My left leg is trembling big time as I struggle to hold warrior 3 pose from my P90x yoga DVD.
I hear Tony Horton's familiar voice reassure all of us at home: "There's gonna be some stumbling and some fumbling, and that's a beautiful thing."
Now, I've been doing this one yoga routine for about 9 months, and I can practically recite Tony's entire script at this point. I'm familiar with this exact line, I knew it was coming, and yet — for the first time — I really hear it today.
There's gonna be some stumbling.
And some fumbling.
And that's a beautiful thing.
My initial reaction is something like, "What?! How is that beautiful? I'd rather magically arrive into a headstand like it's no big deal and pull off every single pose like an Instagram yogi."
And then...I catch myself. I realize my leg is trembling because I'm doing work. I'm strengthening muscles that basically disappeared altogether following my knee injury and surgery. I'm rebuilding my power from the ground up, and I'm clearly giving it my all. Day after day I show up, and slowly but surely I regain strength. I am doing it! This feels meaningful and rewarding, and I guess I see how that in of itself is beautiful too...
THE BEAUTY OF THE FUMBLE
With Tony Horton's wise words echoing in my mind (because if Tony said it, it must be true! ;) I'm reminded of a lesson I am all too familiar with: fumbling is where it's at.
Because fumbling is learning, and learning is growth, and when you go too long without fumbling? Well, then you know it's been a while since you really went for something.
This idea brought to mind another question: what if this phase or season you're in is meant to be messy? What if life is meant to be messy, no matter how far ahead you get in your career or how many years of parenting you have under your belt?
Spoiler: it is.
Trust me, I've tried to avoid messy, and ultimately avoiding messy = avoiding life.
Because things will happen. Life will throw some curveballs and lessons your way. And the sooner you face and accept them, the sooner you'll be able to navigate and move past them with ease (and minimal emotional breakdowns along the way).
HOW THE MESS BENEFITS US
First of all, the messy parts are designed for you. You need contrast — you need the dark moments to fully enjoy the light-filled ones.
Your experience of heartbreak brings renewed and deepened gratitude for moments that open your heart.
Your experience of grief and losing a loved one reminds you of mortality and brings in a heightened sense of appreciation for being alive.
A common cold makes you so thankful for your normal health.
Really bad plane food makes you thankful for limited airport options.
No matter how big or small the contrast is, the point is: it brings perspective. And it ultimately serves you.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH
That said, of course the light moments can feel way more enjoyable than challenging ones. But the messy ones also don't have to feel so bad. You can break free of the rollercoaster of good-bad-good-bad and life's many ups and downs.
The key is in accepting that life can and will be messy sometimes, embracing that, and moving forward anyways. This is how you navigate life with ease no matter what shit hits the fan.
The alternative is far less enjoyable, and it involves collecting evidence of how your messy moments mean something about you or your life. The more you judge your life and yourself while you are in the mess, the harder it will be to get out of it.
TRY IT OUT
If you're having a hard time, one of the most powerful gifts you can give yourself is gentle acceptance of where you are.
Once you move into acceptance, then it is much easier to move through the messiness.
Here's a simple exercise to get you started:
1) Identify something that feels messy/you feel stuck around right now.
2) Close your eyes and bring to mind someone who you love unconditionally. Once you can feel that warmth and love for them in your body, imagine them sitting across from you, sharing about this same thing unfolding in their life. Ask yourself: what would I say to console them, if they were in my shoes?
3) Open your eyes and write down anything you come up with that's sweet, gentle, and encouraging.
4) Read your own words out loud to yourself.
5) When you get to a place of acceptance, determine if there is any small step you'd like to take to support yourself. If so, commit to taking this step and be sure to follow through with it.
6) Repeat as needed!
Remember: you're not doomed, and you don't have bad luck.
You're most likely just in a BIG growth phase right now.
There's gonna be some fumbling.
And that's a beautiful thing!