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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

There is an expression:

You don’t know, what you don’t know.

This expression can be most peoples motto. Sadly though it is usually people who know the least who think they know the most. Although truth be told now days everyone thinks they are an expert. Everyone thinks that if they Google something that they know more or as much as those who study something their entire lives. We are all superstars with infinite wisdom. I mean if you have Google or watch a YouTube video that has to count for something?

Nope. Not really. It is a good way to start your education journey on something, but it by no means makes you as qualified as “an expert.” You know those people who have gone to school. Who have trained. Who have taken tests for degrees, certificates and all those fun things that used to make someone an expert. But that doesn’t compare to the internet expert.

What we fail to realize is the the experts are the best of the best (usually not always). They are the superstars who didn’t start off that way but earned their capes with hard work and experience. To do that, they knew that they had to listen to people with more wisdom than them. They could not rush their status as the reigning expert. They had to earn it.

Many times due to our ego, lack of patience and pure stubbornness; we do not want to start at the beginning. We want to skip over a few steps thinking somehow we don’t need to start at square one. Everyone else should but not us. We are somehow the exception to the rule. We can jump over the foundations. We already know what we need. We would be wrong.

We don’t know what we don’t know until we take off the rose covered goggles and look at ourselves as we are and not how we like to think we are. Once we do that, we are open to actually learning something. We are open to being better than we were. If we do that, we can maybe one day actually become the expert that we initially thought we were.

On my walks, I have been listening to some great podcasts on my walks lately. One of them is the series Silence is Not an Option by Don Lemon. While listening, I thought to myself that there are several people that I know who would benefit from it. They never would listen because they don’t know what they don’t know. When I thought that, I realized that I was the same when it came to yoga as there is much I don’t know.

As I mentioned the other day, I have realized that I was trying to skp steps in pursuit of certain yoga poses. I was doing this purely due to my ego. Purely due to focusing on a goal and not the practice. Thinking that since 4 years ago I did yoga on a regular basis that I could now skip steps. So with the knowledge that I also did not know what I did not know nor can my body do what I think it should, I am stepping back in my yoga practice.

Let me explain….

As I said, I am goal orientated. I need a new challenge. I need a new goal but I need a smarter beginning step goal. I have started the 30 Day Yoga challenge with the Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. I finished day 7 today. Each day is a going back to basics. It is building the foundation of a good yoga practice. It is learning. It is building flexibility and strength. It is being patience and know results will come but maybe not as quickly as I would like. It is not easy, but it is also at a level that I should be working as a beginning.

In my opinion that the biggest failures in life are those individuals who refuse to learn. Those who remain rooted in one place refusing to open up to something new. Some let their ego keep them from reaching their potential not being willing to open themselves up to admit that they don’t know everything. As said previously, only a fool thinks they have nothing to learn.

I am still reaching for my goals. I am just adjusting them. My first goal is to complete the 30 days. With that I will continue to open myself up to practice other poses. Fear of failure won’t stop me and I will continue to try. Sometimes fear of failure keeps people from reaching for the stars and leaves them only to be looking at them. I will reach

No Shortcuts

I have often said that we need to focus on the journey and not the destination. I realized when doing my yoga practice today that I was not taking my own advice. I have been so focused on achieving certain poses that I have been short changing myself and my practice in pursuit of them. Cheating myself of fully learning and building the strength necessary to achieve them fully.

I think part of this might stem from being a goal orientated person. I run not just because I love it but for events that I sign up for. I started this journey with a goal of completing a Sprint Triathlon. I wasn’t a runner, swimmer, or biker but I had a goal. Goals to me are part of the process. I’ve set goals for distance. I’ve set goals for times. I’ve set monthly/yearly mile challenges. I took this thought process with me to my yoga mat.

Goals…. Goals…. Goals.

To be honest, I know that for me I need goals to motivate me. Big goals. Little goals. Even on a run, sometimes a goal is as simple as running to the next utility pole. Goals are important. Goals are necessary. Not just in running, but really in life. Goals in life might be a simple or grand, but everyone has something. It could the day or master plan goals of finishing finishing school, finding a better job, buying a house or planning for retirements. Goals can also be as small as your daily To Do List to make it to the end of the day. Without these small goals, I might just sit on the coach all day. If you don’t set goals, you might not ever move forward. Staying stagnate is not a way to grow as a person….. as a runner…. as an athlete. Most of all it is not the way to accomplish anything in life.

So with this attitude, I went into yoga. While having a goal to achieve certain poses in my mind is still good, I realized that I was starting to solely practice yoga in pursuit of these poses. I was not giving myself to the mat fully nor was I getting out of my practices what I should. Practicing yoga only in pursuit of poses was short changing my practices and myself. So with this aha moment, I had a mind shift in my practice.

I took a step back. I gave myself fully to the practice allowing myself to not simply pursue a pose but to pursue giving myself over to the practice. On recommendations of some Moms in my MRTT group, I tried some YouTube Yoga classes. These classes were different than what I had been doing because they had the feel of actually being in a yoga studio with the same mindset.

