Happiness is… bruised knees and yoga mat burns

I love pain.

I’m serious – I think I might be addicted to the shit!

Somehow until this morning I’d just never connected the dots.

For one thing there’s no way in hell that you can be a dancer and not have pain.  Which means my addiction probably started around age six.

As an adult doing kick-boxing, bleeding knuckles and screaming muscles quickly became mundane.  I had to go play with the boys in full contact and come home with swollen cut lips and slightly bruised chins to get my fix.

Then I found cycling.  I fondly hold on to memories of epic falls, bruises, blood, cracked helmets.  At one stage my husband refused to go shopping with me because he was tired of getting strange looks from people when I tried to assure them that my bruised face was from falling off my bike.  I finished Action Man with a bee stinger in my face because I refused to slow down in transition so the medics could attend to me.  I figured as long as the swelling wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t see, I could still finish the race.

Doing IronMan three times with a bone ripping up the inside of my hip, a lower back with disintegrating vertebrae, and some other interesting bodily happenings took the challenge to another level.

Which leads me to my current journey of becoming a Yoga instructor.  There’s the mediocre pain from the old bone in the hip which is still causing me a fair amount of discomfort, but I’m not walking out of the sessions feeling like a washed out rag, lying on the grass holding back the vomit (oh those were the days my friend).

Until this morning that is.  Today is National Yoga Day.  I personally think today was a special gift from my angels for my patience and dedication to come to class after class and not getting my fix yet not giving up.  Today my teacher gave me 2 and a half hours of exquisite pain.

The first hour was spent in the normal class format but once everybody else left I was given the opportunity to do 108 uninterrupted sun salutations.

Oh the joy!!!

The first thirty wasn’t too bad.  Then it started happening.  My arms started aching.  My legs started feeling the strain.  My knees started to feel a tad bruised.

I was in heaven.

I kept going.

She asked if I wanted to stop – OH HELL NO!!!!  This was the most fun I’ve had in four months!

It took me ninety minutes to get through all 108 and I knew from the word go that I was going to succeed.  I embraced the sweet love of the pain.  My mind went still and I felt every delicate whispered kiss that hurt so beautifully.  I was switched on, tuned in, on fire.

Finally my hands went back into prayer position, I bowed down to the Big U and all of creation and then collapsed onto the floor.

I felt so alive!

Dead from exhaustion but alive.

It gave me pause to think what this crazy addiction to pain is really all about?

I’ve come to the conclusion that life will always include pain.  Our choice as human beings is how we’re going to approach it and respond to it.

Some of my most severe pain was in my early thirties when I took on the label of depression.  Shit it hurt like a mofo!  I’m not sure what was worse for me – the actual feeling of depression or the shame of being a woman with a successful life who simply felt no joy.  What the fuck was wrong with me?

I felt weak.

I felt like a failure.

I felt like every person who ever told me I would amount to nothing had won.

Before this point I had never admitted to my weakness and never asked for help.

And when I finally started reaching out to people they just didn’t get it.  Chin up Anel.  It will pass Anel.  It’s just a phase Anel.

It was like I had become invisible.  Like they couldn’t see the fucking pain.

So I shut down with medication.  Except the pain of feeling nothing at all was even more excruciating.  What was the point of existing?  What was the point of not thriving?

I went to therapy and the pain of reliving every shitty incident and relationship in my childhood just made no sense to me whatsoever.  I wanted to punch the stupid bitch after every session when she told me to go home and be gentle with myself.

I hated feeling weak.

Yes I said hated!

I fucking hated feeling weak because that’s not who I am.  It’s not my truth and every time that we live out of alignment to our truth our soul rages in fury and that fury splits you right down the middle.

So my soul decided to take matters in hand and showed me the kickboxing Dojo – thank you Ing (that’s my higher self in case you’re wondering).  She showed me that in order for me to feel fully alive, to be fully alive, all I needed to do was stay connected to my body.  When I can feel my body, all the pain, the exhaustion, the blood, I know I’m choosing my brand of pain, I’m in control of my life.

Because that’s what depression does – it takes you out of the driver’s seat.  You become a strapped passenger watching life pass you by.  You become the victim of a black satire.

Fuck that shit.

I’m a warrior!

I’m the creator of my life!

I’m the only driver in this Mercedes Benz.

You’re probably thinking I’m a little loopy at this stage.

Or maybe you get it.

Maybe you get the fact that for some of us there is a power in the decision to embrace pain.  Because let’s be honest Darling, no life is free from pain.  Why wouldn’t I then choose to make it my bitch?  Why wouldn’t I use my body to test my mind again and again, each time making her stronger and more indestructible?  Once your mind is at that point other pain in life becomes relatively easy.

Feeling the pain of a failing bank balance?  The victim sits and cries going further down the red line.  The warrior sits down, figures out a plan and takes action to turn it around.

Feeling the pain of a relationship falling apart?  The victim sits and cries, blaming the other person for everything thereby bringing the same shit to the next relationship.  The warrior sits down, looks inside, takes full responsibility for their role in the breakdown and heals that shit before even considering another relationship.

But none of this is possible if you hide away from pain.  Because ultimately like any other muscle, indestructability has to be trained again and again and again.

When my physical activity is void of any pain I can feel the emotional pain rising up because my mind starts getting weak and tiny mole-heaps become these ginormous mountains.

Here’s my invitation to you today – have a look at your physical activity and start identifying where you’re allowing yourself to hurt with the specific intention of working on your mindset.  Because here’s the other thing, if you just hurt for the sake of hurting and you’re not using this gorgeous tool to get stronger, well that’s a bit pointless isn’t it?  OMG and before you take this completely out of context, I’m not talking about cutting yourself or any shit like that!  I’m talking about doing sport as part of a mind-set strategy.  Then again if you were thinking that you should probably stop reading my work right now!

But wait, I wander off topic.  Once you’ve identified your sport of choice, start noticing where you actually do push into the pain barrier and what’s happening in your head.  Or are you stopping when there’s just a hint of what’s to come.  Because if you are chances are great that you’re playing small in other areas of life every time there is a possibility of getting hurt.

No pain no gain.

What do you need to tell yourself to push a little further?  What is the goal you need to set that makes the pain worthwhile?  What is the big why that will get you to HTFU?

This is part of the missing foundation for most people who don’t achieve their goals.  They never even look at the pain side.  Ultimately you want to set a goal and face all the possible pain because the pain of NOT achieving the goal should be far greater than the pain you will encounter on the journey.  And make no mistake Darling, there WILL be pain.  The ultimate purpose of any goal is for you to grow as a person and it’s called growing pains for a reason.

Now look at your existing goals and ask yourself, are you even working on the right goals?  Does the pain of NOT achieving it drive you enough to keep pushing on even when your body feels broken and bruised?  Because if the answer is no then put that baby away and dig deeper.

Life is way too short to work towards mediocre goals that you’re not prepared to hurt for.

And the greatest pain of all is mere existence.

After all death is inevitable.  Thriving is a choice worth bleeding for.

With love always,


PS:  Are you sitting there with a sensation of nervous excitement because every time you read my ramblings there is a spark inside of you, a whisper of desire?  Then now’s the time to light that baby up and start taking it next level.  How much longer are you going to wait Darling because trust me when I say that just sitting there with a smile tugging at your cheeks is not going to change anything in your life.  You have to take action.  You have one more week to sign up for Kick-Start and take your life next level in thirty days.  Hit reply right now and I’ll send you all the information you need to get your ass moving in the right direction.  You know you want to.  Just get out of your own way.