As soon as I had put on my spandex shorts, Dharma hopped onto my pad and began to giggle. I felt a little self-conscious, I know my legs are little on the thin side, but I soon learned that he wasn't laughing at me, as much as he was laughing at the preposterous notion that I actually thought we were going to engage in a physical workout! "Irwin" said the master, "today, we are going to learn how to conquer ourselves. And for that, we need mental stength and agility." I replied, happily. "Thank goodness, Dharma! You know I'm not very athletic...even though I try to stay fit." And with that, our lesson began.
Conquering ourselves begins with knowing who we are. Oddly enough most frogs, and I dare say most humans, don't have a clue as to who they are. Often our self-image differs greatly from how others see us. I know I like to come acoss as strong and confident but the truth is, like many others, I don't always have an easy time knowing how to behave or how to make decsions that are best for me. This can cause success, and even happiness, seem very elusive. As Dharma explained it, this is caused by inner conflicts.
These days, we struggle to find our true path; we are pulled in many different directions. Why? Because many different entities are competing for your identity. Some of those may be real frogs (or humans) in our lives...parents, friends, relatives, co-workers, bosses...while some of them are the positive, or negative, role models that we've adopted. Then, let's not foget all those nagging voices in our heads. They're always relling us what we should, or shouldn't, do, say, and think. Yep. The mind of the average frog, and human, too, is a very busy place! And just like going to the gym, working out our inner "kinks" takes practice and lots of hard work. But the Dharma Frog assured me that it'll be all worth it. And I trust what he says.
Some of the more common inner conflicts humans face are good vs. bad; no, I don't mean evil bad but little stuff like playing hooky when you should be working. I grapple with this one all the time...should I goof off and go for a swim, or should I sit at my keyboard and get some work done. Another conflict that arises in most everyone is, "Have I set the bar too high for myself?" This often means that if we don't reach that goal, or dream, will we feel disappointed in ourselves and unable to forgive our shortcomings? And the third most common inner-conflict is, "What kind of leader am I? Am I inspirational and motivational...or super-driven to WIN at all costs?" This conflict can range from leading a team at work, to your son's little league team, or even just the way you are parenting your children.
My wise teacher has given me three relatively simple ways to conquer ourselves; to quiet those fears and doubts that prevent us from living our true and happy life. They may be simple, but that doesn't make them easy. Aything worth doing, takes a little hard work.
The first one is: Grow Up! You may think you are already a grown-up, but there is a big difference from living in an adult body and living with a mature mind. Being a true grown up means being happy in your skin, mastering your emotions, and living a happy, relatively stable and balanced life. Until you can master your emotions and become happy and contented with who and what you are, not much else can change. Growing up, then, becomes the single, biggest hurrdle any of us has to face. Next on the list is Go easy on the role models and mentors. We run into problems every time we put someone up on a pedestal and say, "I want to be just like him/her." Let's be realistic, no one is perfect...not even Dharma frog, although he comes pretty close! It's best, my teacher advises, to stick with specific goals and attributes that you aspire to, rathe than wanting to be like someone else. Be you and the best version of you. Stay clear of unattainable goals. A goal of 'being as rich as Warren Biffet' or 'being able to boss loads of people arounf like Donald Trump' well, let's just say, those goals will never serve you well. And, lastly, Identify those voices in your head. Spending time with yourself is a great way to learn who you are. Are those YOUR voices? Or are the voices of people from your past? Understand those voices and where they are coming from. Get to know them and understand them. In time, you'll be able to conquer them. When those voices are vanquished, you'll be more comfortable with your behavior. This will, in turn, make your decision-making easier; your decisions will reflect who you truly are. Dharma Frog has told me that when I learn to conquer myself, I'll be able to look in mirror and see (and LOVE) the real me and not some made-up complilation of other people; their thoughts, aspirations, hopes, and dreams. Nobody has everything worked out all the time. The best that we frogs, and you humans, can hope for is to do and be the best we can, each and every day. The wise old frog reminded me, "Remember, Tadpole, the frog who conquers others is strong. But the frog who conquers himself is mighty."
As soon as Dharma finished his tea and hopped away, I rushed to take off my athletic gear. Pretending to be something I'm not...like one of those weekend gym warriors...isn't going to help me grow up. I know the kind of workout routine that both my mind, and my body, need to become strong and powerful. So, I'm off now to try and be more of my authentic self. And that just MAY require an afternoon nap...and I'm OK with that.
Thanks for reading and I hope you'll come back tomorrow. You are always appreciated!