On my morning run, I noticed my knee hurt every time I thought about a specific memory. Granted, I’ve been pushing myself to run further for almost a month now and my knee has been sensitive but this was something else. This was a jab that steadily increased. It happened more than once.
When I became aware of this, I tried redirecting my mind. I didn’t want to stop running and lose momentum so I moved my attention away from the upsetting thought and focused on something in the present moment which was actually quite pleasing. The morning was bright and sunny and I had been feeling strong and optimistic. I had recently made some changes in my routine that made me feel excited again. As I practiced concentrating on these positive feelings and moving my attention away from the lower half of my body, the pain in my knee went away and I was able to continue my run calmly. I didn’t increase my speed because I was still aware my knee was adapting to the extra miles but I did focus on improving my posture and form. In the end, I was able to complete the route successfully.
The body is a phenomenal piece of machinery! It has all these instantaneous feedback loops built in. However, it can be tricky this tuning into the body. How do we know how to respond when we’re growing and trying new things? We all know that growing pains are natural and healthy. Just because we feel pain or discomfort doesn’t mean we should stop what we’re doing, but how much pain should we expect when we’re growing or developing new habits of mind and behavior? How can we manage our growth mindfully so our pain does not hinder our over-all sense of well-being or even worse, turn into injury or long term suffering?
Discomfort and pain are a natural part of growth and development however the type of pain you experience in your body should not be ignored. Pain in the body, such as muscle pain, anxiety or fatigue are opportunities to check in with your approach and your planning. As we grow and develop, time passes, circumstances change and so does our body. There are also shifts in our environment that impact our state of being. Pain is your body’s way of heightening your awareness so that you take the time to adjust accordingly. Your body is a fine tuned instrument and knows exactly what you need to be healthy and successful in the long run.
In my experience, when we learn to listen to our body we can adjust and manage our growth and development more effectively. We can avoid severe injury, switching our goals prematurely or losing the joy of the journey.
Here are some questions to keep in mind as you grow and move toward Self-Mastery.
What are you thinking about when you begin to feel discomfort, anxiety or strain?
What are some positive thoughts to focus on in the present moment?
What is your body telling you about your speed? Can you decrease your speed or build in small breaks to avoid injury?
How can you modify your routine so that you’re having fun and feel more calm?
How often should you talk with your mentor, coach or friend to get encouragement, clarify your goals or get feedback on your approach?
These are a few examples for how we can listen to our body and respond to it mindfully. Being mindful means we are honoring the present moment as much as the future goal. It means we embrace our body as a phenomenal piece of machinery designed to tell us what we need. Growing pains are inevitable but we can manage our growth and development wisely.
I was petrified of making a mistake when I was younger. The stakes were high. If I fell and tore my pants, I’d have to hear it from my parents, especially if they were new. If I dropped a glass of milk, I’d hear about the precious glass and be chastised for wasting milk. I remember the time I dropped my double ice cream cone! Boy was I horrified. And that look on my father’s face! It fell to the ground two seconds after he had paid for it! Mistakes are hard to recover from when you come from poverty consciousness. You get one chance and one chance only so don’t mess it up. And if you repeat the same mistake more than once– all hell breaks loose. What the hell is wrong with you?How many times have I told you…?
On the other hand, coming from abundance may translate into more freedom and flexibility. Poverty inhibits and constrains. Abundance provides you with a cushion, a sense of security. When you have the resources to fix a problem, there’s much less danger and risk involved in your energy.
That’s not to say people with money don’t consider risk because they do. It’s just the energy frequency is different. When I say energy frequency, I mean, your mindset and your emotional stance, in other words– your inner state of being. When we speak of emotions we might experience more anxiety, fear and impatience with a poverty consciousness and more curiosity, excitement and patience with a consciousness that was cultivated in freedom and flexibility. Sometimes, we get caught off guard because our frequency is working silently behind the scenes.
When you’re born into an environment where you experienced lack of love or financial security, it’s more likely that you’ll experience anxiety, fear and impatience when trying something new in spite of your current circumstances because we remember what it’s like to make mistakes when we were young and impressionable. No one wants to feel shame and so we do what we do to avoid pain. We may act compulsively, deny ourselves opportunities or remain stuck in a unexciting routine.
How can we learn from our mistakes and cultivate a life based on growth and possibility?
Clear space by acknowledging when you were burnt before and forgiving yourself for it
Think about how you felt when you made a big mistake in your life. What happened and who was involved? Who’s fault was it? Consider whether you took and continue to take full responsibility for the event… and if you judge yourself too harshly. Tell someone you trust the story and ask them to listen with compassion. Alternatively, journal out the happening. Frequently, when we take the time to relive an event with care and attention, we discover that the mistake we made was rooted in our basic human need to be seen, loved and accepted rather than a defect in our nature. Often, we bury stories in judgment statements that block us from experiencing the truth behind our pain.
Here are a list of judgement statements we often use to punish ourselves for past mistakes which keeps us in a fixed “there’s something inherently wrong with me” mindset and next to them, I offer alternative statements that respond to the fundamental goodness in ourselves.
When we speak to our goodness, we are treating ourselves with compassion and dignity. We restore our natural proclivity for curiosity, excitement and flexibility.