Sacrifice: to give up what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.
- Mark Nepo
When I decided to kickstart my yoga practice last year, I was propelled into action by one thought: I wanted to be strong.
I’ve had an issue with my neck for some time (metaphysically all to do with being a control freak) and a few weeks earlier, hugging Baby Bear tightly, warranted a trip to the chiropractor.
Given that I hate to outsource my healing, it’s was time to take appropriate action - and build a strong foundation.
As I contemplated how strong I was now (it’s been eight months), a teacher of mine shared the following concept with me: strength comes from sacrifice, not compromise.
When I think of someone who is strong, it is someone who knows their values and lives in alignment with them. They have integrity. The idea of sacrifice hadn’t really featured anywhere for me.
And yet, it was such an insightful observation.
In his book Self Unfoldment, Swami Chinmayananda writes that ”when we allow our ideals to be broken by our own weakness of mind, we compromise – and end up living a life of dishonesty. When we thus compromise our convictions, we form a split in our personality, becoming cowardly in the face of further challenges in our life…We must be ready to consider and reconsider an ideal a thousand times if necessary…but once we accept [it] as ours, we must discover in ourselves the heroism to live up to it at all times.”
Heroes make sacrifices. They know why they are doing something and then they go all out.
I decided that I wanted to be a hero. No, I wanted to be a superhero.
And this meant conscious choices at each turn. Choosing to sacrifice knowingly and willingly, because I have a clear picture of the kind of life I wish to (co-)create.
It would mean discipline and awareness, freedom and evenness of mind.
Years ago, I went on a diet that where sugar and white flour were strictly verboten. That evening, I went out and ate a whole chocolate cake. I wasn’t going to sacrifice anything for anyone, especially not myself. The word sacrifice was loaded such negative connotations.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen.”
So I’m not trying anymore, I don’t need to. I simply decide on what I want to do and do it, like the rational human being that economists so love to model.
Yes, I take my time (which may look like procrastination to the untrained eye), but once I’ve chosen, I stick to my guns.
We become so very dangerous when we learn to control our feelings, and get out of our own way. We do exactly what we want to in our own lives.
That’s exactly the kind of super-hero I want to be.