I was supposed to go to CrossFit this morning. But I didn’t because my ankle has been hurting me. Hurting in a weird way, really. Like a sprained ankle, but with no source...as if it is merely an old injury re-expressing itself. Day-to-day living doesn’t make it better or worse, but certain uses certainly make it angry and burpees are one such activity. And today’s workout included lots and lots of burpees. I woke up on time for the class and felt the ankle hurt as I moved it along the surface of my mattress. So I came up with a plan to take the hour I would have been working out to really address it. I’ve been massaging it, but I need a full exploration and some thinking outside of the box because nothing seems to be significantly changing.
This all sounds reasonable, right? As if I made a good and grown-up decision. But I sit here feeling guilty. As if this action is really just a cop-out. A way to justify being lazy. I mean, I could have gone to CrossFit and done the things I could do...and then still worked on my ankle later today.
I have a similar struggle every other Monday. It’s marked on my calendar as a day off, so that I get two days off in a row twice a month. Seems reasonable, right? But I feel compelled to still work on SOMETHING that day. Because I’m just not confident that I get enough done during my real business hours. Everybody thinks I’m so productive, but I kinda feel like a fraud. If you only knew how productive I COULD be if I could just maintain proper discipline.
Simply put...I have no confidence in knowing that I am truly doing my best. I’ve thought about this for years. I’ve listened to people compliment me on all that I produce and accomplish, sometimes believing them and sometimes believing that they are so dead wrong. I’ve tried to get a bead on it by comparing myself to the world. Sometimes seeing, compared to your general run of the mill human, my accomplishments are vast. Sometimes seeing, given the gifts I have to work with, I have woefully failed.
A person who has been studying their spirituality/psychology for a while can easily see the most basic intrinsic flaw in my brain chatter. A lot of my assessment of myself comes from the external world. From what people say to me and from my comparison of my life to someone else’s. This kind of thinking is dangerous. It pits me against others and me against myself. Using others to assess yourself requires judgement. And that, generally speaking, isn’t a rabbit hole you should send yourself down. It also strips a person of context. We aren’t individual accomplishments or failures. We are a collection of actions in the landscape of a larger life. Trying to definitively understand, process and glean wisdom from all the things that have led you to this moment is a challenge. Doing the same for those around you is an impossibility. And the best possible outcome that can come from trying, is a blooming of compassion. Unfortunately, this is not the most common outcome.
But even if I can remove the above, I am left with confusion. I get stuck on what “my best” truly is. We’ve been discussing this in You Time as we study The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. The last of the Agreements, and the one the author contends is the most important one, is: “Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.”
I don’t know how others read this, but to me it is the most difficult piece of wisdom EVER (foot stomp for petulant accent).
I know what my best looks like, you see. I have perfect days, perfect workouts, perfect conflicts, perfect meals, perfect holidays, perfect turns of phrase, perfect sleeps, even perfect learning moments that might otherwise look like mistakes.