What if I asked you to swim across a lake?
What if I asked you to ride your bike across the country?
What if I asked you to walk to the next major city?
What if I asked you to [INSERT a physical activity that requires a tremendous amount of physical and/or mental rigour]?
By simply reading these questions, you may already start to feel in you body the physical or mental or emotional responses that may come as you bump up to a challenge.
This is normal.
Our exceptional home, our bodies, have many built in automatic responses that protect us from harms way.
As you think about each question, maybe one seems interesting or intriguing. Or maybe all of them result in some fearful self talk. Something like, "I can't do that!"
Now imagine the questions if the context changed.
What if I asked you to swim one length of a pool?
What if I asked you to ride your bike to the corner store and back?
What if I asked you to walk to your local park?
What if I asked you to [INSERT a physical activity that requires a reasonable amount of physical and/or mental rigour]?
Did that feel better?
It is easy to forget that context matters.
Case in point….
A couple weekends ago my family visited the local aerial park. It has threes levels of obstacles to maneuver while being anchored into a harness and clicked onto a guide wire.
We've gone a couple times before and this time both of my boys reached the height requirements to do the entire course. My oldest, Liam said, "Mom, let's go to the top to start."
Not thinking much of it, we trekked to the top and clicked on the top wire. We took time to check all the obstacles and found one that seemed like a good place to start.
Liam clicked over to the obstacle (a stepping stone like walk across to a cargo net climb) and he breezed across with no concern.
I moved over my clamps and stood at the edge, ready to go.
All of a sudden my feet would not move. As if two cinder blocks were attached to the bottom of my feet.
My legs began to wobble as my feet stuck in place.
My heart rate jumped and I could feel my chest start to rapidly vibrate.
My hands became sweaty and my hold on the clamps felt moist.
I was 15 metres up in the air and my body would not let me move!
I stood there for what seemed like an hour and finally my son made his way back to me and we decided to go down to the second floor.
The trepidation slowly seeped out of my body and I was ready to try an obstacle (on the lower level!)
As my obstacle practice grew, my confidence grew (that I wouldn't fall off the structure). I no longer had the fearful thoughts or physical responses.
Fast forward to the end of our time, Liam and I went back up to the highest level. Low and behold, my feet moved and I traversed over multiple obstacles.
So what happened?
I allowed myself and my brain to first acclimate at the lower levels (i.e., a different context). I practiced and increased my confidence before I could try a higher obstacle.
Nothing like a real life scenario to remind us to start small and build on success!
Insight to Action:
Take a few moments to think or write down the answers to these questions.
Feeling, whether it be a physical sensation or an emotional response can provide SO much information about our context. Want to dive deeper? Join me on October 1 at Yoga Within for the Feeling Your Yoga Workshop. This two hour workshop helps tune your awareness and deepen your practice by witnessing what signals your body shares with you. Register here!
Want an individualized experience? Reach out to me directly - firstname.lastname@example.org - to chat about a tailored one-on-one approach.
Stay well and happy moving,
Missed my most recent newsletter? Don't worry, I've got your back. Find all my exclusive letters here on this private blog. ~Lisa