I Choose

I started doing a yoga challenge with a group of friends. I do yoga fairly regularly as a post-run stretch. For the past nine weeks I have had a very stringent workout schedule. I could tell that my body really needed a break so I veered from my plan and deemed this to be Recovery Week. I’m doing only my yoga challenge. No other workouts.

Today’s mantra was I Choose.

The nice thing about yoga is that it is a very personal journey. It’s not “just stretching.” It’s a full body and mind experience. It has taken me years of practicing to get to a point where I can release the external world and focus on my breath. This doesn’t mean that it is always easy for me to stop my brain from making lists of what I’m going to do next. We all know that I love a good list, but I’m working on it.

With the workout schedule (my “pre-training” for the training phase of my Iron Cowboy), I have found myself going through the motions and pushing myself beyond what I thought I could. Everything I have done has been all about my body. Making my body stronger. Making my body faster. Willing my body to break the barriers that I have always believed existed. I have forgotten about my mind and heart during this process.

As I was going through this practice today and thinking about “I Choose” I pondered on what the end of that sentence meant to me. I choose what? What do I choose? Do I even know? It’s been a very stressful few weeks at work. I choose to not be stressed. OK. I choose that. How do I not be stressed when there are forces that are outside of my control. Is “I choose to not be stressed” the right thing for me? Stress ebbs and flows. I don’t typically get stuck in the mire, so to speak. I choose to be happy. How trite does that sound? It is trite enough that it doesn’t feel like it’s worthy of being the “I Choose” for this practice.

I spent half an hour thinking about what I Choose.

I thought about what I have coming up in the next few months and the pain and anguish I will be subjecting my body to. For what? A race? Proof that I can? Ego? Stubbornness? Family obligation? What? Why do I have this plan to push my body well beyond what its limits should be?

I thought about where this drive is coming from. Am I feeling pressure from external sources to do this? Am I in that mode where I lived as a kid that says I can’t be a disappointment to anyone? Am I doing this for me or for someone else? I spent most of my growing up life and a large portion of my adult life trying to please other people at the expense of myself. Is this just another one of those times?

I know what I will endure over the next few months but when I think about “I Choose” I wonder if I am choosing my own path or someone else’s.

It’s a strange head-space to hang out in.

I Choose.

I Choose this path! Me. I Choose to work hard to accomplish an insurmountable goal because I want this! I want to be stronger for me. I want to participate in this race for me. I want to work hard for me.

I Choose ME. I don’t know that I have ever done that before. It feels…. a little odd. A little bit scary. I’m afraid I will fail. I’m afraid I will fall flat on my face. And worst of all, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to pick myself up if I fall.

Regardless, I Choose Me.

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