Imagine a person trying to do yoga while wearing boots, snow pants, a heavy winter coat, a stocking cap, mitts, and a scarf. In addition, imagine that he or she is carrying a backpack full of fifty pounds of canned food.
This person would definitely be choosing to do HOT YOGA!
He or she would be exceedingly well PROTECTED AND PREPARED if a very sudden deep freeze and food shortage were to occur at the same time.
However, in the mean time, this person might well feel frustrated, awkward, and, quite possibly, even downright miserable. Not to mention much of the benefit of doing yoga would be utterly lost because this person had chosen to artificially limit his or her flexibility. And to make matters even more painful, this person would see the rest of the class doing yoga in comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.
This is an outrageous example, but how often do we limit our flexibility and joy in life because we are scared of being vulnerable?
All the winter gear this person is wearing could symbolize the extra layers of negative emotions and complexity that we sometimes carry around. And the backpack of canned soup could symbolize our fears that there won’t be enough in the future to make our lives abundant.
My yoga teacher Brenna recently read a quote during class by an unknown author. Part of the quote says, “…vulnerability…opens the door to love, grace, and the deepest forms of healing. Your vulnerability, scary as it can be, is inseparable from your capacity for intimacy, creativity and love.”
This quote is at once challenging and wise.
I have metaphorically been the person I described at the beginning of this post more often than I care to think about. I can tell you without a doubt that wearing all those extra layers leads to struggle and is just plain not fun.
But the goodness of this story is that we can gradually become aware of when we are metaphorically wearing extra layers. Then we can search for ways to shed these extra layers so that we are free to enjoy life more fully.
As we grow, we can learn to make our lives easier (and less sweaty).
Game of the Day
Think of a time when you noticed that you were metaphorically wearing extra layers and found a way to shed some or all of them.
How do you feel once you had shed the extra layers?
Where in you life might you be metaphorically wearing extra layers now?
What might it be like to shed these extra layers?
How might you go about shedding these layers?
Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska. He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset. For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.