Start where you are and do what you can

While it’s been miserably, bitterly, teeth-chatteringly cold these last two weeks, I feel a warmth in my heart and bones that is becoming, day after day it seems, my new normal…AND I love it.  For months I have been making changes to make my physical self better, ergo, making my whole being and whole life better, but change is slow, and I am terribly impatient, and have, since the new year, been beating myself up a bit when I stumble…which is often, and that doesn’t make anything better.

I woke up the other morning thinking about tomatoes; it takes six weeks, OR MORE just from the time you put a seed into a bit of dampened soil, for it to germinate and grow enough to be even planted outside, let alone thrive, and then it takes almost three months after the seedlings are in the earth, under the sun, with daily care and maintenance, to actually have a fully ripened, big fat glorious orb of reddish-orange goodness that is ready for you to eat!!! So why, I ask myself, am I so impatient for the changes that are taking place in me?  …certainly a more complex living thing than a tomato??!!

I’m pretty sure that you are not supposed to ‘Yadda Yadda Yadda’ yoga, and I won’t tire you with all of these feel-good hippie-dippie words that keep pulsing through my brain, but I will write that I have felt “better” since joining yoga classes than I have felt in a long while, and honestly, I feel pretty fabulous most of the time anyway!  In August when I started to eat cleaner and drink less alcohol I knew I was on the right path for me, I just felt like a better version of myself.   I have fallen off the wagon a number of times since, too many to count, but I’ve not fallen so far that I’ve not been able to climb back onto said wagon. My pretend husband and I had a wonderful vacation in November to celebrate my birthday, and palm trees and hot sun really are good medicine for just about anything as far as I’m concerned, so that trip to Mexico certainly got the ball rolling for all of this joy, these uplifting sensations, that seem to be part of my new normal, however, starting yoga seems to be the icing that my cake of life was lacking.  Icing and cake that I’m not supposed to eat, but icing on cake nevertheless!!!

In a number of classes the yoga instructor has asked, “you didn’t drive yourself home from the hospital the day you were born did you?” and goes on to discuss the ‘crawl-walk-run’ way of growing and learning and evolving, and it is a VERY good reminder, particularly for somebody like me, who used to be much more fit and much more bendy, and who is basically starting from the very beginning, where fitness or stamina is concerned, that I should not expect to do things right, or well, from the start.

Sometimes when I am supposed to be concentrating on my breathing and maintaining a high plank, or some other strange uncomfortable pose where my legs are bent in ways that seem like it can’t possibly be beneficial to the body, or conducive to positive thoughts, I find myself thinking about how I used to be…how athletic and strong, and fit and thin I used to be, and then I feel myself getting annoyed…but then this magical thing happens, my brain says, “PSST!!! hey, lady!! you are supposed to be thinking about breathing… in through your nose and out through your nose, four counts in, eight counts out,  and do you know what?  You are 50 years old, and a Nana, and some woman’s mother, and here you are doing push ups, and oh wait, look here, here you are bending your left knee over your right knee, and now you are lifting your legs up in the air and grabbing on to your own feet, and now you are pushing your legs up in the air and still holding onto your feet! and guess what?!!   it doesn’t matter what you used to do, how you used to be, how you used to look…all that matters is that you are doing  THIS right now!!!”

The yoga instructor says, “you can’t be 100% 100% of the time” and that really resonates with me.  I am the first to admit my greatest character flaw might be that I hate to be wrong, so the “fear” of doing something wrong, or not well, or not as well as the person standing next to me, is one of those issues I have to deal with…but half of my brain beats myself up every class, and the other half of my brain lifts me high in the air, on the shoulders of the universe and praises my every bend and every breath.  I feel on some days that I can do anything I set my mind to, and some other days I feel like I will never, ever, get to where I want to be.  In those moments I  think about this quote I once read;  Start where you are and do what you can.  In those few words I feel so free, so capable, so confident.  I never like to tell anybody what to do, but I feel pretty comfortable telling you this; if you feel stuck in any way…in any situation, just do this right now…Start where you are, and do what you can.



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