As we come to the end of the year, I have seen many social media posts about progress and hec, I have posted a couple a too. It feels energetically correct to take some time to reflect and to visualise future possibilities. All this progress talk got me thinking - what does progress mean to me?
For many years, my idea of progress was mainly external - how does my body look? What grades did I get? What job do I have? And the society around me supported that with the flood of progress pictures on my Instagram feed, testing culture in schools and a societal obsession with 'status'. I would have discounted how I had grown as a person, for I struggled to reflect on those aspects and to give myself the credit I deserved.
Since my journey of introspection and studying & living yoga, I am now proudly able to give myself the credit and acknowledgement of internal and external progress. I congratulate myself when I refuse to make myself feel uncomfortable to allow others to feel comfortable, I actively push myself out of my comfort zone, I am proud of my daily routines that support my wellbeing, I am getting better at relishing in the uncertainty of what the future holds and living in the present moment, I value rest, I appreciate nature so much more as a result of lockdown. And, when I am proud of my progress I celebrate it and tell people about it.
External progress has it's place, of course it does, but it can also be detrimental for our health. Working ourselves to the point of burnout, relying on external gratification to validate our successes, waiting for someone to give us 'permission', not realising that everything we need is already inside us.
I have come to realise that progress is as much about how I feel as what I do (or perhaps even more). Once I let go of trying to do certain things, be certain things or look a certain way, I felt so much happier, free and in balance. I was speaking to a dear friend about this the other day and she explained she when used to practice yoga on the mat, she would compare herself to other and become annoyed with herself and her body as a result. Once she recognised that yoga was a truly personal practice and the only aim was to show up and try your best, she let go of comparison and found the resistance in her body disappeared and she gained a multitude of benefits both on and off the mat. She understood that the gifts and the lessons in life usually come from the journey rather than the end result. That is huge progress and something I try to embody in all my classes.
What does progress mean to you?
What progress have you made in 2020?
What are your hopes and dreams for 2021?
Join me for a new moon circle on 14th December 2020 where will answer some of these questions and set intentions for 2021.