“Don’t practice ‘struggle’…or that’s what you’ll get good at,” my yoga teacher quipped lightly during class on Sunday. She continued discussing the finer points of mastering balancing half-moon while I remained fixated on that statement. As a swimmer I’ve learned not to fight the water. As a commuter I’ve learned not to get angry and fight the traffic. As a student of my own mind I’ve learned not to drag myself further into the strangely addictive combative misery my brain likes to create. As a yoga and martial arts practitioner I’ve learned to be mindful of my movement and forgiving of my mistakes.

How often, though, do we choose the path of most resistance? We ruminate over what we wished we’d said during an argument and collect imaginary artillery for the next encounter. We wear “busyness” like a badge of honor as we commiserate with coworkers about our seemingly bottomless workload. We berate ourselves for not having the most money or fanciest title or shiniest car.

Do we “struggle” against outside forces or are we bringing some of that on ourselves? Some legitimately bad things out of our control do happen; I’m not discounting that. I’m talking about the mini-choices we make each day: how we interpret something, how we emotionally respond, the new truths we create for ourselves. I have known people who took every comment as an insult and viewed every person as an adversary. They were miserable in body, mind, and spirit, and most of the conflict was created in their own minds. If it wasn’t for bad luck they wouldn’t have any luck at all.

Is your truth an everyday struggle? Has “struggle” become the norm? Claiming helplessness to the struggle and reacting from a place of panic is like being dragged in a buggy by wild horses with no reins. You think you’re in charge and you couldn’t be further from the truth.

And lest this post be misconstrued as a “humble brag” I am currently trapped in my dobok pants thanks to yanking, squirming, and–ahem–struggling against the increasingly tightening drawstring in an attempt to rush back into street clothes after class.
At least it’s still a fashionable time of year to wear white.

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