Monday, February 3, 2014

i choose, umm, the easier option, please?

imagine you're at a restaurant, and you're really hungry. you're provided with two equally-priced options: 1) you go pick all the ingredients up from the garden and store, bring them back to the restaurant, help prep them, help cook them, help set the table, and then you can eat the dinner. or, 2) you eat the exact same meal, but three hours sooner, since the restaurant has already done the prep-work for you.

well, i don't know about you, but if i'm really hungry, i'm going to choose option two. because it's easier. and just because i don't mind working for things, and i actually like cooking, that doesn't mean that i wouldn't choose the easier option in this situation. it seems to offer the same results with noticeably less time and effort.

while this analogy isn't perfectly aligned with life's choices, we can still find similarities. just because option two allows us to get to the result more quickly, there are potential trade-offs: by choosing option two, we've missed out on an experience, an opportunity. maybe we lost a chance to learn some new techniques or lessons. we probably wouldn't appreciate the final product as much either. so maybe option one seemed easier at the time, but maybe option two would have made many other situations easier in the future.

recently i had a really close friend tell me that she had liposuction about a year ago. she hadn't told anyone about it, but she was starting to shift some of her thinking around her experience, and she shared her experience with me. before i continue, let me set the scene: this is a young, beautiful, athletic woman. my sister once commented on a photo of this young woman saying something like "wow, she's beautiful! is she your friend??" additionally, she's in a loving relationship.

but, she suffers from some insecurities. before her surgery, her thinking patterns were telling her "you don't look good enough; the easiest way to change this is through a surgery." after the surgery however, she has come to realize that she took what she thought was the easiest option to make herself feel happier. it didn't work. because the option she chose wasn't the easy option. it wasn't the better option. it just seemed that way at the time.

in gabby bernstein's 40-day guidebook "may cause miracles", she says:
our fear-based minds believe that change is tough and self-reflective work is difficult. but let's face it: being consumed by fear is far more difficult than showing up for love--we're just tricked into thinking fear is "easier" because it's more familiar. when people at my lectures complain that change takes too much time and energy, my response is, "it takes a lot of time and energy to feel like crap, right?"
this excerpt reminded me of something one of my favorite yoga teachers, christina sell, said at a workshop once. she was talking about a relationship of hers. she said that she was thinking of ditching the relationship because she thought it would be easier than working through all of the hard stuff in the relationship. she received some advice from one of her teachers that said something to the effect of "think of how hard and painful it will be to end this relationship."

no option is ever really and truly easy. but for some reason we trick ourselves into thinking that the fearful responses are easier. personally, i love to avoid things. my go-to move when something sounds difficult or time-consuming is to simply distract myself with something else. i don't know what i expect to happen: that the situation will just sort itself out? that someone else will take care of it? that a magician will appear with a wand to make it disappear? secretly, yeah, i guess i'm constantly keeping my fingers crossed for my fairy godmother to appear.

but, since, let's face it, that isn't an entirely realistic option, i've started to do some work to address this fearful thinking. as i've started doing this work, i've discovered it's much easier than i expected it to be. i've been addressing things that i haven't addressed in over a year: contacting people to sort things out; being honest and open with people that i thought wouldn't accept me if i had those conversations with them.

and yeah, gabby, it DOES take a lot of energy to keep fighting myself, to put myself down, to feel judged. so why in the heck would i want to continue to do it? (umm, i don't.) those habitual responses seem easier, since i'm so accustomed to them. but they aren't necessarily easier. and they most certainly aren't better.

in the yoga class i taught tonight, we practiced identifying these options on our yoga mat. yeah, it seems easier to let the floating leg just hang out and relax. because we think "relaxing is easier than working." but really, as experienced yogis know, "a tight leg is a light leg." and then we meditated about being open to seeing different options, the non-habitual responses, in our everyday lives. if you're a yogaglo subscriber (or wanna try a free sample membership), here's a good centering meditation by elena brower to try to start to bring you in to this frame of mind.

i'm re-wiring. i don't want the anxious avoidance to be ever-present in my life. i want to choose love. i want to be there, happy and calm, to see what happens when i consistently choose love. will it be harder? will it be easier?

who cares? it will be better.

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