changing – beyond where I am comfortable, beyond who I even know myself to be. This is what God always does – calling people to do and be more than who they know themselves to be.
Am I willing to answer that call from God, to build up some tapas in my life on the mat and off the mat? Eeesh. There is the question. Am I willing to do a little more? Put in more effort? Can I trust that I am growing, getting stronger and progressing even though it might not be immediately obvious to me? Am I up for the real struggle towards growth and new life within me or do I want to just keep doing the same few things I know how to do? guh. When I put it like that…
The next Daily Bread Yoga retreat is all about answering the question of when is enough? When have you done enough or when do you need to keep going? It might be challenge for the person who feels like they never do enough to back off and actually say “enough”. Or there is the challenge for me to say, come on Rachel…do a little more. You can. We all probably fall in different places depending on the topic. Or maybe not. Regardless, I’d love to spend the morning with you on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Peace on your head.