Over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about journey and destination, my own of course, and how to express to you all how important it is to share the ups-and-downs along the way honestly. Often times we see people arrive at certain destinations and maybe we celebrate them, but also deep down we feel some type of way. What about me? Why not me? I’ve been thinking maybe, just maybe, it’d help us all out to learn just what it took those people to ARRIVE. Sure they’ve gained, but what did they sacrifice, go through, lose, change or need to adjust along the way? Then we can ask ourselves if we’re willing to go through all of that to get where they are or what they’ve gotten. So I’ll share…
Going back to school and trying to handle the responsibilities of work, home and other commitments has been quite a stretch for me. I’ve dubbed 2014 – “the year that things fall apart.” There’s a Marilyn Monroe quote that goes something like, “Sometimes good things fall apart, so that better things can fall together.” It’s the falling apart that’s gotten me some tears, sleepless nights and writing lots of prayers in my prayer journal.
Things are getting better, but not without requiring me to make some adjustments. I’ve practiced and led others in the practice of yoga over the past few years and some basic principles of that practice have been applied to my current journey. Here goes –
Establishing Base and Dynamic Tension
I’ve had to plan ahead A LOT. As anyone who’s made plans knows, things don’t always go according to plan. I’d be on top of things if it wasn’t for a few variables; you know like the car battery dying causing me to lose hours of study, my child – God bless her – not keeping up with her own homework, system compatibility not allowing me to turn in my paper the specified way, the phone constantly beeping or ringing, important family and friends events… Life happens while you’re living it and there’s no stopping it, slowing it down…it’s either keep running or get run over.
So where’s my base? In yoga your base is your hands and your feet. To maintain balance you have to spread your fingers and toes and mindfully connect with the ground. The same can be done in life, stay grounded by determining your base and staying connected. My base of support in life is my faith in God, so I ground myself through reading His Word, prayer, fellowship and worship. Exercising my faith is where muscle-building, dynamic tension comes into play.
Pay Attention to Your Alignment
Neutral spine, knees over ankles and supporting your spine with a stable core are important to every movement. Staying focused on my core stability keeps me from falling over. Keeping in mind my goal along the way helps me maintain my alignment and keeps me on course when I get blindsided by life. I have to remain open to making the necessary adjustments.
I’ve really had to be willing to adjust, as well as make some mistakes. Part of that is setting boundaries with friends, old and new. I can’t go to every gathering or celebration that comes up during this season of my life. I won’t be able to respond to every phone call or text as promptly as I used to… I might even forget to return a call or request at times. I’m sorry.
Those who support me will understand and be there to celebrate me when school is over without any grudge or love lost. I have to accept change. I can’t beat myself up for not being available, consistent and as flexible as I might have been in the past because my focus and lifestyle have changed.
A lot can change in a year; also a year goes by really fast. Whatever remains after the year and whatever is gone, I’m peace with it. If not, it still will be what it will be. *singing* Que Sera, Sera!
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
This is a huge one. Every now and again I look around. I’m not doing what everyone else is doing. <insert> SO WHAT! <here> LOL! Looking at and comparing myself to others only leads to distraction, second guessing my journey and insecurity. I can’t keep a good base and alignment if I’m looking around at everything going on around me, even outside of me, instead of focusing on me and what I’ve committed to doing.
The truth is everyone who is reaching out for better in their life and setting goals to achieve higher heights struggles to figure out just what better and higher is and looks like. Hopefully we’re looking for answers from the right sources. God first – ask Him for wisdom and discernment. Good counsel next – find mentors who’ve done it and peers who will take the journey with you. And not least of them is a supporter or two or three who’ll cheer you, hear you and help you stay clear. Focus. Focus. Focus.
Shortening the Lever
Stretching is the goal, not straining. You don’t want to hurt yourself. So if you feel muscle strain or even pain, God gave you joints that bend. Bend at the elbows or knees to shorten the lever and reduce stress on your growing muscles.
I don’t want to burn out, quit or get injured along the way. So along with setting boundaries, I’ve had to exercise my “NO” muscles. This is especially hard for someone who incorrectly attached her value to saying, “YES.” I was given the keys to freedom from this by a wonderful lady who told me once, “Those who love you won’t stop loving you just because you say, ‘NO.’” It’s so true. Saying “YES” when you want to say “NO” is being dishonest anyway. The ‘YES-woman’ in me rears her ugly head every once in a while, but I’m getting better at putting her away.
As much as it pains me, I’ve had to stop doing some of the things that I used to do for others, and lessen my service. However, the benefit of furthering my education isn’t just for me. It’ll help me to serve better. It’s actually helping me to serve better as I go through the process. I’m looking forward to seeing the quality of my service change and grow.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
Focusing on my breathing is one of the most important aspects of my practice. Proper breathing affects your state of mind, calms you, and helps you handle stress. It’s important to remember to breathe and take into account how you’re breathing. However, it’s easy to forget to breathe when you’re trying to get into, attain, and hold a pose.
I have to remember why I decided to go back to school. It’s easy to get caught up in what I’m doing and forget why I’m doing it. I can’t let my mind wander off, or get so caught up in what’s not happening or what’s going wrong that I neglect to recognize that it’s going. Like I said, this goal and journey is only a year. A year can go by really quickly when you’re busy. I don’t want to let the year fly by and say, “Woo Hoo! I’ve graduated!” And not have taken in any of the scenery along the journey; enough to keep in memory, enough to cherish, enough to make this bumpy ride worthwhile. After all, THE WHY is to stretch and grow in ways I could never have imagined. And that’s exactly what I intend to do.
The Jesus in me, Loves the Jesus in you! ❤