I got schooled at the gym this week. I was taking my usual weekly strength class and at the end of class the teacher marched right up to me and said:
“What are you doing girl?”
Now, imagine a 60-year old G.I. Jane (without the buzz cut) and you have my weekly teacher, Evy.
I stared at her wide-eyed and my cheeks started to flush. I am about halfway through my second pregnancy and I have a big old belly at this point. I love exercising at this point in my life as now it is all about my sanity and self-care (it used to be about getting smaller). I have received a lot of advice from doctors to keep going at whatever pace I’m comfortable so I started to feel defensive.
“I can see you straining honey, ” Evy continued.
“This time is about maintenance. It’s not about gains. You are building a human. It’s okay to go for a lighter weight.”
This woman pushes EVERYONE incredibly hard in our class, so it was surprising to hear her ask me to slow down.
Regardless of whether or not I agreed with her fitness advice, I agreed to chill out a bit.
After class, I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said, because she was hitting home for me in other ways she couldn’t have known.
It’s about maintenance. It’s not about gains.
I realized how much pressure I have been putting on myself as a mom and business woman to accelerate momentum. So much of this is coming from a place of fear that I’m going to slip behind. Some part of me doesn’t want to miss a beat. I want to build my dream life and career, rock at motherhood, birth another baby and just keep on going like nothing ever happened. Life isn’t that simple. I’m not giving myself the opportunity to slow down, and in some ways, that is holding me back from moving forward.
When we are creating change in our lives, especially in times of transition, there will be periods of slowing down, of breakups, moves, of weight gain, of bank account dips, of uncomfortable fights with our loved ones, of binge eating. It’s not always a continued incline. Sometimes we stay put for a while or even slip back.
We need to give ourselves permission to chill out a bit sometimes and just BE to learn what we need to learn. We have to recognize that not all growth is about building, sometimes it’s just about living in the house that we have built and learning how to love the NOW.
When we muscle through, usually it is because we are, on some level, operating out of a place of fear. We are afraid if we don’t, we will be falling behind, that some invisible audience will be judging us, that we will fall into a deep hole that has always been following us, so we need to keep swimming, we need to keep moving. I can see that I’m afraid if I don’t keep compounding my past successes every year that I will be seen as a failure.
This fear is predicated on a deeper belief that real life is going to really begin at some other time, and I just need to keep my head down and keep forcing until that happens. I realize some conditioned part of me values my career growth more than the growth motherhood provides (which in some ways may be much more). That isn’t aligned with who I want to become in my life.
It is in surrendering and accepting that we are exactly where we are supposed to be that we have the space and clarity necessary for MORE alignment in our lives.
It is okay to STAND STILL. Although, even that is an illusion. We are never standing still, even if it feels like we are.
In my case, the more pressure I put on myself for my business to grow by leaps and bounds, innovate overnight and become super woman WHILE mothering my toddler to the best of my ability WHILE growing another human isn’t actually doing anything but leaving me forcing and feeling like a failure. So, I’m going to make a conscious effort to drop the shoulds and listen to that deeper self again.
Sounding familiar to you? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Where in your life are you forcing, struggling and keeping your head down?
In what ways are you always focusing on the gains instead of maintenance and just “being”?
In what ways do you lose out when you do this?
When we always focus on the gains, we never get to fully take in what we have created. It all just becomes another notch in our belt, and we have to find another way to get a new one.
What if we let ourselves off the hook to continue to build something until we feel truly summoned to do so?
What if we let go of forcing?
I realize now how much my muscling through leaves me straining in my own life. It may be time to slow down and go for the lower weight, and that doesn’t mean I’m giving up. It means I’m offering myself some grace and peace, which may lead to my next internal growth spurt.
Rock On & Be Well,