When I had my second and third hip surgeries, even when I was unable to walk, I still had complete use and facility of my hands.
When I began my yoga practice, I found that I was more interested and adept with my hands than with my feet. More at home with them. I remember a teacher once telling a group I was spending the weekend with (during a break), “Don’t mind Jill, she’s just more comfortable on her hands than on her feet.” When she said that, I realized that I was decompressing upside down, finding my breath, going waaaay inside so that I could find my way to be present with my present company.
When I was a child and I was under great stress, I would run out of the house and I climb trees. I used more of my hands than my feet in that endeavor. At the schoolyard, I would hang upside down on the monkey bars, just to find my breath and tune out the world.
So when I started yoga and saw the opportunity to learn how to go upside down, I took to it immediately. At first, it was all wrong. Everything was effortful, until it wasn’t any longer. And soon I was just hanging upside down again. Just breathing.
Right now, I find myself in a very potent, alarming and humbling moment. My hands are ready and waiting. But my arm is in distress due to a significant neck injury.
I am so grateful for all that I have been able to do with my body. I am grateful for all of the places my body has taken me and for all of the freedom it has afforded me when it has.
I may need to have another surgery in order to feel more freedom. But there are simply no guarantees.
The problem is what I have become attached to.
I have been told for years how strong I am. And yet, during this last year all that I have felt, is simply and utterly, worn to the bone.
I am accustomed to soothing myself by standing on my hands. To hold the possibility that this may no longer be a prudent choice, is big. Courageous.
I know it is just a pose (ultimately ruling out more poses). But it has also become part of my identity and in this moment, although it will transform into something else, letting it go, in the way it used to LIVE so naturally inside of me, actually feels like being asked to cut off my arm.
Ram Dass said “suffering is the resistance to what is.”
And so surrender is what is called for here.
Who am I if I am not my body?
Who am I if I am not in this pain?
Who am I when everything I know falls away?
Sometimes the most courageous answer you can give is “I don’t know.”
And so here it is:
I don’t know.
I don’t know who I am becoming.
Let the journey begin anew.
I bless what has been given here. I bless what lies ahead. I step into each step with the truth of the deepest listening I possess.
And I celebrate the beauty of the Olympic spirit. May this indomitable spirit become part of each of us.
The deepest evolution is finding blessing in all of it. May we each continue evolving.