What are you proud of?
Once upon a time if you’d asked me what I was proud of, my mind would have turned to answers that involve BIG achievements. Achievements that I had to work hards to achieve or that are symbolic of major pivots in my life. Running a marathon (or 5). Leaving a career I was good at to pursue a new dream. Having my first piece of writing published for pay. I’d probably even throw in something related to parenting (though this might be a day specific type of pride as my daughter enters her tween years with ample doses of gusto).
What are you proud of?
But lately, my notion of pride and what I am proud of has evolved. You might say that is has fallen. Because if I really think about what I’m proud of, my mind focuses on falling. Or rather, learning to fall. Celebrating falls. Big falls….like belly flop or landing on my face falls.
I was recently asked to share one thing that I didn’t think I could do but have done. The first thing that came to mind was “flying” in crow pose on my yoga mat. The second moment was the first time I found myself upside in tripod headstand pose. I didn’t even have time to think more deeply about these experiences before another moment came to mind...the time that I first stood up on a surfboard.
Except that when I thought about these “successes” – I paused. I hadn’t really mastered any of these. I’m still wobbly in crow pose. I still use the wall to help myself feel comfortable in tripod (and even then, i'm not always able to engage my core enough to actually get into the full pose). And surfing? My standing was shaky and inconsistent at best.
But something more important happened in each moment. Over and over again actually. I had to fall. A lot. On my nose, on my head, on my belly. Sometimes the falling hurt. But in all cases, I smiled as I fell. I even laughed occasionally (especially when I was belly flopping off the surfboard).
Celebrate the small steps
And yet, those three moments are the things that I am most proud of. My crow is wobbly. I need the wall to support me as I work towards tripod. I spent more time belly flopping than catching waves. But instead of falling into a cycle of judgment of my inability, I’ve persevered. I’ve motivated myself to keep trying. I’ve looked inward to focus on each moment to celebrate the small steps.
During my SwellWomen surf and yoga retreat in Panama a few months ago, I was invited to set intentions before our yoga practice. Even my intentions led me to appreciating the the falling...or the “fight” as I called it.
“My intention is to get out of my own way. To let the puzzle pieces come together without adding my own judgements in as stumbling blocks.”
I wrote this in my journal: “I will rise up on the board. Slowly and smoothe – and probably with a great many falls. But I will RISE.”
Next came “Determination without expectation.”
And then…”Instead of surrendering to the fight, I will focus on the flight.” which led me to my ultimate intention and mantra for the week “Find flight in the fight.”
Because celebrating the small steps...the building blocks of the “fight”...whether I am falling or teetering attempting a pose...those tiny blips in time are what makes my heart smile. They are where the true flight happens. Not the stories I would tell myself about my progress (or lack thereof). My perception and thoughts around the big picture are not what matters. To me, it is the awareness that makes these experiences important.
Maybe I’ve got the work of Brene’ Brown, Martha Beck and Eckhart Tolle (and too many others to list here) in my head. Maybe I’m finally internalizing what it means to be mindful or aware. Whatever the reason, I was shocked at first to realize that the things I am proud of aren’t defined by traditional success. They might not seem like a lot to an outside observer. But my heart felt them. My mind noticed. Just thinking about these moments makes me stand a bit taller and feel strong.
And yes, I will probably also do a little dance the first time I feel completely solid in crow pose or am able to hold myself upside down in a tripod headstand without the support of a wall. I’ll be proud of achieving my life coach certification and graduating from yoga teacher training (oops...way to spill the beans on something that I haven’t shared yet!). I’ll be giddy when I’m able to be of service to others by creating the space for them to dissolve their own thinking and start their own transformations.
But I’ll find flight in the fight. I’ll smile and giggle and hold onto my falls (and bruises), my wobbles and my belly flops with great joy and yes...pride.
What about you?? What are you proud of? What is something you’ve done that you never thought you’d be able to do?
*This post was originally published on LiveDoGrow.com