I am a strong person. It came as something of a surprise to me, when trainers and psychologists alike referred to me this way. Certainly, it took time to cultivate, and it's really only been in recent years that "you're strong" has become a refrain. It took a couple years of weight training, and a really difficult 2015 for me to believe it, but it's true: I am strong.
What I'm not is flexible. I don't think this is uncommon -- It's not that these things necessarily default to a spectrum, but there does seem to be some kind of trend where strong and compact folks like me aren't super bendy.
I was really frustrated in yoga one day when I couldn't get myself into Garudasana, or Eagle Pose, and my teacher, seeing a frown blossom on my face, came over and gently said, "People bring their own abilities to yoga. You bring a lot of strength, and that's great. Not everyone is very flexible. We'll work on it. Honor that strength."
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've had to be pretty strong and resilient to get through this year. It's drawn upon spiritual and emotional reserves previously undiscovered. We're nearly at the end of 2015, and I'm grateful for that strength, that resilience, in helping me move forward.
When you spend a lot of your time being strong, sometimes you forget to stay flexible. There's a certain rigidity I've noticed in myself lately, a protectiveness, a hard exoskeleton that shields me when I'm feeling most vulnerable. It's important, and I honor it for helping me through a hard time. But I'm also noticing just how much my life is requiring more flexibility.
Sometimes we have to loosen our grip to let things happen. Sometimes we have to stop pushing in order to let things ease through. I've been working a lot on breathing through, rather than pushing/driving. Lessening my control has been scary, but it's also been good.
Nothing really happens when you're not in charge of the universe. There really is so little we control. Letting go of the idea that we're in control is a universal, lifelong struggle, but it's a good one to devote some time.
I found I didn't have to do it all at once either; letting other people take the lead, letting the chips fall where they may, seeing what happened when I let go of my vice-like grip on my emotions, my path, my practice, was really grounding. Because really? Nothing did happen. Nothing fell apart. If anything, letting go helped me put myself back together.
So now that I've got strength down, I think I'm going to work on my flexibility a little more. After all, it's all about balance over here, and I think the ability to be able to just go with it is where's it's at for me right now.