I ran across this picture recently. It was from my yoga teacher training in India in 2013. The look on my face was complete shock and awe that I was in that pose. Legs in lotus, on my knees, back straight and arms in the air, I was shocked. I'm fairly certain I went tumbling over in the next second, but that doesn't matter. For that moment, in that instant, I did something I never thought I could physically do.
Our bodies have this incredible ability to shock us, for the good and for the bad. And in an instant, it can completely change.
I fully believe that when we are in physical pain, our bodies are talking to us. They are telling us something more sinister is going on in our lives. If I have neck pain, it is usually due to stress I've been holding in. If I have back pain, it is usually because I am ignoring something and instead doing nothing. And if I can't sleep, it's everything.
My body has been my biggest cheerleader as I have uncovered parts of me that I hadn't realized were hidden. When I have difficult conversations that I dread having, that keeps me awake at night, that pulls my stomach into what seems like un-ravavable knots. (You are correct, I made that word up, but stay with me here, for emphasis I think it works) And when the conversation comes and sweat is coming out of everywhere, red is all over my face because the nerves have come so much to the surface my body has no other way to release it. And then, and then the conversation is over. The sweat dries, pale color of my skin comes back, suddenly my stomach is settled and all of a sudden, I am breathing again.
Our bodies also fail us when we need them the most. I'm watching my dog's sweet old body deteriorating while his mind is still with me and here and very much living. I've seen how our bodies take us off our paths with a sudden crash of a painful reality. And it hurts. Physical pain, yes, but what it does to us mentally, that's something else.
And that's when we are given an opportunity to live by surprise. For the moment we don't feel the physical pain or have a sensational appetite when before nothing sounded good. Or when we have bursts of laughter that makes the pain ravaged but worth it. Our bodies they shock us because our mind limits us. And sometimes, when the physical body takes us on a path we were not expecting, either landing on our knees with our arms in the air or our hands in prayer and our heads bowed, we get the opportunity to readjust our mindset. Our minds controls so much, or it tries to. Then our bodies can be the first to say "Shut the F*ck Up and Listen". And then we do.
How we view life, how we take in what fails us and what worries us, who we let drive our boat and who we let in, that's what matters. My sister will tell her girls when one of them gets involved in a discussion with the other or when they tattle on someone "stay in your boat" and I absolutely love that phrase. Our lives come with so many complications, choose who you give your life rafts to cast back when you need it. When we are drowning in sickness and negativity, it is who we allow in our boat to keep us moving forward. Our bodies, they surprise us, in good ways and in bad, our mindset, however, that's what can cast us out to sea in a boat, all alone.
I don't know, it is a ramble of words, but the purpose of it is this: be mindful, for you never know when the road will bend or when the traffic will suddenly stop, but your body will tell you and you get to choose purpose and breath and drive and pause.