Making progress is not about being perfect. It’s not about not falling off the wagon, because that little (or big) tumble is inevitable.
The way I see it is that, the beauty is in you getting back up at all when things go wrong. It’s the wonderful nature of humans to feel compelled, eventually (in most case) to rise again with more strength in our hearts.
I recently had a situation in which everything got turned upside down, and it’s something that is still affecting me on a daily basis. My reaction was not to fall off the wagon. I literally RAN off the wagon chasing after biscuits. I ate and drank whatever I wanted, didn’t exercise much, slept really badly (sometimes on purpose, I’m sure of it) and generally ran myself into a rut.
I suppose yoga teachers and coaches aren’t supposed to tell you about the times they are falling off the wagon. But I’m telling you because I know it’s going to happen. It will happen to me again. Over and over again. It will happen to you a bunch more times. There’s no point pretending that won’t be the case.
What I think yoga teachers and coaches should tell you is all about the times they fell off the wagon. So you don’t feel alone. So you don’t pretend that at least on one occasion you haven’t eaten/drank/*replace with your vice everything you could get hold off in an effort to numb or make yourself feel better, albeit it briefly.
So when I’m falling off the wagon – I go to food and drink. I stop being active and I start hibernating. I go inside myself, and not in a yogic good sort of way, in an “I need to turn my brain off from the world right now leave me alone please” sort of way.
This time, though, I did it without guilt or judgment. I let myself be. I knew that I would make a decision to be different soon and that rushing or forcing it wasn’t going to help me. I was OK with being totally off-course, in a dark but comfy place, waiting to feel like a phoenix instead of a sloth.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feel great. But some little voice in the back of my head (or my soul) was able to hold the space while I did what I needed to do.
It took about 3 weeks, but I got there. Today is the second day I’m back on track with my workouts. I’ve started a new meditation practice for this month. I’m re-engaging back in my life in the places that I want to. I’m getting back into top speed again.
My situation hasn’t changed that much, but my approach to it has. I’m ready to start living again.
I think the fact that I have a healthy practices when I am in a good place makes it easier when this happens. It’s like there’s some kind of mental or muscle memory that’s pulling me back. My body does actually WANT to exercise. My mind does actually want to be calmed and follow the breath. So I always get drawn back to the practices, that muscle and mental memory never fades.
So rather than insist on avoiding falling off the wagon, what about holding the space for when you do? How could you make it OK, and therefore get out of it more effectively? How could you acknowledge it for what it is? Why not try doing more of that today?
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