Drenched in sweat from my head to my toes (you're welcome, America), I sank into my seated prayer twist and the story began. Not the real story. Not the true story. But the story nonetheless. It wouldn't be until weeks later, and eventually years later, that I would fully realize that this story, and many others were all in my mind. It (and they) existed only there.
If you thought this was a blogpost on mental health, you Rockstar, would be semi- correct. This is a blogpost about the stories we tell ourselves. It's about your mental health. I have felt the need to share to this over the last two weeks so intensely, that I could borderline feel it in my stomach. An aching to tell you this golden nugget of truth that I have learned about in myself and as a coach, in you too. My journey to uncovering this truth started in a hot yoga class, at my favorite yoga studio, Grace & Glory Yoga.
When I began hot yoga, I was totally void of muscle. In the previous year, I'd stopped teaching dance to devote all of my time to building my business. I worked endless hours in a chair, which was a huge shift for my body. I lost every ounce of muscle and was unhealthily skinny and awkward-looking. So when I began yoga, I had no muscle whatsoever and it was HARD.
So hard in fact, that although I really liked the feeling I got after class and kept coming back, during the actual class, I would experience a range of emotions from joy to frustration to actual anger and beyond. It would boil up from almost nowhere. My yoga studio supports personal growth in all areas of life, even outside of the studio, so the instructors leave bits of wisdom throughout the practice. In class, I began hearing the instructors say things like "Drop the story", "Stay in the fire", "The obstacle is the way", "Where else does this play out outside of your mat?" and so much more. Over time, I came to understand what they meant and watched my own story play out in my mind. Here's how it sounded:
It's 5am. I don't want to get up today.
So and so isn't a great teacher, because he/she makes us do more physical work than the others 😂
I didn't come here for fitness. I came here for peace of mind. Who wants to do this shit at 5:30am?
This teacher goes too fast. That one goes too slow.
Oh my gosh, CALL THE MF POSE! I can't hold seated twist for another second!
Its SIX WHEELS! NOT 7! What the.... ahhhhhhh!!!!
We have to sing happy birthday in wheel?? What the....ahhhhhhh!!!!!
My wrists are going to break!
My muscle is going to tear!
My back can't do this! And she's asking me the breathe?!
This isn't even healthy. Humans shouldn't be subjected to this torture!
Why is this person's wobble making me wobble!? Stop wobbling!
I'm done. I'm not doing this to myself anymore. I can't.
I hope you're laughing, because once I discovered the pattern, that's exactly what I did. I laughed. You see, I realized that all of the things that I was telling myself were stories that I was inventing in my mind to protect myself, because I was weak. Pause and re-read that sentence and let it sink in. I lacked the strength in my own body and strengthening it was incredibly painful and exhausting. As humans, we're always trying to move closer to pleasure or further from pain. I began to realize that once I was in pain, I auto-shifted into blaming and trying to find the quickest way out. It's called survival mindset: fight or flight.
Suddenly, I would shift my focus away from me and my own weakness and lack of will to get stronger.... to another human who had absolutely nothing to do with my weakness, and for all intents and purposes only desired the best things in life for me.
Do you want to know the worst/best part of the whole story? Every class that I took was the same. The exact same. There was almost no variation- all were one hour and all had the exact same sequences, just a different teacher with different wisdom to share. All I had to do was continue doing that same thing over and over and over again, and my body would grow strong, but since I had a pattern of wiggling myself out of pain, I directed my pain at anyone and anything other than myself.
Initially, I chose to blame the teacher who taught the exact same class as every other teacher. I would then let the story expand so much, that I would give myself a way out. Protection. Was that what was best for me? HELL NO, and it's not what's best for you either. The words that the instructors would say suddenly had such profound meaning to me and began to reveal habits that I'd unconsciously created over the years, of blaming others and fleeing. What would happen if I just... stayed in the fire? What was possible if I dropped the story and stopped resisting, and what if I embraced the obstacle instead? Well, that's what I chose to do.
Soon, my body became strong. The classes became easy. I had triceps for the first time ever. I had strong shoulders and a strong core. I felt healthy. I felt strong. I felt powerful. I felt successful. I felt proud of myself. But above all else, I let the words of one instructor permeate to my heart and soul, when he asked the question...
"Where else does this play out outside of your mat?"
That's what I want to leave you with today. I'd like to encourage you in your own personal growth journey, to recognize that when things get hard, that is NOT an auto-sign to fight or flee. There is another option. The option... the invitation... is to stay, drop the story, acknowledge that growth is hard and stay anyway. What's possible if you were to get comfortable getting uncomfortable and allowed challenge, perhaps even a world-wide pandemic, or national outrage to change you and cause you to become a better version of yourself? Until next time Rockstar Community, I'm sending you peace, love, and good vibes from my home to your's.
-Christina Sciarretta is the CEO and Chief Content Creator of Rockstar Real Estate & Media Group. Her mission and passion is to connect, support, and empower the women and girls of the Jersey Shore.