Use the Block

Being-challenged-in-lifeIn the physical yoga practice, props are often used to help a person find more ease and space in different poses, more room to breathe. If the hamstrings are tight, for example, one might put blocks under the hands in a stretch to “lift the floor up.” If the shoulders are a place of tension, a person might use a strap. Sometimes we put a blanket under the tailbone to create more length in the spine. Basically we use blocks (straps, blankets, bolsters, etc), to remove blocks. And as I said that in class yesterday, “Use the block to remove the block,” I realized the same holds true in life.

Buddha is credited with the quote, “The obstacle is the path.” It may not feel like it when we come face-first into a wall, but we strengthen through effort. If you look back on your life so far, you’ll probably notice you’ve learned the most about yourself when times were tough. When we’re faced with a challenge, whether it be personal or professional, we’re usually forced outside our comfort zones. We may discover that we need to develop a new skill set, or maybe the challenge for us lies in asking for help. Perhaps you’d rather endure a root canal than admit that you can’t do something on your own. It could be that you discover a place where you still have some healing to do, where things are still raw. Whatever it is, when we come up against these kinds of obstacles, turning and going the other way isn’t an option. There’s no way under, over, or around, there’s only through. Maybe we aren’t ready to face that yet and we sit and numb out, or we turn around and see if there’s anywhere to run, or we beat our fists into the dirt, or shake them up at the sky, but eventually, we understand the jig is up. And so we head through calmly, or we panic and flail, or we take one step back for every two steps forward.

Change isn’t easy for most people, so it’s not surprising that many of us wait until the proverbial sh&t has hit the fan before we get real with ourselves. The thing is, once you’re on the other side of something, you see how it’s liberated you. A lot of the time, we sabotage ourselves; we become our own obstacle. Maybe fear is stopping us, or some self-limiting belief, or idea we have that we’re unworthy of love, or not special enough to do something amazing. We can all be completely absurd in our insecurities and doubts. Having to face those places is never comfortable, but of course it’s freeing, because who wants to live life in fear? That’s a thing to be afraid of. Dying without truly living.

When you’re up against it, when you feel lost, alone, confused, scared, uncertain, see if you can also reassure yourself. It might be painful and lonely and deeply uncomfortable, but if you hang in there, you’ll use the block to remove the block. You’ll create that space so you can breathe easily.

Wishing that for you, and sending you love,

Ally Hamilton