I’m up early this morning. I set the alarm for 6:05 – on a Saturday – so I could get in a yoga practice before teaching a class and a workshop.
But now that I’m up, going to a super advanced, flowing yoga class is not what I feel like doing at this hour. Instead I feel like reading, and writing, and reflecting, and doing calm, quiet things.
Not quite every morning, but on a regular basis, I have a habit of journaling first thing. These journals are not blogs – they are not public – but rather a personal record of my thoughts. I have two journals. One is a gratitude journal, and each morning I write down three things that I’m grateful for. These things cannot have been said before; they must be independent of any other day, so each day I’m constantly finding new ways to experience gratitude in my life. The other is a journal, which is part intellectual dissection of a reading from whatever book I’m immersed in, and part personal life reflection. I’ve been doing the latter for nearly two years; the former I started last August.
Recently, my reflective journal has taken on a new problem. I’ve encountered a bit of discomfort on my path, and for the past nearly two weeks I’ve been wrestling with this idea in my head – that perhaps I’ve turned in the wrong direction. I’ve been reflecting, and condemning myself, and reading, and talking to close friends, and trying to figure out how I truly feel.
In truth, my first instinct is always – always – to run away. To avoid thinking about it, to avoid discussing it, to avoid doing whatever it was that made this issue come about. And yet, this would be the opposite of a “yogic” thing to do. Yoga teaches us to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Growth means you must tolerate discomfort. Expansion means reform, change, and discomfort. Discomfort is not a stop sign – it’s a test. It’s a force that will make you re-evaluate your decisions and reflect on what you’re really trying to accomplish. In yoga, this discomfort means – when do I stay in this posture, and when do I rest? When do I give more, and when do I back off? When do I honor what the teacher tells me to do, or what my ego tells me to do, and when do I follow my own internal guide?
These questions are the same when you encounter discomfort in any other area. Do you feel aligned with what you’re doing? Was your motivation pure or ego-driven? What was the majority response to your own actions? Where do you find the balance between appeasing your own internal message and appeasing others? Can you get comfortable being uncomfortable? Can you get comfortable being disliked?
Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Jesus – pioneers in our modern day thinking. Most of us think of these men with admiration and with only love in our hearts. And yet, they were comfortable being uncomfortable. They were comfortable being disliked. They wrestled with the pros and cons, and eventually their heart space won out – to the benefit of all of us.
No change occurs without opposition. This opposition may occur internally or externally, but you must be stronger. You must reflect and re-evalute your intentions and then proceed. There’s no use running, unless you’re content to live a life devoid of meaning and your true message.
The world is waiting for you. We need your voice. Step up and be brave. You are needed. ❤