Just now in the subway a word came into my head: Sacrifice.
I know the word, but am I familiar with it?
Years ago I met this martial arts athlete in New Zealand. He introduced me to his secrets of success: determination, loyalty and sacrifice.
I got it. He had to train hard in order to be a successful fighter and he doesn’t have time for much else – apart from his pals and family.
But honestly, for me it was always hard to grasp. ‘To sacrifice’ always sounded slightly pathetic to me.
This morning I took a shower and I knew my day would get better if I’d turned the tap on cold.
I did. And interestingly I felt nothing.
Well, not nothing. But I did not feel the need to control.
I didn’t control my breath. I didn’t tense up. I didn’t move around tipoeing.
Automatically my heart started pumping my blood a little bit more intensely. My breath speeded up. I inhaled deeply and exhaled strongly.
My body took over. Within a minute I was wide-awake and I had a smile on my face.
In this moment I realized that sacrifice had been a part of my life ever since. But it didn’t feel like it, because subconsciously I always knew that my thoughts, my perception of myself, my limitations and the world around me is just an illusion.
The image that I have of myself is not true. What I think I am capable of is not true. Or let’s phrase it differently: What I think I am not capable of is not true.
I realized how much I had been trying to control my body during these cold showers.
Why? Because I did not trust in my body. This morning I found out that it is completely unnecessary to distrust, because my body knows better than me.
The same thing happened to me the other day when I did over one hundred sun salutations for the first time in my life while during a yoga challenge I attended. I did not know that I was capable of such a physical task.
I set the intention in my mind to let go of control. I said it out loud: “Okay, body, it is your turn.” – and all of a sudden another intelligence took over. The intelligence of my body.
What does it have to do with sacrifice?
Everything. These experiences showed me what happens if I am willing to truly step out of my comfort zone. People who know me are aware of my ‘Aries’-nature: Avoiding challenges is not my thing.
Nevertheless there is a whole other layer of ‘control’ that I didn’t really grasp.
By sacrificing my need to control I am gaining self-confidence, trust in life, in my actions and in my body.
The more I am willing to let go of convenience the more I ‘prepare’ myself for… Yeah, for what?! I prepare myself for making uncomfortable decisions, for listening to my internal voice, for stepping up, saying ‘yes’ to things that scare the shit out of me….
One definition of the noun ‘sacrifice’ according to Merriam Webster dictionary is: “destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else” – as simple as that. In religious terms it means ‘to offer an innocent being to the gods’ (I could make a huuuge topic out of it, but I won’t.) What am I offering? I am offering my victim mentality, my hesitation and my self-doubt in exchange for self-responsibility and energy.
This morning I had a choice: Do I want to remain in the passive, supposedly ‘cozy’ state of the early morning or do I want to wake up fully, gain clarity and start my day active?
It is interesting, because my example shows how we can actually make use of our ego. Our ego is our means of transport. This is something a lot of people don’t speak about. At least I find that it is not emphasized enough. The ego is not only bad.
Our ego is our messenger. It transmits the spark. The idea is to catch fire, recognize it and carry it through – burning down our resistance – willingly.
How do we do it WITHOUT ego? We don’t. What we do is, we make use of our ego and then we shift gears and allow our subconscious or our body to take over.
This, again, requires trust. The willingness to cross that line. The desire to cross that line of self-pity, fear and anxiety and trust that the grass is greener on the other side.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a time to feel comfortable. There is a time for remaining still and hibernating in our cozy cocoon. But also there is a time to step up, step out, move ahead, go your own way, make an effort for the greater good (in the end).
Sometimes we have to sacrifice comfort, friends, relationships, jobs and even the connection to our family (is it responsibility or just the feeling of duty?) in order to become our own person.
Sometimes we have this deeper knowing that there is ‘something else out there’. In my experience it is well worth it to listen to that tiny voice and disregard ALL those voices telling you that you can’t – the external and the internal. YOU CAN! You can do whatever the f* you want.
What I found out over the course of the past years, especially the last year, is that there always is something else out there – as long as we have this slight feeling, this intuition, this quiet subtle voice of our heart, our soul, however you want to call it. Even if the voice is quiet, the voice is right! GO for it!
We are allowed to grief all the things that we sacrifice, but we are also allowed to welcome our new self. Our stronger self. Our real self?
Surf the wave of change.
Commit to your own growth.
Take your goals seriously.
It is your life and you choose what to dedicate your time to.