By: Leahanne Woods Smith
Through awareness I've come to see where my weaknesses are, and where I am strong. Each of us are so different, and so valuable!
I've seen where I could benefit from strengthening up in certain areas such as having a talk with someone about a truth that I am afraid to expose, or dedicating time and energy into a new project or a change that I need to make.
Challenging myself in group exercise classes in front of a mirror, and around others, has really upped my threshold for challenging myself. It has pinned me into spots to accept myself where I am.
The exercises can be super challenging in Hot Pilates. There is usually instruction on several intensity levels of the same exercise shown by the instructor in higher intensity types of classes. I always try the highest level of intensity first, the fullest expression. But many times, I have to switch to the modified version part of the way through the exercise. But, I dig past where I would have quit before. I do the very best that I can do.
One of the four agreements in don Miguel Ruiz's "The Four Agreements", is ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. This is a monumentally important agreement!
Our spirit wants us to gain traction, dig in, and grow. We can only really help others when we help ourselves first.
I believe, a big way to help ourselves is to reach beyond what we think we can do. It is necessary to seek farther than the view we have been given.
The views we have been seeing ourselves through are often very limited. Unknowingly, we have perceptions of ourselves of being only one way because of what we have been trained to think through the normalcies of life.
Life in the same culture, same people, same expectations, day after day, year after year, can cause us to believe that we can only achieve certain things, and that it is illogical to think that we could achieve other things. These thoughts are lies.
We can push through the lies our brain tells us, by practicing pushing beyond our perceived limits.
Many times we don't even see that we've limited ourselves. And, what we practice sticks. If we practice staying aware and going beyond, we will do that. If we practice being complacent, and comfortable, we will do that until we feel the call of the wild beckoning us again.
Long, long ago we all heard the call of the wild with no filters, and we acted in our true nature.
Since society began, social norms have increasingly presented objects for us to push past in order to get back to our wild nature. But, it is absolutely doable to get back to true selves within this lifetime. We do this by practicing pushing beyond the limitations, in some way, everyday. I call this digging in.
A great way that I have found to practice digging in and pushing past perceived limitations is by doing my best even when no one is looking.
An example of this is being a truly helpful volunteer at my son's school.
My son goes to a charter school, and it is required that the parent/s complete twenty hours of volunteer work for each school year. The volunteer work keeps us engaged with the school, and our children. And, it helps the hard working staff, builds morale, and relationships.
I usually choose to work in the cafeteria. I help the maintenance staff to help keep the floors and tables clean by cleaning between each wave of classes, ensuring that each arriving class has a clean place to sit. And, I help open condiment packs, milk cartons, and whatever else the kids need.
There are times when the maintenance staff have to go attend to some other need in the school such as unlock a classroom, or clean up after a sick child.
I keep cleaning. All the stuck pieces of dropped foodstuffs I see, I mop. And, sometimes I have to scrape. I know that it's something that the busy maintenance staff has to do. I want to be a real help with my volunteer time, not a halfway helper.
I know from working as a healthcare worker that when someone helps me, it boosts my energy. I feel that someone cares, and that what I do is seen as valuable. I've experienced this boost with just a little help. The routine nitty gritty jobs get done faster, and with more pride. Since I know this, my eyes are open, and I see where I can be of real assistance instead of standing by doing minimal work to get my volunteer hours done. I do my best to help them.
I've realized that when I do my best in one place, it carries over into another place. I am confident that by staying aware and doing my best in smaller places, such as scrapping smooched gummies off the cafeteria floor when no one is looking, I will be more aware and will do my best in the bigger places in life. This is because I have opened up more parts of myself. I did this by digging in. And, I will continue to open myself up more by digging in on a regular basis.
From a dug in deep position with ourselves, we are able to face huge challenges and know that we will do our best. From a deeper dug in position, I have been able to look at someone and state my truth, even when my voice shakes. I have been able to stay with myself and see farther plains of existence of what I really want instead of compromising my view. I have come to believe that way more is possible for me than I perceived earlier in life. I have expanded through digging in. I am a needed component of life. So are you. We are all so valuable! We are all so worth the effort it takes to dig in.
Of course, there are times when doing our best means to rest. Our biggest challenges in self-acceptance may be when we need to sit out. An example of this is when we need to cancel plans in order to get that needed rest. Or, when we are not chosen for a position we've worked towards for years. That's when the challenge is in learning to love ourselves where we are on a more concentrated, deeper level. And then, we just pick right up and keep going again. But, this time we are coming at it from a deeper level. As HeatherAsh says in Warrior Goddess Training, "Love the limitations".
We practice digging in here by practicing stillness. When we meditate, or when we simply sit with ourselves in the mirror or in nature, we are filling ourselves with more capacity to accept ourselves in the stillness; in the pure and simple existence of our spirit. See more about the necessity of stillness in Warrior Goddess Way.
May we live our lives with fullest expression by digging in and doing our best!