Productive Pain

It felt like my body was made of  rumble strips as I lay on the massage table today and LauraLee tried to smooth me out.

I said, “I’m really trying not to seize up and armor against your touch, but it’s hard.”

She said, “It’s okay to experience some productive pain.”

That concept of “productive pain” has been ringing in my head all day. I’ve been thinking about all the “take-aways” from my recent training and one of the big ones was precisely this idea of productive pain.

The style of yoga that sends me, that transforms me, that changes me biologically and spiritually and emotionally is the kind that has me on my knees begging for release (figuratively).  And when that release comes, in the sweetness of that release, I understand myself.

Productive Pain.

For other people, productive pain is not the goal.  No pain is the goal.  Relief of life pain is the goal. Life is painful enough without adding long holding times, shaking (churning), and the tapas needed to burn off topor and sloth.

And I get this, I do, and that’s why I lead a mostly soft practice most of the time.  But without the productive pain of tapas (discipline), the rumble strips in the body, and in the psyche will never be smoothed out.

Core Rituals

Today was my 252nd day in a row of Holosync.  No misses.

I think the act of doing something religiously, with discipline, every day changes you.  It’s this kind of persistence that we admire in athletes, and musicians, and writers who complete manuscripts.  We recognize (even if we don’t quite understand or feel it) what it must have taken to persist in something for a long time without giving up.  It is admirable.  It is inspiring

Disciplined people shine a little brighter, somehow.  And I mean this quite literally.  There is an aura about them.  Their eyes emit a little bit more fire than a person without a disciplined habit.   In yoga there is a concept called Tapas.  Tapas literally means “to burn” but in yoga pertains to self discipline and burning through resistances.  Every time you resist the urge give up, and instead persist with your resolve by acting in accordance with your goal or aspiration, you build a little more fire, a little more heat.  You glow a little more brightly.

A lot of people try to do hard things but give up.  And that’s why we can recognize and appreciate a feat that must have taken a lot of work and self-sacrifice and self-discipline.

I become inspired by people who do that.  I am inspired by those who climb Everest or bicycle across the country, or memorize complex musical compositions or write amazing books or do highly skilled athletic maneuvers.  But I also recognize that for the most part I can’t or don’t want to do those things myself.  I don’t have that particular interest, nor do I have the body type or brain configuration that would enable me to do that.

But I can meditate every day. And do my yoga. And write in my journal. These are my core rituals and they ground me and support me.  I don’t know what I’d do without them.

I’d probably just watch Dancing With The Stars and drink beer and eat Fig Newtons.