I went to the dentist yesterday for my 6-month check-up and cleaning. Everything was going well, and I expected to get my standard instruction to continue brushing and flossing, etc. But as my sweet dentist was inspecting the landscape of my mouth, she made an interesting observation: “I think you’re brushing too hard. If you don’t ease up you’re going to damage your gums permanently.”

“Wow, I guess I do,” I admitted, as I thought about my daily brushing rituals. I realized that in my desire to clean my teeth thoroughly and spotlessly, I’ve been applying more force than was necessary, or than was even healthy.

“Yes,” she said, “just brush.”

I was thinking about this instruction during my yoga practice this morning, and the simplicity of it. And I realized that in my desire to “get the most” out of my practice, and to “create more benefit” from the shapes I was in, I was forcing my body past its line in the sand. I was trying too hard. I was trying to “make” the tissues let go instead of just allowing the softness to occur. Oh, Shazam.

So then I began to think, as a yoga therapist will, about where else in my life this dynamic is occurring. Where else am I forcing? Trying too hard? “Making” something happen? And friends, I think it’s happening in a lot of places. Maybe you have a similar dynamic occurring in your life. A pattern of needing to control a timeline or a result. I get it. Here are some simple things we can do:

1. Notice. Let’s just notice and acknowledge times when we’re forcing an outcome rather than allowing results to occur. (“I’m doing that thing.”)
2. Own. Let’s own our tendency to do this. So instead of letting these moments be new reasons to kick ourselves, let’s have them be moments of enlightenment, brilliant little flashes, like fireflies of awareness in the darkness of our mind.(“OH! I noticed it this time! Yay, I’m conscious of it!”)
3. Change. Eventually, after much love and care with ourselves, as a result of our diligent observation and awareness, we’ll start to change things.

This is Courageous work we’re doing, friends. It’s easier when we do it together, isn’t it? I’m ready to help you live the life you really want. And I look forward to connecting soon!