by Shahrean Merican
Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well
- Vincent van Gogh
At the start of this year, my husband and I decided to take up martial arts as an attempt to develop a hobby together. While I would have preferred Salsa dancing, I knew how much he wanted to learn martial arts, so I decided I would be the one to compromise for a change.
I was a little apprehensive about doing martial arts as it just wasn’t something I enjoyed. Since I had already put that thought in my head before I even started, true enough, a couple of weeks into the class and I was ready to quit. I just couldn’t get the techniques or coordination right! Unfortunately or fortunately (as I look at it now), we signed up for a 12 month contract and so I had no choice but to drag myself to classes twice a week.
I then thought to myself, the same way I am giving up too soon is how some individuals are with Yoga. How often do I see students come and go with excuses to not continue their practice. I now know exactly what it feels like to try something and get frustrated that you are not getting it right. To want to give up too soon just because I ‘think’ I can’t. So, how can I expect my students to stay motivated and be patient with their practice when I don’t incorporate the same attitude in every aspect of my life?
The moment I realized this, I changed my attitude. I started to really listen to the instructor, focused on every move and gave it my all. I would even practice at home so that when I return to class, I would be more confident. Gradually, the classes became more enjoyable and I was actually happy. I even passed my first test and am proud to now be a yellow belt. On the day that I was receiving my new belt, the Master at the centre delivered a short speech and the last sentence he said completely reinforced my perspectives. He said:
Do not do what you love, love what you do.
This made so much sense. We are always seeking to do things that we enjoy and complaining about the ones we don’t. How often do we whine about our lives and envy others who have jobs they love, a loving marriage, a beautiful home etc. Life is all fine and dandy when we are doing what we love but the moment the going gets tough, we get frustrated, angry and want to quit. This is no way of living simply because life is never always going to give you what you love.
Hence, we need to learn to love and embrace every experience in our lives whether we ‘think’ we like it or not. Challenges help us grow and evolve. Face these challenges with love and it will no longer be an obstacle. Since that day, I try to make every effort to love whatever I do. I have stopped searching for experiences that I love but rather to love every experience that I have.
Did You Know?
Yoga and Martial Arts are both traditional ancient arts that share fairly similar philosophies. Practiced correctly, the two practices develop discipline, flexibility, body – breath awareness, concentration and strength of the body and mind. These similarities have given me the added advantage with both my practices.
Stay tuned for my next article on the 3 variations of Warrior Pose.