Sweet, sweet freedom.
Oh the freedom to date whomever I want, whenever I want! To run amok with plenty of fishies, tinder dandies, and e-harmonics! What could possibly be more liberating that to have the absolute freedom to date anyone I want without commitment or a care in the world!
Hmmm. Actually, no.
I have been confused about the nature of freedom. Generally freedom sounds like liberation, which at first seems like a good thing. Surely being able to do whatever I want whenever I want is ideal, right? As my native state declares boldly on our license plate, “Live free or die.”
But the trick is, all that restless flitting about doesn’t really feel liberating. Sure, going on five coffee dates in one week may look exciting from the outside, but after awhile it just feels like distraction and too much caffeine. Running from thing to thing (or person to person) is really just another form white noise. Plenty of variety…but no depth.
True freedom doesn’t come from our ability to run away.
We earn our freedom through our fortitude to stay put.
Binding ourselves to one spot and learning to stay there – despite the conflicts, challenging conversations, and awkward silences – propels us into a more elevated type of freedom. If we can simply check out when the going gets tough, we are reacting rather than choosing.
Our ability to stay, feel, and witness leads us through our limitations. We thread ourselves through the tiny eye of the needle in order to create the tapestry. In doing so, we discover that true freedom is our capacity to choose from a place of pro-action rather than reaction, decision rather than fear. Whether we bind ourselves to a person, value, or job, our decision to mindfully limit ourselves is paradoxically the very act that liberates us. Otherwise we leave the coffee shop at the first sign of discomfort – and never really discover who we are or what we want.
And so: dolphin plank.
When we stay in our dolphin plank for 75 seconds, 90 seconds, or even two minutes, we give ourselves the opportunity to practice staying put. Now, as far as I know, no one has ever been broken doing dolphin plank. But it’s a pose that provides a lot of feedback where we can see our desire to distract, run away, and opt out. When we practice committing to plank, we strengthen our capacity for resiliency and dedication – the same capacity that helps us to stay in the room during a conflict, be patient with our screaming kid, express our vulnerability, or – god forbid – go on that third date.
When you are next in dolphin plank, remember that you are doing more than firming your core; you are strengthening your own inner fortitude: your capacity to stay in your discomfort for the sake of something greater. Every extra second that you stay can act as an affirmation of your inner courage.
So when we are faced with a real life situation that makes us want to run away (screaming kid, conflict, third date…), we can remember how strong we really are…and then choose.
“Courage is not the absence of fear; but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”