When I was young, a lot of things came easily to me. I was a quick learner, a good writer, a thoughtful daughter/sister/friend, and an all-around adaptable person.
What did not come easily to me were some of the things I wanted most to learn. Riding a bike, swimming, and hula hooping. To me, these things looked like so much fun and so freeing!
My overprotective parents actually prevented me from learning to ride a bike or swim, so I was able to forgive myself for not being able to do them.
But hula hooping? Hours and hours of trying to get that right just led to more frustration. I couldn’t understand how something that seemed so easy could be so hard for me. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Eventually, I got older and forgot about it.
In my mid-twenties, I tried roller-skating for the first time. I had learned to rollerblade as a child (the one thing my parents allowed – but only because we could do it in the safety of our basement), and I figured it would be fairly easy. After all, everyone always said that rollerblading was harder!
Nope. Didn’t happen. Even the friendly, patient stranger who tried to teach me in a number of ways could not help me.
Again, I was so frustrated that something that seemed so fun just would not happen for me. What the heck was I doing wrong?!
I think that at some point I decided that anything that might bring me that much pleasure just wasn’t going to work out for me.
It could be easy for everyone else, but not for me.
That stuck with me for several years, until I decided that I just couldn’t keep living a life of constant struggle, sacrifice, and making things harder than they needed to be.
Now, ease and pleasure are my priority.
I learn from pleasure.
I preach pleasure and ease.
I have been called the pleasure queen, the pleasure sorceress, and the embodiment of ease.
And recently, as I decided to step into that even more deeply and in bigger, more visible ways (new offerings! finishing my book! who knows what else!), I was reminded of my failed attempts at hula hooping, roller-skating, and – eventually – riding a bike.
I couldn’t figure out what these experiences were meant to teach me.
Why would I co-create these failures? How come I still can’t ride a bike for longer than 45 seconds? What the fuck?!
As I reflected on these memories, I reconnected more deeply with my body until I was led to the answers. In a moment of harmony and integration between my body, mind, heart, and soul, clarity came in a flash.
They seem obvious now, but here are a few of the realizations I had:
- Being in my body requires greater presence than being in my head or even in my heart. All those things I’ve always been good at come naturally to me because I grew up being led by my head and my heart. When it came to doing something with my body, it required greater presence, and because I wasn’t used to that, I kept trying to think my way through it. You can’t think your way into your body! You must simply surrender into being in it.
- It is very easy to deny myself pleasure. Whether it’s the voice in my head saying, “You’ve had enough,” or the belief ingrained in me that I must suffer before looking or feeling good, there are so many opportunities for me to sidestep pleasure. This is true for so many people! It’s up to me to recognize when that’s happening and make a new choice.
- “What am I doing wrong?” is almost never the right question. It is the fast track to shame and regret. Switching to, “How can I make this easier, more pleasurable, or more fun?” is definitely the way to go. This gets me better results every time.
Of course, the way we relate to one issue is the way we relate to everything, and I’m happy to have dug a bit deeper into these as I embark on this new stage in my life and career.
And with this new awareness, I think I’m ready to give the hula hoop another try. It might still slip right away, but at least I’ll know I’m fully enjoying every second of it.