The Gift of Not Doing It All
by Stacy Hemingway
I remember a comment from a woman lying next to me at a Yoga Workshop after we were asked to try a really challenging pose saying to me, “Wow, I thought you would be able to do that because you're so strong.” I guess my strength could not combat her comments and opinion of my perceived physical form.
My parents were divorced when I was 7 and I had to be strong for my mom and my sister. As latch key kids we relied on our own choices and power to get us through the day.
I was called names and made fun of when I was younger because of my red hair and then the curse of glasses came when I was 13. All these defenses set up to protect and save me and made me stronger.
I was super independent as a kid and was working by the age of 14. I had to prove that I was worthy of the hard work, so I stayed strong. I was drawn to sports as a kid which helped me develop my physical strength. Skiing, rowing, and triathlons all affirmed that I needed to be strong to succeed.
It was not until I was deep into my teaching and training as a Yoga Teacher in 2006 that I finally figured out that I didn’t need to be strong, I actually needed to soften. When we push in the practice of yoga we can actually hurt ourselves and our ego. It’s in the softening, allowing and letting go that I found myself becoming stronger.
Learning to soften into circumstance and become more skillful allowed my inner and outer strength to collide. I like to refer to my inner strength as Grace. A universal connection to myself and all other things. This integration of strength and grace combined allows a lightness and ease to guide me.
I have learned not to push or force to make things happen. That became exhausting. No matter my level of effort without grace, I just could not make it happen. What I still continue to learn from this is that I don’t have to put up a strong front. The weaknesses that live inside me are places for me to discover and to open to.
I continue to remind myself that the sweet, brave faced child inside of me that had to show the world she could manage it all, really just needed a hug. She needed to be reminded that she didn't have to do life all by herself.
As I reflect back upon the woman’s comment about me in the yoga workshop I’m grateful that I cannot do it all. I have found my true inner strength through softening.
Discover your own strength through skillful means and inner softening. Enjoy sharing discussion, practice, and exploration with Stacy in her upcoming weekend workshop and teacher training at YMWA.
Deepening our Roots:
A Return to Foundation in our Practice and our Beingness.
MAY 17 - 19 20 HOUR CEU and RYS300 curriculum
Individual Sessions open for all students.