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I can still hear my surgeon telling me, “It will take a full year for your body to heal completely.” Well, I made it. The year has come and passed. I am so grateful to have it behind me and so grateful to be moving again with yoga and running.
Standing on the other side, a year later, I know two things: 1) The body is an incredibly resilient masterpiece – its ability to heal itself with time is remarkable, and 2) we can do hard things – I’m talking really hard things. You see, this past year, was truly one of the hardest years of my life – mentally, physically, and emotionally. There were days when I didn’t think I could continue to get through the physical pain, let alone the mental challenge of going such a long time without yoga practice and running. Yet, each day came and went, and with each passing day, my body healed, my mind got stronger, and my gratitude grew exponentially.
As human beings, we do not like to be uncomfortable. We are afraid of discomfort, even temporary discomfort. We are afraid of challenges. But, we can do hard things – we absolutely can do hard things. Our bodies, minds, our spirits are designed to do hard things. Every time we come to our mat, aren’t we reminded of this fact – that we can soften around discomfort and do hard things?
We are designed to handle both physical and emotional discomfort – whether it’s taking on a tough hike up a mountain or delivering a presentation before colleagues and dealing with critical comments or a lukewarm response. And guess what? It’s okay that when you do hard things, the process isn’t pretty or graceful. It’s okay that you’re shaking, uneasy, perspiring, and stumbling. And it’s also okay to ask for help. It’s like being on your mat in a really challenging pose – you shake, you sweat, you stumble, you feel uneasy, but you keep taking the next breath and you do the hard work. Or, being in a foundation flow class and having the courage to raise your hand and ask your instructor for help through the bravery of asking a question.
On the other hand, doing the hard stuff – can even feel incredible. It can feel meaningful, important, satisfying, life-changing, and joyful. Do you remember the very first time you landed in a challenging pose you had been working hard towards? Maybe it was headstand, side-crow, forearm balance, or just the slightest feeling of a float/air beneath your feet, as you hopped to the top of your mat? Feels pretty amazing after doing the hard work of getting there, right?
More importantly, doing the hard stuff gives us the gift of learning lessons. It teaches us about ourselves. It empowers us. It prepares and equips us to deal with life’s difficulties, because challenges, setbacks and adversity will inevitably arise in life. Doing the hard stuff reminds us that we’re incredibly resilient.
While the journey of this past year wasn’t easy, it has undoubtedly given me the gift of learning lessons. I’ve learned so much about myself and have grown more deeply than ever in faith, gratitude, patience, surrendering and trusting the process, and haven fallen even more deeply in love with my living body and all that it does for me each and every day (from taking the first step of the day out of bed in the morning – the smallest of things that are so easily taken for granted, that are truly THE biggest gifts and blessings).
You are strong, yogi. You are capable. You can do hard things. Give yourself the chance to try – even if you’re really scared – even if discomfort is painful. Allow yourself to process that emotion. Process your loss. Life doesn’t require that we be the best, only that we try our best. You are worth the effort of trying and taking the steps towards those hard things – always. Take steps to start a new career. Take steps to follow your dream and live your greatest life. Submit that article pitch. Launch that product or project. Make a difficult decision if it feels like the right decision for you. And the best part of all? You’re not alone in any of it. You are not alone in ANY of it. While the hard stuff can make us feel like we’re alone, you are not alone. Please remember that. It may sound cliche, but we truly are all in this life together. Turn to your tribe for encouragement and support. Let someone know you’re afraid…overwhelmed…having a hard time taking steps. Turn to the people in your life who lift you up, when your shoulders feel heavy. I know this is what got me through this past year and that I couldn’t have gotten to this point without each and every one of you – our amazing MBFY community! I am so blessed to have you all as my tribe.
I say to you, yogi, keep smiling and keep breathing You can do hard things. You can endure physical and emotional pain. You can endure embarrassment and rejection. You can endure uncertainty. You can endure heartache. You can endure failure. You can navigate through seemingly insurmountable challenges. And you WILL get through it all. Maybe you didn’t realize it, but that’s exactly what you’ve done so many times before.