My favorite paradox in yoga is creating a pose with ease and effort. Finding a place to soften, to have ease, while simultaneously finding strength in that ease to build, with effort, strength somewhere else.
I'm a bit too tired to write about this but I just have to.
If I created my yoga practice with only my ego, it would be like creating my practice out of only effort. Where each body part was forced into place, shoving my limbs to bend or not bend, pushing my legs here or there. Without the ease and softening, my practice would be rigid, mechanical, stiff, and dull. Robot yoga.
"Your ego is a wonderful servant, but it's a terrible master..." Elizabeth Gilbert
My inner critic, or my ego, is a vicious nasty creature. My fear in life has always been success, not failure. Failure was ok. Failure was expected. Failure was ease. Failure was as easy as not even trying at all. I failed because I didn't show up, I didn't try, I didn't let myself care.
The thing about ego is that your ego will ALWAYS be disappointed, whether you try or don't try, win or lose, or draw. Ego will always be there to pick you apart no matter your effort or your ease.
"An unchecked ego is what the Buddhists call a "hungry ghost"--- for ever famished, eternally howling with need and greed." Elizabeth Gilbert
Don't feed the ghost.
"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray." - Rumi
Feed your soul. Listen for it. Be silently, quietly drawn by it. Find it in mediation or in the ease of your breath or softness of your practice. What does your soul want? Elizabeth Gilbert says, "More wonder, please." What else?
My soul wants to be alive and to have that equality among ease and effort, to tiptoe over a tightrope between the buildings of intellectualism and wild daydreams, I want salty and sweet, tough and tender. I want be the paradox and to love the paradox. I want to lose myself, to find myself.