Am I supposed to heed a message when I hear the same thing more than once from two unrelated sources? I am thinking so, even if it is a message I do not want to hear.
The message today: In many respects, I am like a child.
At almost 50 years old, how can this be?
When I first started yoga, the poses really clicked with childhood memories of tumbling on my front lawn with neighborhood kids, of gym class in elementary school, of good times when I was little with no cares and no fears. I was all over the trampoline; I could do walkovers and back bends. I could cartwheel and somersault all over the front yard.
And now, I am grown. A responsible adult as my college-aged nephew teases me, laughing at what he considers ironic. To him, I am an overgrown kid! He does not think like I did when I was little, that once you are an adult, you are all grown up. That was an endpoint in my young mind.
As an adult, I would not have guessed that I would be doing handstands and yoga whatnot at my age, much less looking forward to it and doing it all week long, having never really exercised before. In that way, I do feel like a child, and that is a good feeling.
So, when someone I look to for wise advice told me that he sees me almost like a child, I was a little surprised. I have raised my children on my own, handled my own finances, bought a house, a car, found a job and have generally made lots and lots of “grown up” decisions over the years. He was, however, referring to another type of growing up. He was talking about growing into my whole self, not looking to others for validation and growing into what he calls my own power as a woman.
It gave me pause because I never see myself as challenged in this way, and it made me think of the profound quote from an essay by Marianne Williamson that I had previously made certain to impress upon my children:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
I am not supposed to be afraid of myself!
I had my annual physical later that other day only to have the doctor tell me that my lab results were so clean and healthy, they looked like those of a child’s. You don’t drink, you don’t smoke and you don’t have any fun! he joked.
A joke to him, but real to me. I have lived a quiet life for some time now. Most likely, I have not realized my potential power. Unfaced fears can act as a fortress. And, apparently, I have launched my children but not myself.
Within a few days, I was back in the yoga studio. We were in Utkatasana, or Chair Pose. Standing with legs and feet squeezed tightly together, I dipped my hips low with knees bent, heart lifted and arms sparked upwards alongside my ears. It is a pose that we do several times in every practice. It is nothing new.
This is a familiar pose, the instructor said. But, today, I want it to be brand new to you. I want you to experience it like a child.
I sat in my imaginary chair like a child. It was a difficult pose, but this grown up yogi found comfort in her seat, even so.
A collection of Anne's posts can be found at http://yogaspeak.blogspot.com/