I just returned from a challenging run along the rocky coastline, which I would never have been able to do only three weeks ago. Earlier this month, I finally heeded those inner nudges and started taking Crossfit classes. And I love it.
When I show up, the coach greets me by name. I join the rest of the women – sometimes matched up with a partner – and we all do the daily workout together. I am almost always convinced that I can’t do what’s written up on the board, until I do. I sweat like crazy, cheer on my fellow women warriors and leave feeling awesome.
And yet, wherever you go, there you are.
I found myself in a familiar place the other night during a work out. I was working on a “double jump” where the goal was to swing the rope beneath my feet twice in one high jump. I tried, failed, tried, failed, tried, and failed again. Finally, I jumped with all of my might. I might have expected some praise here for my efforts, but instead I hear, “Erin! You’re working too hard! You’re making it more difficult than it needs to be!”
As these words met my ears, I nearly deflated. There I go again. Making it harder than it needs to be.
But, but, but, I wanted to say… there isn’t any other way!
And yet, there is. There is always another way.
There is the light-hearted way, the compassionate way, the adventurous way, the what-have-I-got-to-lose way… and the list goes on.
The hard way is when we push through it, rather than building up supports around us. It is when we refuse to seek or accept help, or to heed the messages from within us. Hard is when we expend extra energy worrying, worst-case-scenario-ing, forcing, guilt-tripping and resisting. We want to stomp our feet and insist that it must be so.
Here, we are so focused on obtaining a certain outcome – or preventing one – that we miss the opportunity to create the experience we want.
I returned to Crossfit the next time with the intention of enjoying myself. And what I discovered was that I took care of myself far better. I gave myself permission to slow down. I found humor in my attempts at hard things. I appreciated myself for showing up. I stayed in the moment, rather than anticipating what was to come.
And guess what? I accomplished my greatest feat yet on this day. I went easy on myself, and yet I did what initially felt too hard.
And so, I offer you this little bit of wisdom as you round the corner into an oft busy time of year:
You needn’t make it hard. There is another way.
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