Sorry there was a glitch in the system yesterday. This was supposed to be the newsletter for this week.
“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.” Pema Chodron
How often do you expose yourself to failure? Do you only do things that you’re good at and comfortable performing? What do you fear by trying something new and opening yourself up to failure?
Modern society, convenience, and technology created an environment where our minds and bodies are losing the ability to adapt. It has created an environment where we are scared to not look our best or to stumble. We watch the curated lifestyles on social media where like Lake Wobegon, “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” While I am a big believer in the benefits of technology and progress, we must break away from this comfortable life to live to our fullest potential. Not only is getting out of our comfort zone and pushing past our fears the key to growth, it is also key to resilience. The ability to take a punch in life, something we will all be faced with at some points, is key to achieving our dreams and goals.
From my experience and in working with my clients, exposure to extreme heat and cold provides a stressor to the mind and body that will allow us to continue to adapt and become more resilient. There is something primal about exposure to the cold. When you first get into an ice bath, every ounce of your being is saying, “get the hell out of here.” It is the ultimate in the fight, flight, or freeze responses. I have seen plenty of people in sheer panic when they first get in, breathing in an erratic stressful nature and then enter into a Zen mindset in as little as five slow diaphragmatic breaths. They are able to learn what the cold teaches us - that we have control over our reactions and that our breath can be used as a tool to control them.
“The mind is the king of the senses. The breath is the king of the mind.” B.K.S. Iyengar
The breath is the remote control to our brain. Humans have been working with it for thousands of years and once you begin to explore your own breathing, it can take you to places you never imagined possible. With practice, one thing you will discover is the ability to control your physiological state to either ramp your system up or bring it down. Try it now, start breathing in and out of your mouth at a rapid pace, like you just went for a sprint. How did this make you feel? Did you become stressed and anxious or calm and relaxed? Now, breathe slowly in through your nose and slowly out through your nose. How did your state change? Explore these polarities of the breath and your mental state. The experience is yours and the power is within you.
“When you get comfortable in discomfort, you can handle just about anything in life.” Laird Hamilton
I use the cold as an example of getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to growth through facing your fears and the possibility of failure. With a new year and decade upon us, now is the time to open yourself up to “annihilation” so you can become indestructible. Don’t let that voice in your head hold you back from doing something that scares you. Move towards what scares you, not away from it. Maybe it’s a new fitness routine, a presentation at work, having a vulnerable conversation with a loved one, or getting in an ice bath, don’t let the anticipation of the event stop you from doing it. The risk of failure is worth the reward of overcoming something that scares you. Let’s go ahead and jump into this week’s link, hopefully they will help push you to do what scares you.