Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t. ~Rikki Rogers
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Raise your hand if you like being uncomfortable! By the way, my hand is not raised. Lol.
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?
As I write this newsletter, I am laid up in my bed with my laptop, 4 days post-op from my second surgery in the span of 3 and a half months. Am I uncomfortable? Yes. Is this healing process hard and painful? Yes. Am I able to do this hard work of healing and recovering? Absolutely.
Before entering into surgery on July 27th, I was admittedly nervous and not looking forward to going through all of this again. But, I arrived at the hospital with one mission that afternoon – keep smiling and keep breathing (as shown in the picture above). I knew these two things (along with the thoughts and prayers of so many) would get me through surgery and the challenging days ahead of healing and recovery.
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 these 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 this journey I’ve been on with my health and two hack-to-back surgeries has not been 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 – 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 I couldn’t have gotten to this point in this difficult journey of back-to-back surgeries without each and every one of you – our amazing MBFY community! I am so blessed to have you all as my tribe. I acknowledge and thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the love, support, generosity, and encouragement that has been shown in a myriad of ways. You’ll never know the magnitude to which it has touched my heart and soul, brought me to tears, brought me to my knees, and reminded me that I can do hard things.
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.