If you’ve ever had more than a 5-minute conversation with me, you know I appreciate few things more than some good metaphor work; I can talk about how life is like a house, a race, an ocean, a hike, or a recipe for longer than I should be able to. But I have very little to bring to the table when it comes to wrestling, mainly because (to not one person’s surprise) I have never wrestled.
What I can speak to is what it’s like to live in situations and seasons of irresolution or tension. This is the kind of stuff that sounds a lot like wrestling to me.
Last week I wrote about noticing where we struggle to accept our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In the days between then and now, it’s felt increasingly important to name that living in a real and connected way also involves times when we can accept our reality while not feeling at peace with it. Sometimes we will wrestle.
There is a sure difference between struggling and wrestling with our reality.Struggling is like trying to find an exit from the ring once the match has begun. Wrestling is staying in with whatever else shows up.
One of these is not better or worthier than the other, both are part of the process. If everything we do is trying to serve us in some way then we we can understand that struggling (by way of direct avoidance, bypass, denial, etc…) is our mind trying to spare us the discomfort that comes with entering the match. When and however we choose to fully get in, we slowly find ourselves able to spend more and more time in the discomfort and there we begin the work of being present.
While reading up on wrestling, there was one concept that really stuck out to me: no matter what your skill level, as a wrestler you need to learn how to focus your energy/movement when fatigued. Coaches will advise their students to essentially move smarter, not harder and not to simply push through out of restlessness or exhaustion. When we apply these insights to our internal discomforts, we’re reminded to be mindful of where we place our attention and energy as we work our way through times of tension.
So here’s your invitation: When wrestling with something in your life, what would it be like to tune in to and acknowledge your experience rather than thinking about the experience you wish you were having? What would it be like to align with yourself as you move through this rather than making your mind an extra opponent? And when you’re feeling hurt or knocked down, what are the ways you could tend to your self or get you back up on your feet?
The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.
Photo by Joe Hernandez on Unsplash
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