Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Power of Will

This past month, I have been struggling with the will to rise each morning with focus on a newly established physically demanding workout regiment.  While I readily enjoyed the results of an arduous workout, I realize that I had been viewing it as a formidable task. The challenge I created for myself left me no longer able to enjoy the training.  The issue lies in the will to initiate the process as I found that I was forcing work that I perhaps needed to view differently.  This realization came surprisingly when I received an observation from someone after I expressed gratitude to a friend for the motivational boost to workout despite lack of enthusiasm.  He mentioned that although I received a push to move, in the end it was still up to me to do it. It was an eye opening moment that I was grateful for.  It was the shove instead of push that I needed.   He was correct.  No matter what inspiration you receive, it is still up to you and you alone to muster the power of will to achieve anything that you seek to do - no one or no thing can do it for you.

Problem with Perfection

This "aha moment" led to a personal examination of why I felt so compelled to do all and "be all".  The answer was simple.  I was seeking perfection, wanting too much too fast, and becoming impatient.  I had forgotten my yoga training of self acceptance in the moment, as you are, where you are. I wanted the results of such a workout to be evident immediately instead of taking the time to build toward the goal.  I was mentally  and unrealistically imposing someone else's definition of  "success" over a picture of myself.  Therein lies the problem with perfection.  When you strive and push yourself too hard towards someone else's goal, you will burn out, crash and fail, achieving nothing even close to your original objective.  Humbled by the truth of this reality check, I started over with clear focus.

The Will to Live

During this will power challenge, I was fortunate to view the movie, "A Single Man".  The movie was about life, that despite all we may do to self destruct or move toward the alternative, when faced with it, most of us fight with frenzied passion to survive, exercising a tremendous innate force - exerting the will to live.  I was so moved by the ability we all possess to breathe the breath we breathe.  When faced with the possibility not being able to do so, we will ourselves to the very end to cling onto it yet, we take it for granted, focusing on things not at all important in the grand scheme.  It is the during the quiet time when we are alone with ourselves, in the small instance when we think about these things and make the effort to exert the will to live is when we are most powerful. It is that instance which struck me with awe and moved me to tears. I came to the understanding that, will power is but a mechanism to demonstrate the will to live.
It is very humbling and reminds us to get rid of artificial goals, deadlines, and New Year's grateful for simple things, be grateful for who you are, be grateful for where you are, be grateful for what you can do.

Lifting Weights

All of this started as I had created a weight lifting and muscle toning regimen for myself.  Trying to do all each day. As I mentally cleansed, I began to lift the "weight" of feeling that I had to work until exhaustion.   I was able to think clearly and obtain a new focus with a realistic plan -a plan just for me.  It was time to "recoup, regroup, and restart".  Ahhh....what a beautiful exhalation.  The first step I took was to stop "wearing", trying to "fit" other people's goals and began to wear my own, changing the paradym of what "success" looked like for me.

When you think of lifting weights, you think of moving or manipulating something heavy.  In this instance, as I physically lifted the weight of the bench press or dumbbells, I changed my thought process from negative to positive as each weight lifted is also the lifting of the burden of not wanting to do that which would benefit me, to learn to appreciate what is best for me.  It is acceptance of what I can lift right now, today, at this moment with the understanding that as I do what I can in this instance, I will grow stronger and perhaps tomorrow, I will be able to lift more for a little longer.  Whether I will be able to do more is not important.  The key is recognizing that I, along with each of you possess the will and the power to do whatever it is we are doing in the present moment and that each of us have the capability to generate the fuel to do the very same tomorrow.

It is only at the end of a task will you be able to determine if you are able to do more.  So instead of biting off more than you can chew, accept what is in your mouth today and savor the flavor with gratitude.  If you are fortunate and have an opportunity to take a second bite then do so.

"It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise" 
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you realistically establish your goal for what you can do within the moment, you soon will discover that in time, you will you have advanced far more quickly than you would have if you remained focused on outcome.  Instead, accomplish one step at a time as each step will eventually deliver the overall objective. Slow and steady wins the race.  Taking small increments will ensure goals are realistic and obtainable. Use will power to address each step with the enthusiasm of the will to live.    This revelation has opened my eyes, lifting the weight of the albatross I had hung around my neck, freeing my power, releasing my will.  With new found fervor and renewed power of  will, I awake happy for the present day with passion to climb just the one step I will climb today knowing that each day as I climb this one step, I am one step higher than the day before and one step closer to the step for tomorrow.

Yoga:  Balasana -  Child's Pose

In gratitude for reality checks and restoration of self-truth, Balasana or child's pose. In yoga, the child's pose is a rest between challenging postures.  It humbles, cleanses, calms breathing, settles the mind and the body.  The child's post is an exhaling opportunity for respite, providing the balance and gravity necessary to facilitate the ability to take one step at a time.