I've been thinking a lot about the physical practices I do, specifically yoga and crossfit. In crossfit, there are weights that are prescribed for lifting workouts. I started at one and immediately was like, "nope, too heavy," and moved it down a bit. But later, talking with a friend, I was thinking, "was it really too heavy? Or was I just not wanting to push myself? And even if that was the case, what is so wrong with that?
I talk about it all the time in yoga class... the line is really fine between pushing yourself and pushing too far. Between needing to adapt and modify and actually needing to stay and discover something was possible that you didn't think was. I call it the messy middle.
The question I've been asking this week is, "How the heck do I know?"
My answer, so far, is that I won't know until I do something one way or the other. With that crossfit workout, dropping weight was the right call, because my wrist started talking to me. It wasn't too heavy, I probably could have pushed through, and I also could have hurt myself.
In yoga yesterday, I went up into wheel for the first time in a long time. I immediately felt sharp pain in the middle of my back. Ok, nope. Definitely not. Time to adapt.
But there are times when we need to have that extra push. Where it feels uncomfortable and scary, but going there will actually shift something and surprise us. How the heck do we know when those moments are? I think it's the same. We've got to just try and see what happens, collect the data and then decide what to do with it.
The best I can do is listen to my body in the moment and make the best choice I know to make. Sometimes that choice feels impossible or scary and I think I know the outcome. Sometimes the choice is easy.
I also think there's something to honoring the choices I make. I can look back at a workout and think, "I should have done more," and perhaps I should have, but I don't really like the word should. I don't like how it implies I didn't do my best. What I might say instead is, "oh, interesting, that workout was easier than I anticipated that way, next time, I'll try it another way." This puts me in "data collecting mode" as opposed to shaming or blaming myself for not doing enough.
I don't know about you, but I've had enough lately of telling myself I'm not enough. I'm tired of shoulding myself and trying to live under unrealistic expectations. In reality, I just won't know until I'm in the thing, so why not do my best to listen in, to pay attention, collect data, and choose boldly?
The great thing about making a choice is, if it doesn't work out how I planned I can choose again. At least, this way, I'm doing something about it.