As a person that has a tendency to really push myself to the max, one of the most important ways that I practice taking care of myself is learning when to pull back.
Often this is easier said than done. Lately I’ve been looking into the why of it. Why do I go and go and go and go? When I sit with the question it is clear why that is part of who I am. For one I was raised in a family that gives accolades for always being on the move. I was also never taught to just be and that it was okay to enjoy the here and now. Later in life I came up against so much pain and turmoil that sitting still was just not an option. In order to survive I had to wrestle my way through life and it was not only exhausting but damaging to my health.
Just because I went through all of that stuff doesn’t mean that I have to keep living like that is my current reality. While intellectually I know that, it has taken some time for my heart to follow suit and for my behavior to change.
Because I have a propensity towards being pushy and forceful I have to pay close attention and practice pulling back. Yoga has been invaluable to be in this area. For years I pushed my way through poses, enduring the pain of misalignment and the humility of being in my body. In forward folds I would grip my feet so hard with my hands and pull and pull trying to get my head to my shins. This is such a perfect example of me not pulling back and accepting what my physical limitations are.
What happens on the yoga mat is a microcosm of my life. When I’m pushing, pulling, and forcing my body into poses that it’s not ready for, I create frustration, pain, and tension. When I pull back, take a few deep breaths and allow my breath and body to show me my limitations, I create freedom, opening, and peace. If I’m pushing on my mat chances are I’m pushing in many areas of my life. When I step back, connect to my breath, and choose acceptance over whatever needs it – that is when I feel the most joy and sweetness.
I don’t believe that we have negative or positive traits. Everything has a yin and yang and it’s up to us to find the beauty in all of our qualities. Being a person that pushes through things has enabled me to have the life that I have. It has given me tough enough skin to become a teacher and wellness coach and work for myself. Being able to not give up one myself has helped me create an extraordinary life because I am just not willing to settle for anything less than what inspires me. All of this is wonderful and I am grateful for it. The key with anything is to find the balance. Learning when to keep pushing…and when it’s time to pull back.