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When the Going Gets Tough

Uncomfortable situations typically make me want to shut down or run away. What are your initial reactions to when things feel uncomfortable? What is your tendency when things get tough?

Humans have been engrained with flight or flight as part of our survival mechanism. We want to protect ourselves from feeling pain whether the pain in physical, mental or emotional. We’ve learned how to hide inside and close down our energy centers when the going gets tough or when we feel threatened. When we close down, we are trying to protect the sensitive pieces of who we are. We spend a lot of energy trying to defend our self doubts, inner fears and insecurities.

Energy needs to move. The only thing constant in life is change which is what the yoga culture teaches us. It’s what nature shows us. It’s what we know deep down inside but somehow, we get stuck protecting the weak parts of who we are. We protect that energy within.

What if those weak parts of us are just out of balance? There is nothing wrong with those emotions and instead it’s actually the ego we are worried about. We are trying to protect our stuff that we’ve accumulated throughout the years. The weak parts can be anything - fear, insecurity, anxiety, doubt.

Last week in my yoga classes, I used the visual of a tornado to explain how we can move through emotions. Imagine all those energies that make you want to run are inside that tornado. We have to remember that we are not those emotions swirling in the tornado. We are the experiencer, the watcher, and the feeler of the emotions.

If you are watching your tornado go by, what is your reaction? Do you want to run? Jump inside? Close your eyes and pretend it’s not there?

What if we can practice moving those weak patterns along just like a tornado goes by? Emotions come in and grab us but we remain conscious and open. We exercise our will to keep going. We let that energy come in, we communicate, and then we allow it move out.

Growth is a process. Every step that we take to keep going, we are exercising and strengthening willingness to grow. Your center of consciousness is always stronger than the energy pulling at it. You just have to be willing to exercise your will. There is absolutely nothing wrong with energies that bring us down. They are here. It’s not about ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist.

Instead of protecting the pain, what if when the going gets tough, the tough get going?


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