“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” – Theodore Roosevelt
Somewhere along the way, our culture decided that strength meant success. That by being vulnerable and showing our weaknesses, we set ourselves up for failure. We feel that it’s inappropriate to cry in public. That when we fail at something we should quit and move on. And that our life’s purpose is to find something we are good at and DO THAT! Unfortunately this pattern only serves to separate us from one another. Why? Because we all share those soft spots. Those places of unease, insecurity, and fear. When we deny that those places exist by covering them up we deny part of who we are. While we are so busy building on our strengths and doing the things that we “like,” we forget that there is another part of us that isn’t getting a chance to grow.
You’ve probably noticed this in your practice. There are poses you like and poses you dislike. The postures you like are probably the ones you are “good” at. And the ones you dislike are the ones you have tried before that were hard for you or didn’t work out as planned. But it is when you are doing what comes easily then the mind gets to turn off. You lose a sense or curiosity and enthusiasm and in return your investigation is actually just skimming the surface. However, it’s in the shaky, unsure, insecure, fear inducing poses that we become fully awake. This is where growth and evolution take place. Yes it sucks to SUCK. But the question is: Can you show up with effort and enthusiasm anyway? Whether it’s headstand or a bad review at work, can you stay put and see that the only sign of weakness is the unwillingness to show up again and again?
Part of the reason I fell in love with my husband was his enthusiasm to dance and sing. No, he doesn’t have great dance moves nor can he carry a tune. But it’s the way he’s willing to try anything. To put himself out there. Show Up. Fail. And then continue anyway.
The word courage comes from Latin word “couer” which means to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. We all want to be brave and courageous in this lifetime. But what we don’t realize is that it is completely courageous to be vulnerable. To put yourself out there with uncertainty and enthusiasm, regardless of the outcome. Tapping into our own vulnerability can give us a chance to see that we all struggle in similar ways. And when we realize that, we can truly understand that we have a divine connection with all beings.