Last weekend I got to witness my complete distaste for being out of my comfort zone...while bike camping, with my road bike and two full panniers, on mountain bike trails. For the first 3 miles I felt out of control, uncomfortable, and walked my bike more than I wanted. Seeing this aversion, or according to yogic texts, my dvesa, I decided to turn my grumpy face upside down and accept that I can choose to actually enjoy being out of my comfort zone. I started having fun with the bumpy roots and rocks scattered about on the trail, but only in time for it to turn into a completely paved pathway. Go figure! The Universe gave me enough time to work through my shit and accept the situation, then supported me (and my bike) by paving the rest of the way.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali writes about this aversion to pain or discomfort as dvesa, or "dividing ourselves from life." I was creating all sorts of what-if's. What if I fall? What if my bike tire pops? What if I hurt myself? These stories separated me from the actual experience of having a great time, breathing fresh air, riding my bike, in nature. All things that I love! I was out of my comfort zone, and I typically avoid things that push me this far into an unsafe feeling.
This is just one side of the sword though. I like to do activities that I'm good at. And I'm good at activities that I like to do. Makes sense, right?! However, always gravitating towards this feeling of pleasure, or raga, causes an attachment to assuming only this outcome. Patanjali states that there is nothing wrong with enjoying life, but when we try to replay this pleasure over and over, the feeling becomes expected. I've always known that growth does not happen inside the lines of a comfort zone, it happens just outside. Like it did for me on Saturday!
My classes this week will explore this double edged sword as it shows up on the yoga mat. We all have poses that come naturally to us, and typically gravitate towards those. I bet you can think of a few. Then there are those poses that we *always* sit down for, or grimace in because they cause us discomfort or frustration. Bhavani Maki says that "if we continue to investigate ourselves through Yoga, we may discover that we are fascinated by the postures that stir us up." As we practice more and more, our citta vritti, or monkey mind, will become more transparent, and our pull towards attraction to pleasure or aversion to discomfort will be exposed. Come expose yourself!
Look at what you’ve got and make the best of it. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. ~ Proverb
I am on the journey to create joy and live with full happiness. And my wish for you is to do the same!
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