Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Push for perfection or accept status quo - Are some battles worth fighting for?

Just as I was about to write this post about my experience in class yesterday (it was painful and unbearable!), my human resources manager walked in to complain how the tax department in India had not given her a refund she was owed for the last two years. She will lose the entire amount if it is not refunded to her before March 2009. By paying a 20% bribe she could get it all back, but she is reluctant to do it as she feels the company owes her that money (even though technically it was not the company's fault).

What does one do in this situation? I couldn't encourage her to pay a bribe, but at the same time, some battles are not worth fighting for. In the end no one wins. Without being judgement about the state of affairs of the Indian Tax Department, this battle I know will result her in losing the entire amount. So I asked her "Would you rather lose 100% or get at least 80%?". Her response was "I just want all 100%" implying the company give her a 100% and take the loss.

This didn't seem like a fair transaction to me. So I shared some personal experiences where I settled for something less than what I deserved, because I knew if I fought for that 20% more, I wouldn't get the 80% no matter how unfair it felt. At the same time I have engaged and seen other folks engage in meaningless battles, where there was no winnder. I am not sure if she got the message completely, but it certainly re-assured me of my decisions in the past to not engage in certain battles in life. Its better to accept "status-quo" in order to move forward vs fighting battles that you know you can't win. They result in unwanted pain and suffering and there is no learning from that pain. Some battles are just not worth fighting for!

So here is the connection back to my class yesterday. It was with the lady who I described as awesome from the class on Thursday as she so diligently focused on ensuring we spent time in executing all the small steps to get into poses. She also teaches the Tuesday AM class (yesterday). I was glad to see her. The theme was restorative and forward bends mostly in sitting down positions, Adhomukha Virasana, Sukhasana with forward bend, Badhakonasana in forward bend with head resting on bolsters.

These poses can be painful if you have not done some warm up stretches prior. She pushed us to extend and push down the sacrum in order to get the thigh muscles down to get extensions in the spine. It was a repeat of the class from yesterday, except that I had already tired myself out from walking for an hour prior to the class. I didn't ease into them, such as using a chair to rest my head on vs a bolster and blankets. In this quest to push, I was battling against my body and my body was telling me "NO"!. Was it Ego, was it intimidation or was it the quest to fight my own body that made me not get up and just get a chair. I went against my own gut feeling, because the teacher was pushing everyone to go for the maximum stretch.

Did I ever lose this battle! My glute muscle pain around the sacrum returned this morning with a vengeance and so did my right shoulder pain. I overextended myself as I fought the battle against my own body for the sake of perfecting the pose and showing the teacher that I could meet her expectations. I didn't let go of my Ego! Was it worth it? - NO! Will I suffer the consequences - YES! Do I expect to fully recover - YES! But, I expect to be in pain for the remainder of my time in Pune and then some.

Some battles are just not worth fighting for - that was my lesson for today!


The Yogi

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