Strength in darkness

I was doing yoga this morning, listening to a podcast from my virtual teacher, Elsie Escobar, and I found myself getting annoyed. I found myself wanting to stop, feeling like I had had enough, feeling frustrated for not being able to get into triangle pose, for not being able to hold the pose long enough or stretch far enough. I wanted to quit. I wanted to turn it off and get on with my day.

And then it occurred to me that sometimes when we feel most uncomfortable, we are exactly where we need to be. In experiencing discomfort we touch on a part of ourselves that needs some work, that needs some attention, that needs exploration. In finding those parts of ourselves that frustrate us, we are identifying a place on which we need to shed some light, to get in there and get dirty and clean out whatever is creating frustration and aggravation. It's in experiencing these feelings that we find what it is that needs the most work.

In my mind, these feelings of frustration are like a clogged pipe. There is dirt and grime and build-up that we need to look at and scrape at and see what's underneath. In the cleaning out we make the water flow better, we make the pipe stronger, we unclog the dirt and we fix not only the clog but the entire system. It's the same with our frustrations.

Because those things that frustrate us, that are not easy, that are painful and difficult and that we would prefer to avoid, are exactly what we need to focus on. We need to look at the pose and look at the feelings of inadequacy and feel the anger and feel the pain and move into it, not away from it. In coming to a yoga pose that used to be so easy for me, that I have difficulty with now, I am reminded of how things were in the past, how I used to be, how I was more flexible and stronger and more able to focus. As I have grown older I find that it is not just the poses that are more difficult but it's the "more difficult" that makes me berate myself and question myself and want to give up. But in working through the pose and breathing, in looking at what once was and what is no more, I can accept where I am today. Rather than berating myself for not being where I once was, I can congratulate myself for being strong enough to take on this challenge. I can feel pride in getting on my yoga mat and trying to stretch.

Because sometimes when things do not come easy it is more satisfying to accomplish the goal. Because sometimes when we are younger and more flexible we don't appreciate the strength it takes to try again. Because sometimes when we don't have to work at a pose or work through a problem, the solution does not bring us as much joy. Because sometimes it's in the work itself and in the working through that we find our inner fortitude and a strength of character we did not even know we possessed. Because sometimes in working into the dirt and muck that has piled up over time, we scrape and claw our way down to something brighter. And in cleaning out the darkness we bring light to ourselves and we shine our way out to something new that lies ahead.

This is the life.


  1. You inspired me to get up out this chair and do thirty minutes of dancercise with hand weights. Thank you.

  2. Hello Allison...It's true that sometimes when we are most uncomfortable, that is exactly where we are supposed to be and very close to breakthrough. Susan

  3. So very lovely sweet lady. Such great and inspiring insight!

    It's interesting how what you speak about is so close to cleaning (at least for me). I sometimes wait waaaaay too long to clean my stove top. It gets all kinds of guck and caked on foods and stuff. It takes such effort to clean, and it frustrates me!

    I know when I'm done I feel better. I've also found very efficient ways to clean my stove-top even if I have "forgotten" to clean in a timely manner.

    Working with your body is sorta like that as well, as you have discovered.

    We can learn from EVERY situation when we feel frustrated, put things off, choose to procrastinate, avoid, as opportunity to deepen our understand of all that we are, this way we bring our yoga to every moment!

    Lovely thoughts. You've inspired my week!


Post a Comment