I was expecting today to be gruesome. I’ve read The Four Day Win*, I know that it’s a turning point and I had decided to just accept the hard as part of the process.
Then it wasn’t hard.
That leaves me wondering if it would never have been hard, or if it was the acceptance that made it easy.
I know that a lot of strife comes from not going with the flow, from resisting the things that are and wishing for things to be different. I have trouble drawing the line between things that can and should be resisted and things that must be accepted.
I have always been moved by the Serenity Prayer**, the last line about ‘the wisdom to know the difference’ almost brings me to tears. The wisdom to know the difference. That’s huge. It’s a central question for me, when to try hard and when to stop pushing. How to figure out if my efforts are only making my life harder.
I can remember being 8 or 9 years old, and having a hard time with something. I don’t even remember what it was now, just that I couldn’t understand why it had to be that way. In trying to help, my Dad said to me, ‘Chris, you gotta learn to roll with the punches.’ – why my decidedly non-athletic Dad was working a boxing metaphor, I don’t know – I was just frustrated by the advice. I didn’t really get it.
I’m better at rolling with some punches now, but I still struggle. When is enough effort, when to put the effort in, what’s too hard, what’s an unfair fight? I rarely know the answers to any of these questions.
Then when you add all of this to one of my favourite quotes: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” (George Bernard Shaw), the result is a very confused dame. How can I know when I am being the unreasonable ‘man’ [sic] and hence should continue, or when I am not rolling with the punches and hence should just move with what’s thrown at me? How can I foster the wisdom to know the difference?
I’m trying to trust that if I am still, if I am trying to be mindful, then I will know on some level when I should roll and when I should be unreasonable. I am trying to trust in the process and let go of the result**, to allow things to become clear.
That’s why today was so important. I did let go in some way, and things were good. It was a good lesson for me.
And I am committed to the process of getting up early to do yoga, and then doing some writing, every day for the next month. They are both the sorts of habits I want to continue but I will see if they will stay in this form over time. I don’t know what the results will be, whether either will get me where I would like to go, but I feel like the process is good for me.
I am trying to go with the flow to create the habit, while being an unreasonable woman to make progress in writing and exercise. Maybe that’s where the balance is?
*For the record, I have never been in a diet war. I can no more judge myself for eating than I can judge myself for being short. I was interested in the psychological processes she described.
**I also like the same sentiment expressed in a different way ‘For every ailment under the sun, there is a remedy or there is none. If there be one, seek and find it. If there be none, then never mind it.”