We prepare, train, brace for, and imagine so many battles. Maybe sometimes we imagine victory? But in bracing for war, usually we're fearing pain and defeat. I see this so much in how we go about athletic training — in our sports, in our yoga, in everything we do. There's so much preparation for things to be hard. It can be paralyzing! It's definitely exhausting.
Nearly all the battles we fight never leave our minds. Nearly all the challenges and defeats we face are just ourselves against ourselves. Imagine if we could do something different.
The thing is, we can! I know we can practice this in our yoga. We can play at yoga, rather than think it. We can bring joy, rather than struggle, into our training. In everything we do, we can set about happily finding our own way to YES, rather than believing we can't, and letting it end there.
I know we can do this, because I see it every single day. People are amazing! Also, I've done it again and again, finding ways to pull off athletic feats that are supposed to be hard, without having to try hard at all. It's not because I have special powers. It's because every once in a while, I've managed to not be at war with myself.
Gradually, believing it's possible and putting it into practice, those occasional moments of equanimity string together. They happen more and more. They add up to a good life.
Want to put it into practice? OK let's go!
1. Pick something hard.
Just for fun, I'll give you a handstand video below, but it can be anything.
2. Now approach it like it's easy.
How? Don't struggle with it, or force yourself against it. Just play, over, above, and all around it. Get happy here! Nothing is going to hurt, and you no longer need to force your unwilling body to do something it doesn't want to do! (Besides, that never really worked anyway. In fact, that just made you less capable, less athletic, and more likely to get hurt!)
Believe that getting to know you is more important than rushing headlong at a goal. When you know YOU really well, you'll be able to do those hard things, and they won't be all that hard any more.
Try this standing on your hands. Try it running up hills, swimming across oceans, or whatever it is you'd like to do in your life. Most important: relax and make it fun! If you're not relaxed, if it's not fun, and it won't work. That's good news, because you're going to like it more this way. You're going to like YOU more this way, too.
We can each choose to be our own amazing. Believe it. You are. You can.