Over the last few years, I have been on a continual quest to detect when something isn’t working for me and then sleuthing out how to resolve it.
Here is an example. Let’s say I want to get stronger in my body, but I really don’t like going to gyms. I’ve tried and tried, but have finally realized there is nothing in the ambience there that really replenishes me in any way.
I have also realized I prefer to work out solo, since working out my body is also a time when my mind can break free to sort out issues, come up with creative new ideas and just have fun.
And I like working out outdoors best, because I crave hearing nature, even if I have to strain for its sounds in between the big city’s blaring radios, whirring helicopters and sputtering car mufflers.
This exact type of contemplation led me to three new beloved exercise options: bicycling, jumping and “running” on the trampoline and hula hooping with a weighted “adult” hoop. Plus I added in some free weights (best done on inclement weather days) and stretches for good measure.
Problem solved….at least for awhile. Then, my thyroid starting to act up (or more accurately, to not act at all). Within a matter of weeks, my whole body became suffused with chronic pain. Even after two months of thyroid medication and continual medical monitoring, the pain wasn’t abating. In fact, it was getting worse.
The only thing that helped the pain was movement. But this made working a challenge, since the moment I would sit down at my laptop to write, the pain would distract me. So I would get up again. Before I knew it, instead of actually working I was spending my days sitting down and getting right back up again, puttering here and there – anything to avoid not moving.
All the exercises I had grown so accustomed to doing and looking forward to and loving and trusting were suddenly not working anymore. My neck and back got more stiff, and at night my knees, elbows, shoulders and hips would become so sore they would actually wake me up!
When I would get out of bed in the middle of the night or in the morning, I would creak and hobble across the hardwood, wondering if this time next year I would be wheelchair bound or bedridden.
Because I loved my exercise routines, it was harder for me to realize that, once again, it was time to make a change. Since I had no idea what to shift to, I prayed and meditated. And that somehow, in the usual mysterious ways these things unfold, led me to yoga.
What is really funny is that a dear friend of mine had gifted me with a brand-new yoga mat just a month or two before all of this began to unfold.
But her gift had put yoga on my radar again, even if mostly because I wasn’t doing any. My chiropractor had also been mentioning finding some at-home exercise programs on YouTube.
One day, waking up in the most severe pain yet, I headed over to my laptop and googled “yoga.” Rather instantly, I found myself subscribing to a channel called “True: Your 30-day yoga journey.”
It was really the title that got me. The words “true” and “journey” felt like where I was in my life – on a journey to find out the true underlying causes for my pain and what could ease it.
The concept of a 30-day program appealed because I desperately needed structure in my life, something I could do every day, and preferably every morning right away after I woke up, to push the pain back and start my day with a clearer mind.
And, as I quickly discovered after just doing Day 1 of the 30 day series, the yoga somehow DID push the pain back in a way none of my regular trusted workout regimens had been able to do!
Even more magical, our teacher, Adrienne, kept saying this phrase over and over again. “Find what feels good,” she would say. Unlike most other yoga instructors I’ve had, she didn’t seem to mind at all if I got into a pose or came out of a pose or moved around in a pose in a way that was different from what she was demonstrating.
In fact, she even seemed to be encouraging it! As I would wobble and wiggle my way up and down and back and forth on the mat, she would suggest modifications, encouraging her virtual at-home audience to “find what feels good.”
Find what feels good. Find what feels good. On the mat and off the mat, find what feels good.
Somehow this is translating to my “off the mat” life as well. Find what feels good in finances. Find what feels good in freelance contract negotiations. Find what feels good in diet and nutrition. Find what feels good in my wardrobe. Find what feels good in my hair color and nail polish and socks.
What I am discovering is that no area of my life is off limits or out of bounds for finding what feels good. What is even cooler, though, is that as I look for what feels good in this area or that area of my daily life, I always seem to find it!
Today’s Takeaway: Are there any areas of your life where you feel like you are coping with something that really doesn’t feel good? Have you been telling yourself you have to live with it like that – to just deal? What if you went back to that area of your life, be it your daily routine or how you fix your hair or the conversations you always seem to have with that one challenging family member, and asked yourself honestly and humbly to find what feels good and give that a try instead? If you do decide to try this, I would love to hear about your experiences! 🙂