If you have any level of specificity in your professional dealings, you’ve likely found yourself with a phrase or two that you use on an annoyingly regular basis. Or, if you’re like me, you have about eleventy-seven of them.
There’s one that I use so often that even I get annoyed with me.
“Get comfortable being uncomfortable!”
I work in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and Group X instructor. In short, I get to help people have fun while beating themselves up. But the truth is that it leads to short-term pain, which is uncomfortable. Hence the phrase.
ANYWAYS. After annoying even myself with the phrase I had to take a step back and analyze my own activity. And the truth is that I’m perfectly comfortable being in pain. It’s my normal. So it’s not uncomfortable. Which makes me a hypocrite for using the phrase so much. Right? Well shucks.
So I had to think about it. And then I had to stomp around pouting, because it dawned on me what truly makes me uncomfortable. Being still.
Have we met? Me be still?
So I dragged my hypocritical self off to a yoga class. Where I have to be calm. Where I have to be still. Where I have to be centered.
I spent the first 20 minutes fighting with myself. This is the part of the class where we awaken our muscles and get in touch with our breathing. How? BY DOING NOTHING BUT BREATHING.
“Please thank yourself for being here. Invite your mind to relax. Invite your thoughts to do nothing but focus on the inhalation and exhalation of the breath.”
Okay. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Thank God I brushed my teeth. Power breather to the right of me clearly didn’t. We’re almost out of toothpaste. Good thing it’s a Costco weekend. What else do we need? OMG! Come back brain! Breathe!
“That’s right. Think of the rising and falling of your chest as you breathe. Feel your body react to the gift of oxygenation. Thank yourself for taking in the oxygen.”
I took a second to peek around the room. Everyone looked so Zen with their palms up and chins lifted. I wondered if they were thanking themselves. Shoot. The teacher is looking at me with a frown. Eyes closed! Breathe! Thank yourself! Good job, Wen. Way to breathe. Way to oxygenate. Do we get extra credit for oxygenating at this altitude? Does the lack of oxygen make this, “Extreme Yoga?” I deserve a new title now that I’m a yogi. Bendy Wendy. Yeah that’s good.
And so it went. I continued to invite my thoughts to shut the hell up. They continued to cruise all over the place. In my defense, I didn’t pass out. So obviously I managed to breathe. I thanked myself for this.
Somehow I made it through the class without falling over or talking (although I still got some funny looks from the instructor).
When we finally reached the end of the interminable stillness, the teacher had us all flat on our backs relaxing each muscle one by one. And do you know how this is done? By invitation. We invite our muscles to relax.
Well okay. I’m a friendly kind of gal. I don’t mind inviting my muscles to a big ole relaxation party. But I have limits. I just do. And when the instructor calmly told us to, “invite your eyes to gently drop back into their sockets,” I simply lost it. I whipped my head up so fast that I pulled a muscle in my neck. WHO HAS THEIR EYES OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS? Who is this person?
Having confirmed that everyone had either already invited them back in or else had them trapped behind their lids to begin with I devolved into complete hysterics. I could not stop laughing. I was just done.
So while the instructor may invite us to breathe and oxygenate and socket wrench our eyes, she likely will not invite me back to class.
But hey. I got uncomfortable ;)