Since I joined the gym, I’ve gotten kind of addicted. For being a sedentary, in-my-head type of person, it’s shocking how much I love to work up a good sweat and feel my muscles working hard. One of my favorite physical activities has always been yoga–it’s like exercise and therapy all in one–so the face I wear when looking at the gym class schedule is probably reminiscent of the one I wear when looking at the New Releases shelf at the library.
I can have as much of this as I want? *drool*
The other day we had a substitute at BodyFlow and at first I was disappointed. I adore the teacher who usually teaches at this particular time, but the substitute proved to be a worthy replacement. She was cute and kind and had the habit of repeating a phrase I’ve heard in many yoga classes, though not for a few years: “If this is you today…”
The meaning behind it, if you’ve never been to a yoga class, is to listen to your body. If your body is telling you to slow down today, take the modification. If your body feels strong, push yourself a little further. Emphasis on today, meaning that not every day do we feel at our best. And that’s okay. We can’t push ourselves to the limit every single day. It’s about listening to what you’re capable of right now and honoring that.
And it isn’t just true for yoga. One of the hardest things for me when it comes to working toward my goals is honoring those times when I need to take it easy, to take the easier modification. One thing my dad has loved to say lately is, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The further in you get, the fast it goes.” (Thanks for the early midlife crisis, Dad.) It does feel that way. The days, weeks, and months seem to scream by and it feels like if we don’t work our hardest every single day, we won’t have as much to show for it as we’d hope. The finish line seems to get further away, not closer, when we take a day or two off, even when we’re making steady forward progress.
But let’s get real. Most of the time, it’s just another day in a long line of days where we have different moods and different energy and different people in and out of our lives. Some days we’re just tired of it all, or can’t squeeze one more drop of blood into our work for fear of having absolutely nothing left.
If this is you today, that’s okay.
Things come up. The weeks and the seasons ebb and flow. So do the years. With the girls at home with me all day every day for another few years yet, these will probably the most challenging ones for my career/life balance. I can be hard on myself when I don’t hit my daily goals or when I just can’t bring myself to sit down and focus to save my life. Other days, I feel strong and push myself and it’s so rewarding to see my dream virtually taking shape right before my eyes.
As they say, though, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the trick is to listen to what feels right today. That’s how you build a habit and stick with long-term goals. You still have to show up–never stop showing up for your dreams–but even if you can only put in a small amount of work today, you’re still moving forward. And if you feel strong and push a little harder, it makes up for the days when you have to take that modification.
If this is you today, remember that most days you’re stronger than you think, and that knowing when to ease up is a trait of the strong too.
I’m happy to report that this week has been one of my stronger weeks, and my story and characters are coming to me almost faster than I can keep up with them! Since I spent so much time editing my last book, my characters had a lot of time to play and sort themselves out in my subconscious, so now they’re practically bursting out of my fingertips to get their say. With the major plot points mapped out and the character sheets mostly complete, I’m digging in. These are the days writers live for. 🙂