In school, I had difficulty learning. Reading wasn’t my strong suit, neither was math. I was, however, an eager child, with a need for… well, what was it, really? Ambition? Or was it an urge to grow? To reach my potential? I aimed all my energy toward my head. During a test or exam, my concentration got so immense I forgot everything around me. Time and again, I was surprised (most of) my classmates had already left when I finally looked up. I hadn’t noticed them leaving. Blushing, my ears glowing, I’d then slip out of the classroom.
(Inner) growth is a universal principle. Ever met a 1-year-old who stopped learning to walk? This urge to learn is what I need. It’s no coincidence. It’s essential in the complex and ever-changing world around us. But it doesn’t happen by itself. You have to put in the work.
Putting in the work was something I did vigorously. My parents never had to encourage me to do my homework. No matter how hard I found something, I sank my teeth into it and clenched them tightly until it was done. Eager for knowledge, it’s what I was and still am. And I persevere. “Giving up” is not in my vocabulary. Naturally, it came with a price. It shaped my character. Or is it character, and has it shaped me? Either way, I had yet to realize I was squeezing myself into a straitjacket. In what I thought was good for me, what was expected and desired of me. With all my might I tried to meet standards. But what these standards actually were, that part was still unclear to me.
The more insight we have, the more open we are to new things. It helps us to create more mental space. I recently read that having more mental space makes it easier to adapt. Adaptability requires a flexible mind, without (and here it comes!) losing yourself. Your inner core needs to remain stable.
This, among other things, is what I learned through yoga. I used to send all energy to my head and became a walking head, losing all connection to my body and myself. Ignoring the, initially subtle, signals I received. My body then pulled the emergency brake. You can read more about it in my blog “Listen to the Whispers of your Body”.
After years of practice, the connection between my body and mind has improved significantly. It’s how the body’s self-healing ability works. Nevertheless, I easily fall back into my old patterns when I get stressed, no matter how many courses and training I have completed. The difference is I’m more aware of it now, and my relapses are, therefore, shorter than they used to be.
I no longer have to meet the high standards I set for myself. Whether or not social changes also played a part in this, that’s a discussion for another day. I learned to no longer consume everything presented to me (especially through media channels). In fact, I shut most of it out. I don’t even want to take it in.
It seems our minds are wired to look for new possibilities. We have an urge for inner growth. It’s is a principle of life. It means the possibilities the world offers are endless. Frightening to some, now liberating to me.
What matters is to follow my own path and intuition. With, of course, the risk of making mistakes. Learning changes us. We can’t learn without it. And the best way to learn is by making mistakes. Think about it, you don’t have to learn what you already do well. Make many mistakes and continue to learn. Just make sure you don’t always make the same mistake(s).
I no longer care what “others” think of me. Instead, I do what suits me and what feels right. I live life on my own terms. My body tells the way, even if it differs from my surroundings.
Things are constantly evolving and I try to grow in everything I do. The obstacles I encounter are challenges along my way. I use my eagerness and curiosity to overcome them. Giving up is not an option.
For those interested
Do you have an urge to grow as well? Are you interested in yoga and would you like to experience the benefits of yoga yourself? You can! The exercises are easy to learn and (with a bit of practice) can also be done at home. If you don’t live in or nearby Ommen, our Online Back Care Basics program offers a great alternative! Or join our free 6-day challenge “From Back Pain to Back Gain” first, and discover what yoga can do for you!
If you live in the neighborhood or are visiting Ommen, feel free to visit us. Or sign up for a trial class or a private class.