Saturday, April 7, 2018

Find the Warrior in You

April 5, 2018

I turned 65. WooHoo! I didn’t think I would make it, as my mother didn’t. This is the age we baby boomers associate with retirement. It’s another coming of age. I am Medicare eligible and accepted. Yay! It’s an age of exploring new territory, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I also made a 3,000 mile move across the country, from a house, a city, and friends of 30 years. Another adventure! WooHoo again!

Some people saw this move as brave, even courageous. I don’t know, it was just time. I was complete with where I was and ready for something new. I couldn’t have done it so easily without my good friend driving across country beside me, as my emotions were raw then, as I was tired and stressed. I couldn’t have done it as well without the help of my daughter, who ensured a place to live and work that was already lined up. I couldn’t have done it so easily if I hadn’t visited this town a couple times a year for the last 15 years, so I knew people and places. There was a sense of familiarity.

But all of this can be disarming, to some, to me. Before I left VA as I was ridding myself of many years of keeping things, I burned my journals. As I tossed them into the fire I would occasionally see a word, a drawing, a poem, or something I tore out to keep, as a last memento. I read about and didn’t keep my words saying I did not like competition because it made me feel inadequate. Wow! How many times have we not ventured to do something because we don’t feel competent at it so why try? How often have we not ventured out the box of our comfort zone to explore something unfamiliar?
My good friend from Virginia also said to me that I liked to do the things I wanted to do. Well, yes, because those are the things I feel competent at, and not so much maybe things some other people suggest. I am also reminded of being in many art classes where some of us feel very intimidated by the professionalism, or expertise, of others in the class. We compare ourselves and come up short and lacking. I personally look at an empty canvass and want what I put down to be “perfect”. How hard are we on ourselves and dismissive of our own abilities and capabilities?

 I remember after I had been teaching yoga for many years, a fellow student and yoga friend invited me to a meditation group. I thought about it for about half a second and firmly decided I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go to such a meeting because what if I didn’t know what to do, or how to meditate correctly? I would not meet the expectations of the group. I wouldn’t be accepted. I wouldn’t be able to do the very thing that was proffered.

Well, I am working on my insecurities. I am trying to do new, and old things, that I don’t feel very competent at. This idea of competition reminds me of yoga. Because we don’t compete in yoga. We don’t compare ourselves to the yogi on the next mat. We don’t try to be the first, the fastest, the one who can hold the pose the longest. We don’t attempt to show off and be the most flexible, or the strongest, or the most balanced. We may try to show up in those ways, but it is discouraged.

What I am struck with is how many people say they cannot attend a yoga class because they don’t know yoga and they don’t know what to do. That’s the insecurity I was experiencing, about not trying something new. It’s just about being confident enough to say, I can do whatever they’re doing, or something similar at least. We come to the mat to practice Warriors, especially Warrior 1 because that pose is about feeling confident, about being a warrior in our lives. We practice being a warrior so we can go out in the world and be brave and do anything. We can walk up to a stranger and say hi. We can help out a person we don’t know, or even one we do, if it stretches our limits. We can climb a mountain, take a trip, sew a pillow, whatever is our dream.

I invite us all to think about where we can be a warrior, where we can open ourselves up to new things, where we can be confident and living, as well as loving. I invite you to come to the yoga mat, and check it out. Take a trip toward yourself for your benefit and the benefit of all those beings around you.

If Dr. Seuss was a Yogi
Hello, good morning, today is the day
That you start your life in a totally new way.
With yoga you practice from a  bed or a chair.
You do it with company or on a  dare.
You can balance on your hands or on your feet.
You can even try it on the stre
Where you are is where you start
You need a body and a lot of heart.
But most important is that you try it today.
We’ll help you get started. Namaste.

--from Fearless after Fifty: How to Thrive with Grace, Grit and Yoga by Desiree Rumbaugh and Michelle Marchildon

I honor you. Namaste