It’s the One Guarantee in Life
One thing I’ve learned in trapeze, trampoline, and other athletic endeavors, including walking down the street (which, especially in New York City, is more of an athletic endeavor than most people realize):
When you try to protect yourself from getting hurt, that’s often when you are most susceptible to getting hurt.
There is no guaranteed way to avoid injury in sports, short of sitting on the sidelines (and even that’s not guaranteed). But it’s almost guaranteed that if you attempt to protect yourself from injury on the field or on the course, you’ll get injured either in the place you were protecting or some other place.
The body’s interest is in preserving safety. It will do whatever it needs to do to protect itself from pain, even if the pain happened a long time ago. Years after an injury, long after your conscious mind has forgotten about the pain, your body remembers.
You often don’t consciously cooperate with your body’s efforts to protect itself. It is a sophisticated organism that controls most actions out of the realm of your conscious mind.
Beyond the Physical
It’s not just about the physical protection. Emotional pain becomes physical pain, and the body remembers that too.
With every step, every action we take in life, the body seeks to protect us from further pain.
The Challenge in Moving Through Life
This is the challenge we face in moving through life.
We are wired for self-protection, but going into any situation in protective mode leaves us virtually guaranteed to get hurt.
So how do we navigate this?
On one hand we need to help the body feel safe. At the same time, we must be willing to lean into the discomfort. The more we can lean into the discomfort, the more we can reassure the body that it’s safe.
This is often much easier said than done.
If you’re going to participate fully in life, you will get hurt. It’s virtually guaranteed.
So this is the challenge. It is the practice.
To go in open, knowing you might get hurt, and to lean into your discomfort, all in service to your growth and evolution.