Are you sick and tired of feeling broken? Ready to live without the pain and frustration of chronic injury and/or self-defeating beliefs (I suck at this. There’s no way I can do this. Etc. . .)? Want to find the strength and confidence to go after something that feels out of reach?
This one simple question will help get you there:
“What Part of This Can You Do?”
I know . . .it sounds underwhelming. But hear me out. For many of us, our automatic response to facing the challenge of something new is fear, struggle and a mental chorus of all the reasons why we don’t can’t to do it.
When the distance between where we are and where we want to go starts appearing too great; we shut down. We’re not weak; we just need tools to make the task less daunting.
In those moments. . . STOP. . .Pause. . . take 3 deep breaths to reset and then ask yourself. . . “What part of this can I do?” (Hint. . . no matter how frustrated or weak you feel, there is ALWAYS something that you can do).
Let’s say you’re in class and what I’ve asked you to do sounds more like a Cirque du Soleil fantasy than something you’ll be able to twist into. In that moment, you have 2 choices:
1. Shut down. Tell yourself the pose is stupid/I’m mean/how weak you are for not being able to do what others can. Shut down interestingly takes on a couple of different forms:
- Run & Hide – In class this might be taking an unnecessary water break, phone checking or dashing to the bathroom to avoid what's happening.
- Bring It On – I'm sure you've seen these guys at the gym - teeth clenched, maybe grunting, definitely not breathing, distracted listening to headphones instead of their bodies and pushing themselves to do things that they're not ready for. This is where injury happens.
2. Choose Empowerment. Ask yourself what part of it you CAN do. You could do a modified version of the pose (and please always ask me if you’re not sure what that would be). You could pick another pose that would feel better for your body. You can definitely breathe and feel. Let go of what you can’t do and get fascinated by what you can.
When you’re willing to let go of what you (or your ego) thinks you should do and focus instead on what’s possible, you not only honor your own process but you build your resourcefulness, self-care and confidence.
Pain is never a gain – it reinforces a pattern of struggle and ultimately leads to injury. Pain, like fear, is a signal. Your body is asking you to do something differently. By listening to your body rather than berating yourself for being stiff/injured/tired, you build a deeper connection to it and to the wisdom it holds.
In this way you elevate your movement practice from a workout into an opportunity to build your inner resources and resilience so that you are better able to face the challenges in the rest of your life.
Remember, this day is just one of hopefully many on your journey. It may be the glorious day that everything comes together. It may be building to that. It may be a day of falling apart and starting over so that something better can emerge.
Don’t force and don’t give up. Allow yourself to have that journey.