I also realized that while I do still have goals of reaching certain poses that in order to get to the level of fully achieving them that I must build a proper foundation. I was skipping the foundation building required. You can’t finish a marathon before you have trained to run one any more than you can reach more advanced poses without being more in touch with what your body can do, build up the required strength, and learn to trust in your ability.

By the way for those who think that yoga is not a workout, I encourage you to take a class. Holding your body up with your arms will cause you to break out in a sweat especially when your body is build like mine! Standing (or attempting to stand) on one leg will not only test your balance but your leg strength and as you age you do begin to loose balance, so you must work on retaining it. Trusting your body enough to ask it to do things you never imagined possible comes with time and practice.

So while I have goals. I have had the realization that practice might not make perfect but if allowed can be beautiful. I am not sure if I will ever reach my very lofty goals of handstand, wheel pose (backbend) or crow pose but I will pursue them in a more honest fashion now. These are not easy poses and for those that know me, you know that I very rarely take the easy road, so it is fitting.

I am not sure if I will ever obtain these goals but stepping back to go to the basics and build my foundation will help me more than single minded approach. As in life, your might not always reach your goals but if you stop reaching not only will you never achieve them but you will never know your true potential.

So with all of that, I say again……

Life is about the journey and not the destination

And this time I really mean it.

NO EXPERT

I admit that I am not an expert in anything. I am not an expert at baking. I am not an expert at cooking. I am not an expert at parenting. I am not an expert at running.

You might be wondering what your doing here then. While not being an expert, this does not mean that I do not have much knowledge. It simply means that I recognize that I still have a lot to learn. I have learned a lot along the way… through trials, failures and success.

I think this is what sometimes makes or breaks people sometimes. The truth of the matter is that everyone no matter what your level can learn from others. Anyone who thinks they have nothing to learn is probably someone you don’t want to listen to anyway. Have you ever talked to someone who has the attitude like they knew everything (even if they knew tons)? Usually these people don’t know half of what they think they do.

I am not an expert baker, but I know that I could teach a thing or two about making the perfect chocolate cake. By no means am I an expert parent, but I have taken parenting classes and have experiences that might be helpful to others. I am not a running expert, but I have run around the block enough times to give some advice. (You know 7 marathons, 50K and I don’t know how many other smaller events).

The thing about expertise is that it usually comes with experiences. You have to be willing to try. You have to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to learn from your mistakes, successes, and others. Most of all you have to be willing to keep going. The thing is no one is every born an expert at anything and the only way you become one is to start at the beginning.

Many people are afraid to embark on new adventures for fear of failure or worse thinking that they need to be an expert before they even start. You see this with people thinking they need to get in shape before they start going to the gym. People think in order to start running that they need to be able to run. People are embarrassed to go to a yoga class because they can’t hold the poses. Here is the thing, everyone has to start somewhere and usually that is at the beginning.

Often when we are thinking of starting something new, we do a little research or at the very least Google it. The problem with that is that usually you only see the finished product. You see the runner with a medal. You see the fitness guru. You see the Yogi contornting themselves into positions that make you scartch your head. You see all of these things but you don’t normally see the struggle that it took to get them there.

Everyone has struggles. Everyone was once a beginner. Everyone has failures, but in a Facebook/Twitter world most people don’t share those things although I do. Life is not perfect.

They share the perfect cookies.

Not the ones that burnt.

They share the truimphet finish line photo.

Not the one showing how hard the day actually was.

We need to realize that life is not a facebook update. We all struggle. We are fail. We all have imperfect lives. If we keep comparing where we are in life to someone’s Facebook page, you might get depressed. Life is not a Facebook Status. Actually we need to bring a little more reality into our virtual lives. We need to start sharing how we got to where we are going. Who knows maybe someone needs to see that they are not the only one with imperfect lives. Sometimes the best way to be inspiring is to show reality.

I’ve been practicing Yoga pretty regularly since March. Using Nike Training App. I used to do Bikram Yoga a few years ago and loved it. In the Nike Training App one of the classes was a beginner inversion class which go me hooked. I admit….. I am not flexible. My legs are usually tight. I am (ahem) overweight. These things do not make for a good Yogi, but I still practice.

I’ve been working on new inversion skills. My goals are a handstand, crow pose, and wheel pose (backbend). All of these are not beginner poses. None of them am I close to conquering. All of them when Googling for tips, only show perfect Yogi’s with perfect form. I get that. Same reason runway models look the way they look. If I could go to a studio, I would see a class full of people in different levels of their practice.

So here I am not even close to being a Yogi, but starting at the beginning. Willing to try.

Willing to fail.

Willing to show myself in my imperfect state with imperfect form and just being willing to try.

That is all we can do in life…. Try. Give it our best. Be willing to pick ourselves up when we fall and try again. The journey is equally as important as the destination and we would do well to remind ourselves of that more often.