Last week, as I was completing squats, my neck seized and went into spasm. Hurt like the very devil, but did I stop? No, I finished lifting, went on to yoga, and then topped off with some cardio. The pain and stiffness got worse and worse until I could hardly move my head. As I was lying in bed, trying to find a comfortable position, I began thinking about what I could learn from my situation. Here is what came to mind…
Pain is the body communicating. What was my body trying to tell me?
- When did I decide that it was okay to ignore my own feelings?
- Was I too prideful to step out of a situation that wasn’t serving me?
- Why do I think that doing is more important than being?
- How can I determine when I should push through or step back?
- Why am I so inflexible?
There’s clarity to be found in getting still and quiet. What lessons did my curiosity reveal?
- Pain is the ultimate wake up call. It only occurs after I ignore more gentle warnings.
- Comparing my performance to others is ignoring my own progress. The phrase compare and despair comes to mind. I will never be enough if I think my worth is based on how well I perform compared to others. Work to be my best me, not anyone else.
- Ego is a great teacher. It’s wonderful to challenge myself, but pushing and pulling never gets me where I want to go. My ego tells me I should be able to take on any challenge on any given day. That’s a perfectionist attitude. It doesn’t leave room for listening to the cues of the body. Have I had enough nutrition? Did I get a poor night’s sleep? Is my form compromised due to a sore muscle? Listen. Progress not perfection is the ultimate goal.
- Doing more does not make me a better person. Being a human being makes me uniquely special. I don’t have to prove that to myself or anyone else. I am, therefore I have value.
- Listening to the cues of my body will tell me what I need to know. Pain, stress, and resistance are all cues that I am pushing too hard. Rest, relaxation, and recovery will lead me to greater gains than pushing, berating, and ignoring.
- Cultivating mental flexibility creates more physical flexibility. It’s great to have a schedule or routine. However, I need to allow for the wisdom of my body to tell me when I need to modify it for that day.
Are you struggling through a painful situation? Are you ready to get quiet and to use curiosity to guide you through the resistance?
What are your challenges here to teach you?