Bending in the Winds of Change
I love to sit in a gentle breeze and watch the grass bow so gracefully in the wind. Each blade bending so easily and so naturally without the slightest hesitation brings me a great sense of peace and flow. And when the air goes staunch each blade returns to its erect stance as if never blown, but always flexible and ready to bend again.
I am going to be honest here in that I often pride myself in my adaptability, and perhaps in these moments of quiet reflection I like to identify with these blades of grass. But this is not a trait to be easily maintained. I do feel I have come a long way (mostly thanks to years of work in a kitchen) in my ability to compromise, to consider other routes to the same objective, to hear other perspectives, to be flexible in my plans, and to adapt to constantly changing or unexpected circumstances. But sometimes I still need to consciously channel my inner grass. I find that especially when it comes to bending my own expectations or thoughts of how something should be, I don't always openly accept the chance to bend. There's always a bit of initial resistance. I think it is a human tendency to get locked into our current ideas of how things "should" be. Sometimes so much so, that we refuse to see what "is". When we are open to releasing the "should's" and accepting what "is", we can then begin to free ourselves to be our best in the moment.
Sometimes this requires bending our own ideas and expectations. Sometimes it requires bending to meet someone else halfway. Sometimes it requires bending our own ideas of the best route. Sometimes it requires bending external or societal expectations. Sometimes it requires bending a definition or an accepted rule a little bit. In all areas of our life, circumstances are always changing. Denying that a change is occurring and resisting the need to change our approach often brings a rigid feeling of stuckness. Resistance prevents us from recognizing the possibility of alternate routes. Accepting change and learning how to adapt our approach to accommodate it, allows us to maintain balance and continue in flow without compromising our inner strength. In fact, sometimes it is in bending that we find our own fortitude, and much like the grass, our own resilience.
It is easy to accept and embrace the need to adapt to changing circumstance in a kitchen because you do not really have the time to resist. People are waiting and food needs to get out now. Sometimes help doesn't show up. Sometimes necessary items don't come in. Sometimes equipment breaks. Sometime you run out midservice. Often, things don't go as planned, You have to adapt rather quickly. You don't shut the kitchen down; you focus on what you do have and pick a new approach from there. It is a good place to learn about bending. And while I feel like this lesson has crossed over into many other areas of my life, sometimes it is still hard to translate into less immediate occurrences.
Three days ago I was given a physical diagnosis which came with restrictions I was not prepared to accept. I am an active individual. And I am a little overly committed to my daily routine, because I believe I am doing what I "should" do to maintain my health and keep myself fit, motivated, and happy. When they first said that I am not supposed to do any high intensity workouts or lift weights above my waist I felt resistant. I asked, " Well then what CAN I do?" as if there were no other feasible option in the world. "Well, you can swim.. or do any low impact cardio really..." "Great, jackass, are you gonna buy me a pool?" Okay, I didn't say that, but I was thinking it. I was also thinking that no low impact cardio is going to burn 550 calories in 25 minutes, which is what I generally accomplish with my normal routines, and I am a busy woman! I immediately told my husband that these people were crazy and I could not live like that. Not to mention the fact that I am not about to stop lifting my daughter.
Over the next two days I tried some yoga and stupid cardio which took twice as long with only 1/5 the result of my normal routines. It was kind of disheartening. Yesterday morning, I was tempted to just jump back into my regular thing... I can take a little pain. I was convinced that my way is the best way and the only way to achieve the results I want to maintain. My husband voiced disagreement with this decision, pointing out that while I may be able to stand the pain right now I may be causing myself more problems down the road; and as much as I hate to admit that his reasoning led me to open my mind a little, it is then that I decided to channel my inner grass.
This morning I was ready. I decided to accept what "is" and try to adjust my ideas of what I "should" do both to accommodate these restrictions and to maintain my own idea of the "best" way. I decided to adjust my approach and release my expectation of the result. I threw out all the routines and incorporated several moves I could think of that would not break restrictions, using primarily bodyweight and incorporating new positions that would allow some lifting without compressing the spine and even a few of those cardio and yoga moves. According to motobody I reached 12 min of heart activity and burned 336 calories in 22 minutes. I think I can live with that! I used my inner grass to adapt to the current situation and opened my mind to use all of the knowledge I have to develop a new and creative approach to feel like I am still accomplishing my fitness goals without jeopardizing my own well-being. When I lowered my resistance to the idea of needing to change and opened my willingness to bend, my brain was able to come up with new options that I had not and would not have ever considered in the previous mind state.
When we convince ourselves that it is all or nothing, that it is one way or no way, we fail to consider all of the routes in between. We block ourselves from even considering a myriad of possibilities. When we acknowledge our own capacity to bend with the wind, we are able to identify new ways to embrace change that allow us to maintain our dignity in the process.
What are you resisting? Where can you learn to bend gracefully? Close your eyes, and picture that grass blowing. It is beautiful isn't it? You are beautiful! Next time you feel you are about to break, next time you feel it has to be a certain way, or that adjusting is impossible, call on your inner grass. Be willing to bend a little. There is always room to adjust your approach without compromising your values. There is strength in flexibility. You may be surprised how much easier things can be when we are willing to bend a little, how much you can grow through through the process, and how beautiful life can be.