16 May, 2013

Letting myself off the hook

Today was Power Vinyasa with Nicole.

It was pretty close to a standard Journey Into Power sequence by Baptiste, in the 60 minute format. As the class neared its end, and we arrived at back-bending, Nicole called for 3 Wheel poses. If I remember correctly, I did the first two, and then I did not do the third one. I decided that I had had enough. I told myself that my body doesn't need any more Wheels today. I told myself that I had generated enough heat and it was time to begin coming down. Lying there on my back, I heard Nicole encouraging people to do that final Wheel. I heard her ask us, if we chose not to do it, to notice that we were making that choice. And I found myself in a bit of a quandary. What is the line between listening to my body and letting myself off the hook? It's a simple question, but it's also a difficult question. Because all of the games that we play when we trick ourselves around that grey line off the mat will also come into play on the mat. Nicole actually spoke about that notion of "Wherever you go, there you are" a few times during class. I could have done the third Wheel. There have been times in the past where I have been injured, where the right number of Wheel poses for me was zero. There have been times where I have tentatively tested the waters, and done a Wheel, and felt a little sore, and then laid off the pose. But there have been many times, recently, where I have simply decided "Today I am not doing Wheel."

I asked Nicole after class how we can determine the difference, and what is the right choice. We discussed it briefly. She asked me if was feeling pain, and I said no. And the conclusion I came to, especially in the context of my life in general, is that I let myself off the hook. I was just discussing the other day the fact that I never achieved my potential as a runner in high school, not because I wasn't talented, but because I never was willing to push myself to the edge. When it got tough, I backed off. I never explored that point. In our training workouts, I would always run among the leaders and, each year, the coaches had the expectation that this would be my year to shine. And each year, my performance fell short of expectations. And it was absolutely because of letting myself off the hook. And when I think about my attitude toward work, music, or any other thing that requires a certain level of holding the pedal to the metal, I always grant myself passes.

Nicole asked me why I hold back like this in my life, and I told her it was because I always feel like I need to hold something in reserve, just in case. She asked me what I am holding these reserves for, and I didn't really have an answer. The best I can say was "Just in case."

What am I afraid of? Why do I shy away from working "too hard?" What am I holding on to with these reserves?

So many questions.

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