I woke today, after a few days of tough training, and my body was tired. Yesterday, as the first day of a weekend, my mind was tired, so the day was spent not doing a great deal. However, today I woke mentally tired. Nothing new really, especially after a busy week. As I usually do when I am tired, I look for something to help resolve my pain. I had seen a yoga session at a new Yoga house called Yin Yoga. This was new for me, and so me and my tired body woke to do this.
For those who don’t know, and as I learnt, Yin Yoga is a series of Yoga that allows you to stretch for long periods of time, 3-5 minutes, per pose. This allows your body to relax into the poses, and as such, applies moderate stress on your connective tissues, to increase circulation and enhance flexibility. A great series for those of us who do large amounts of functional fitness in our daily lives and need the stretching.
With this in mind, and bear with me through the details, I was meant to go to a 10am session but missed it by the time I got out of bed. Instead, I decided it will be done in the afternoon. So for the morning, Bryan and I went for breakfast and did some work on another concept. My mind was still fatigued and busy entertaining the idea of being elsewhere. By the time I got home, and after a few changes in plans with friends, my mood had changed and I began to feel down on myself. My business partner had other work to do, so I couldn’t sit with him for the day to keep working on our concepts, and my own self motivation was nowhere to be seen.
By the afternoon, and after a lot of procrastination, I found myself not in the mood to even get to the next yoga house. What a dull mood to be in. Instead, I decided that surely Youtube would have some Yogi on there to teach me. I can do it at home. One of the fundamentals of Yin Yoga is that the prolonged stretching of the muscles puts you in a position of pain at times, and it teaches you to breathe through the pain and allow your body to relax. This really resonated with me. Just breathe through the discomfort, and allow your body to stop fighting against the pain. The whole day today, this is what I wasn’t able to do. Instead, I procrastinated. Felt anger. Felt sadness. Couldn’t make a decision. Could not even hear what my mind, body or soul felt like it required. And even now, as I write this, I feel the lasting effects of that discomfort sit around my body, waiting for my mind to fight against it in order for it to win again.
I spoke with Bryan about this today, who said to me, “You are now your own Master. You have no one to answer to. Figure out what it is that is bothering you, and lets find a way to resolve it.” But that was it. I was my own master. I couldn’t look to anyone else to help me resolve this. I had to do it myself, or I had to spend the next day or so in this state of paralysis where energy no longer flows, and fear and anger would reside.
When I was in the corporate world, I dreamt daily about being ‘my own boss’. About the ability to make my own, answer to no one, and know no boundaries. Yet, the reality of this is almost paralyzing some days. It doesn’t mean it isn’t for me, or it is something we should fear. Rather, it is a more intense version of reality. To know that each day is possible with your own intent. To know that you answer to no one and that your successes (and your failures) lay on your shoulders alone. That for every minute you have, it is your choice as to how you use it. That reality can move even the most motivated and driven individuals into a state of shock. For so long, I was a slave to the clock. A slave to the social expectations, business requirements and social norms of what is ‘right’ and what ‘should’ be done. Someone who was driven by ideas and values, but unconsciously even more driven by rules and obligations. It was easy to blame other things for what I could or couldn’t do.
As I continue to maneuver through this change from ‘expectation’ to ‘choice’, these challenges keep arising that test the very depths of my will and ideals. They challenge all parts of what I ‘think’ I stand for, and ask me on a daily basis,
“Are you really your own master?”,
“Do you really have the courage to be accountable for every minute of your day?”,
and the most frightening, “Are you strong enough to succeed?”.
These are things we all ask ourselves every day. For those of you going through a similar journey, your challenge is to decide where you sit with these questions. Are you comfortable knowing that life will dictate these for you, and you are merely a character in the bigger picture? Or would you prefer to know that you are the one calling the shots of your reality? These are scary questions, but only you can ask them, and most importantly, only you can answer them for yourself.