Unlike sports, our culture doesn’t prepare us for a truly awakened life. It actually works in opposition to us most of the time, presenting plenty of resistance training, no shortages of negative viewpoints and a seemingly endless stream of financial or relationship challenges. So most of us aren’t quite ready when we start waking up to the possibilities of ease, letting go, flow, fit or intentionality. We know the words but not really the experiences.
And we sure as heck don’t know how to build on those first rosy experiences, past the first few rushes of freedom and hope. No one has taught us that it is a marathon, not a sprint. No one has prepared us for the degree of attention that is necessary to sustain these new skills and awarenesses.
The fact that it is work is not a bad (or even an unpleasant) thing. But when it comes as a surprise, it can be somewhat discouraging. Just imagine what you would feel like when you discovered that you couldn’t win the gymnastics title by simply imagining yourself doing back handsprings on the balance beam. Instead, you actually had to do the damn things. Over and over until you got it right most of the time.
Obviously, this involves quite a few bonks on the head, falls off the beam, doubts of sanity for even trying, temptations to give up and many, many moments of fear. Life is just as challenging as the balance beam but no one tells us that with as much practice as an Olympic athlete that we can conquer all of our fears, recognize that we are amazing and complete, accomplish all of our dreams and feel really, really good about ourselves (and consequently about others).
Just remember to expect plenty of falls along the way. Don’t expect that a personal growth challenge will have any less practice time than Olympic gymnastics. Pick yourself up when you “fall” along the way, have patience with yourself for the journey and keep practicing. Keep practicing all of the good things that you already know, keep learning new skills and keep listening to your heart and before you know it, you will have moved into elite status (where both the challenges and opportunities just get bigger and better!)