(yes, the writing group is up: go here)
I'm not sure if this one is a parable. But it's what's on my mind right now, so here goes:
I've been practicing yoga in a studio (as opposed to at home) fairly regularly now for a little over a year, and about two months ago, I started experiencing some really encouraging breakthroughs. I can now do a simple arm balance that had been my nemesis for the whole first year. I can get into a headstand with a bit of assistance past the sticking point. I've regained a great deal of mobility in my formerly-frozen shoulders -- even the super-stuck left one. I figured out the caturanga-up dog transition without letting my legs drop. I have become aware of the things that are holding me back (::cough:: core strength!), and have determined to work on those things. Most importantly, I have learned that getting a pose or a transition requires being willing to fail at it for a while, without giving up.
One lesson that I apparently have not learned, however, is the line between "not giving up" and "forcing it." This came to a head this past week, as I tried to push myself to another breakthrough on a particular forward bend, rather than just letting it come when it comes. And the sad result is that tonight, I felt myself just a hair's-breadth away from giving myself a serious hamstring injury.
So, I actually did something smart: I stopped what I was doing. I decided that a little humility and backing off for a week or two was a small price to pay for not dealing with a painful injury and six months' recovery time. I know my practice will keep improving, if I give it time, because that's what's been happening already.
But goddamn it: accepting that I have limits is hard.