Most of my pain is due to hypersensitivity in my feet and lower legs. Touch hurts, shoes hurt, pressure hurts, I’ve had days when even a fan blowing air would cause me to cringe. Desensitizing my feet has always been my biggest battle, and yoga has helped me to not only get used to constant varied sensation but also taught me how to breathe and take my mind elsewhere when the pain gets really intense. That’s what this picture represents for me. It is so painful for my feet to intertwine like that, but I’ve been practicing this pose for a solid month, trying to find that balance between mind and body. Today was the first day that I was able to bear the pain and still take my mind to a happy place. I think there’s even a smile poking out from behind those toes! It’s days like these that I realize just how grateful I am for the small victories. They keep me going 🙂
Are you content with what your life at this very moment, or are you always striving for more? No, I don’t mean ditching your boyfriend for Johnny Depp (well, maybe…) or your 800 square foot apartment for a roomier version (okay so I could understand if you did). My question to you is lofty, and I can’t really say that I even know what the right answer is. On the one hand, I think it’s healthy and constructive to strive for more, to search for your best self and your best life and then go out and get it. On the other hand, always striving for more may be a goal that cannot be achieved. You may spend your whole life searching for that little bit more, never recognizing the beauty that is your life at this moment.
Let’s just say that contentment is something that I really need to work on, even if I do have my reasons for my current thought process. The main reason that I have a difficult time accepting and being content with my present progress lies within my illness. Although nothing can replace the breakthroughs that medical treatments have brought me, a lot of my recovery is left up to me and my work ethic. Generally, the harder I work, the better I get. The harder I push myself, the less sensitive my legs become and the better I feel.
So let’s juts say that its been engrained in me since age 9 to push past my boundaries. If I wanted something, no matter what it was, I told myself that it was always up to me to get it. I know that a lot of my success in life thus far can be attributed to my determination (and a lot can be attributed to good luck), but also that a lot of my frustration can be attributed to my need for more as well. When I accomplish something, the joy of that achievement is short-lived, especially when it comes to my health and the progress that I make in my return to physical greatness (only kidding… or am I?). It takes me all of five seconds to start working towards the next best thing, and I rarely cherish the progress that I’ve made because every accomplishment pales in comparison to the next goal. If I accomplish standing, I’m already thinking about walking. If I accomplish walking, I’m already contemplating running. If I accomplish running, I’m already mentally entering a marathon… You see where this is going, right?
It’s a really tiring battle trying to find that balance between looking for more and being happy with what you have, a battle that I have yet to find out which side wins or which side is right. In all honesty, this is a question that, although I’ve asked myself every time I get disappointed with my progress, I’ve yet to find the answer.
I realize now that I’m missing everything, that I’m not appreciating the success that I’ve worked so hard at building because I want more than what I have right now. I’m going to start searching for that balance between pushing myself and enjoying the present moment, and I challenge you to do the same if you’re anything like me. That doesn’t mean that we stop striving to become our best selves, only that we recognize this moment as it is in relation to everything else. We recognize our strengths, as well as our weaknesses. We recognize who we were yesterday, who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow. We recognize where we’ve been and, most importantly, how far we’ve come. We will no longer allow our desire for more to overshadow our lives at this very moment. The life that we have today is full of beauty, and to not recognize and cherish that is an injustice to ourselves.
So here’s my challenge to you (something I’ll be joining in on, too!). Take note of your small victories. It doesn’t have to be a daily activity or a weekly activity; there is no quota to fill. Just make a little note of any accomplishment, no matter how big or small, that you recognize in your life. I’m hoping that in acknowledging such successes, we will learn to be content and appreciative of what we have right now. It may take a year or a lifetime to get to a place where we see every baby step as valuable and recognizable, but it’s a journey that we must take in order to be truly happy and content.
So I’ll go first… Here is my small victory for today: I went to my doctor’s appointment today all on my own, no parents, no boyfriend – what a grown up I am! Going by myself to my doctor’s appointment means that I can get around independently. I can get my chair into the car, drive my car (yay for no tremors!), put my chair back together again at the hospital, and handle whatever the doctor may throw my way on my own. It’s tempting for me to put a disclaimer that this is a really small victory in the grand scheme of things, but I’m not going to let myself think that way anymore, remember? I am grateful for where I am in this moment and this day. I recognize my progress, no matter how big or small it may seem.
So now it’s your turn! GO!
Happy thoughts and best wishes,
Food for thought: You wouldn’t start to climb the next stair before you reached the stair before that, right? So why would you do that in your life? To get where you’re going, you must go through where you are now. You may eventually reach your goal, or you may not; tomorrow is not a guarantee. All that you are guaranteed is this moment. Acknowledge today for what it is, and try not to get down on yourself when you fall down. Every step you take, whether it be forwards or backwards, is valuable all in its own.