I remember once, my cross-country coach told me:
Quit trying to make it easy. Running is always going to be uncomfortable.
Now, I’m not sure if real runners would agree with that statement (Patty? Can you shed some light?) but regardless, I’ve always remembered that sentence. Because something changes once you accept the idea that it doesn’t have to feel perfect. That you’re not striving for what you thought you were striving for.
You start to realize that the journey is the destination, the process is the product, and the ritual is the reward.
I’ve been thinking a lot about these ideas lately (it’s taken almost 6 years for this notion to even absorb into my brain) and sort of meditating on the concept of discomfort. My yoga teacher loves to say:
Yoga’s about finding that still, strong, silent place, in the centre of the effort.
And that resonates with me. That’s one of the major benefits of yoga, is learning how to just sit with it, endure postures, find the beauty in the feelings of exhaustion or tension. And I believe, as my teacher does, that learning these lessons with your body and brain during a yoga session can translate into everyday life, making it easier to sit with uncomfortable situations, stress, general dis-ease and discomfort. I also believe that this can have amazing benefits in your life. Life’s never going to be easy, and learning to calmly tolerate is an indispensable skill.
This applies to my creative pursuits as well. The more I learn about writing, art, and craft in general is that worrying about your potential audience is the quickest route to failure. Focusing on the product instead of the process can be crippling for an artist of any kind. One of the things I’ve heard time and time again from many different sources is that the writing is the reward.
So that’s why I’m trying to see the beauty in the discomfort. Trying to really believe that life’s not always about being happy and comfortable, sometimes it’s about slogging through, or being the calm, silent eye of the storm, or enduring things both to get where you want to be and be where you’re supposed to be. Process is product. Ritual is reward. This is a hard paradigm shift, but I’m trying. Join me?