On being brave

It was a particularly shitty day.  I had retreated into my home, away from the crushing defeat of the world outside my doors.  The first thing I had thought of was a nice glass of wine.  Or a bottle.

That was a familiar feeling.  No, I’m not an alcoholic.  Far from it.  But I am familiar with ways to which I am capable of making myself unable to feel.  To look away until it no longer ached anymore.  And alcohol, well, it was one of the easiest ways to get there at that moment.

But that day was different.  Instead of numbing, I forced myself to be able to feel.

And the first and only thing I knew how…was to get on my mat.

So I went.  For the first time that I could think of, I consciously did not run nor hide nor try to forget.  I didn’t pretend everything was just fine.  If I wanted to grow, I needed to be brave.  I needed to face every single throb and sting without retreat.

I sweated and ached and worked.  And I breathed.  Because I knew that the only way is through.

I laid on my mat halfway through class, unable to move from exhaustion.  I had pushed too hard.  Or maybe, my body could only take so much pain that day.  Regardless the reason, I reluctantly accepted it.  Instead of running or walking away, I forced myself to face whatever it was that came my way in the safest place I could think of.  I needed to know how to get myself past the fire – not by running through but by walking on the coals with bare feet.  Why?  Because there will come a time when I’m older where things will be worse than that day, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to get through it with the tools I’ve picked up along the way.

I didn’t leave the studio enlightened or even any happier.  But I was able to breathe just a little bit deeper and that was enough for me.

Bikram says ‘You have nothing to lose because you had nothing to begin with.’

Mr. Choudhury, I absolutely will not beg to differ.  I had nothing else that day but everything to gain.

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