No pain, no gain

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Business travel and other commitments kept me away from the hot room for days. I told a friend I looked forward to the simultaneous pleasure and pain of that evening’s practice. Not entirely familiar with Bikram yoga, he asked why I do it if it causes me pain. When I last hiked, my aching body rebelled as the wind sliced through five layers. When I write, oftentimes it’s with my own blood. So, why do we endure the physical and/or emotional pain that may accompany a strong passion(s) we entertain? Sometimes there is pain in the midst of transformation and healing. Of course, there is the adrenaline high that pushes many of us beyond our comfort zones. For me, I do what I do to face a challenge, to squeeze out every last drop of living in a particular moment. To come out a better, more complete version of me. And sometimes that might mean a skinned knee in the process.

Why do you do what you do?

Stretching, bending our muscle memory

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Part of living my life ‘Today’ includes doing things that displace me from my comfort zone. For example, on a recent routine pizza/movie night, I opted, instead, for dinner at a new venue, followed by musical entertainment—which resulted in unexpected, albeit pleasant surprises. One morning I attended a ‘silent’ yoga class, allowing me to focus on my breath and my thoughts without distraction; another day I practiced in the second row where my image is blurrier and it’s harder to pinpoint those areas I might otherwise judge or become preoccupied with. Rather, I concentrated on the big picture—how my body felt and how that translated to my reflection in the mirror. And by saying ‘yes’ to a friend’s spontaneous invitation to the movies, I met five new incredible ladies. When we try fresh things that challenge our norm, we stretch and bend our muscle memory and develop into more flexible individuals, whether inside or outside of the hot room.

What new thing recently challenged your norm?

 

Image courtesy of ponsuwan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Habits are choices… good or bad

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habits are choices...

I’ve got a bad habit. Okay, numerous bad habits. As I engage in these harmful rituals, however, I realize the resounding reason why stems from fear. Oftentimes when I am challenged to step outside of my comfort zone, when change is inevitable or painful and/or I desire to avoid a certain situation, I seek solace in habitual patterns—even if these patterns are not good for me. I create a panacea for the unknown with something known, a temporary fix that is all-too-often self-destructive. In particular, I excel at stuffing my feelings with junk food and drink and then cursing myself the next morning when I awaken puffy, sad and no closer to a resolution. I sabotage any strides I might experience because it’s easier to fall back into my safety net of familiarity. And then I wonder why my life doesn’t change. But today is a new day. Time to make better choices.

What is a bad habit you can replace today with a better one?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A simple touch of kindness

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A simple touch of kindness

[Image credit: chrisroll]

During Yoga practice and the spine strengthening series, yogis rest on their stomachs in between poses.  At that time, some of the instructors will “walk” on any eager feet.  The last time I was the recipient of this brief exchange, I was thankful for the willingness of my teacher to freely offer the gift of touch to her students.  During that moment of meditation, I felt a strong appreciation and wondered how many others in my life crave such a simple act of affection.  It seems we are more concerned about crossing over boundaries or insulting so we keep our distance.  That’s not what I want to be remembered for.  I would rather be thought of as the person who stepped outside her comfort zone and embraced a fellow mother, daughter, brother … human being.  Perhaps we’d be a lot happier if we didn’t worry so much about whom we offend, but instead care about those we friend.

Do you regularly show others kindness through a simple touch?

Losing our footing

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[Image credit: Sujin Jetkasettakorn]

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily.  
To not dare is to lose oneself. ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Some dares you could lose your footing permanently, like if you jumped from a dangerous height.  But I think Kierkegaard is talking about the risks we take when we step out of our comfort zones.  At first, we may feel like we’re falling, out of sorts or kind of fuzzy around the edges.  But then our vision typically clears and we see that we’re unscathed and, perhaps, better off than before we leapt.  And as I’ve blogged about countless times, if we don’t take the risk — or dare — then we deny a piece of ourselves.  It’s like saying our dreams don’t matter … our goals aren’t worth pursuing.  I read a book once where that happened to the protagonist.  When all was said and done, he ended up with regrets over chances not taken.  I’d rather lose my balance.

Are you willing to lose your footing for a good cause?

The path toward peace

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[Image credit: digitalart]

When we follow our hearts, when we choose not to settle, it’s funny isn’t it?
A weight lifts. The sun shines a little brighter and for a brief moment at least,
we find a little peace. ~ Grey’s Anatomy

This quote speaks to me in the places where I’m afraid to follow my heart.  When reality laughs at the tiny voice that encourages me to step out of my comfort zone, throw caution to the wind and every other cliché in the book.  It’s that louder voice echoing of past failures, what-ifs and all things that go bump in the night (in honor of Halloween).  The one that settles as a familiar weight upon my shoulders, and casts a shadow to keep the sun from shining brightly.  But slowly, in the little things, I’m practicing.  And maybe I’ll discover it’s really about listening to the head, rather than the heart, which leads to that little slice of peace.

Do you follow your head or your heart to peace?

All grown up … almost

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[Image credit: nuchylee]

Today my “little” girl turned 20.  No longer a teenager and not yet an “official” adult, she’s that “in-between” age for the next year.  It’s as if she’s living in her own personal limbo as she plans for her grown-up future.  Such an exciting and scary time all rolled into one.  I envy her a bit.  Not that I’d want to return to 20 when I thought I knew everything but really knew very little and was afraid of my own shadow.  But I’d like an extra two dozen years for trial and error, to take chances and step out of my comfort zone — knowing I had plenty of room to right my wrongs and start all over if necessary.  Although I’m not ready to crawl under a rock any time soon, to throw caution to the wind at my age holds less appeal.  However, I wouldn’t mind knowing what I know now without aging for another 20 years.

Happy Birthday, Baby.

If you could be one age indefinitely, what would that be?