As toddlers, the second we gather our strength to stand, we almost immediately fall (sometimes flat on our face), AND we get right back up. We try again, and again, and again until we master standing up, walking, and soon find ourselves running much to our delight.
Decades later, however, when we attempt a new practice, learn a new skill, or begin a new endeavor, so often we find ourselves giving up before we’ve even begun (especially if our lives or salaries are not on the line). We might even go through the motions, convincing ourselves we are truly making a concerted effort, but scarcely do we give that two-year-old toddler try.
It is said that “the reason most people give up so fast is that they look at how far the have to go, rather than how far they’ve already come.” We often neglect to ever honor ourselves for how far we’ve come: no matter the distance, it’s not far enough.
Last week I found myself staring straight at (or away from!) two skills I’ve wanted to hone: Patience and Compassion. After what felt like tireless test of these two traits, I criticized myself for not having done more: I should have been kinder, more patient, more compassionate. But how far had I actually come?
When we slip, we are so quick to condemn ourselves for those moments which “evidence” lack of growth. The truth is, however, it’s in those moments, those moments where we feel we are not as strong, and not as patient that true growth occurs.
We learn just as much from our failures as we do from our successes, if not more. In taking this to the mat, or to your desired skill, how far have you come? Using the mat as either your literal or symbolic analogy, have you made it to the mat? If so, that’s huge; in many ways, the biggest step. If it’s your seventh or tenth time, you’ve gained at the least a small insight into what a practice looks like, feels like. If it’s your twentieth or thirtieth time you are building your practice; a hundredth or thousandth, the practice looks wholly different. It may not be perfect, but can it ever be? What is perfection? Alfred Aiken said, “drop the idea of “success”—know that Perfection is Perfect Now.”
With that, what’s “perfect now”? And when you find yourself in moments that are not as strong, not as balanced or you are not as flexible (in your mind OR body), can you get excited and know that THAT’S when the growth occurs? If we get excited about the moments we stand or walk, just as we did decades ago, we might find ourselves running sooner than we think.
Rachel (if you want these weekly to your inbox, subscribe below!)