What a 17-Year-Old Boy Taught Me
I love my Sunday yoga class when it’s getting so close to savasana time (aka nap time) I can taste it! The flow has slowed down and we are sitting (yay!) doing some hip opening stretches so I know I am in the home stretch (no pun intended) of this week’s class. Then the dreaded words from my yoga teacher echo throughout the room, “We are going to practice our headstands now….”. She continues to go on about how if we need wall space or assistance but by then her words are just muddled sounds in my head.
I can’t do headstands. OK- technically I probably COULD but I am SCARED to do them. Not because I don’t want to have that lovely all the blood in my entire body rush to my head feeling or because I am scared I will make a fool out of myself and crash and burn. I have a HORRIBLE neck. I have x-ray confirmation that the curve in my neck (cervical spine) curves in the opposite direction of that of a healthy neck. So although I have never been officially told not to do headstands, the 3 times my neck has gone out on me and forced 2 days of complete bed rest each time is enough to scare the asana right out of me.
So what do I do when it is the dreaded “headstand time”? Well, I sit in a corner with my head tucked between my knees and rock back and forth to comfort my embarrassed and bruised ego. OK- no, I don’t do that, but I sure as hell feel it sometimes! Yoga always has an amazing way of leveling the playing field doesn’t it? People assume that because I am a trainer/instructor I can handle any type of exercise/pose/move that is thrown my way and if I can’t in that moment, I will next time. NEWSFLASH! I am only human and there are some things I JUST CAN’T DO.
We all have things in our life like this. Yes, even Superman has his kryptonite. So it is up to me to make a decision about how to respond to these limitations. Curl up in a corner and weep or move onto something else I CAN DO. I was inspired earlier this year by a 17-year-old boy named Sam Berns. He was diagnosed with an extremely rare disease called Progeria. The video I am sharing is Sam speaking at a TEDx talk. This whole video fascinates and inspires me but at about 3 minutes into this talk is when Sam truly hits on something BIG. Sam says something I try and carry with me each and everyday since seeing this video. “Be OK with what you ultimately can’t do because there is so much you CAN do” So unbelievably simple and yet so incredibly inspiring! He goes on to say when he is in a situation where he can’t do something because of his disease; he realizes what he is missing out on and acknowledges these limitations but instead focuses on his passions and what it is that he CAN do. Sadly, Sam lost his battle to Progeria in January of this year, but his words of wisdom and insight will never be forgotten.
How easy it is to focus on all the things we can’t do because our given situations! Since starting my own business money is tighter than tight! There are so many things I have given up and stopped doing and in the beginning it was SUPER DUPER depressing! Just thinking of all the restaurants and clothing stores I would no longer be able to visit and all the pedicures I would have to go without put a huge black cloud over my everyday world. After hearing Sam’s story and his TEDx talk that I am sharing, it made me rethink my perspective and doom-and-gloom attitude.
Hopping back onto the yoga mat with me feeling frustration and angst with this whole headstand situation and surrounded by beautifully stacked upside down bodies, I set myself up for dolphin pose. Just like headstand, it helps to strengthen my shoulders and back but without the stress on my neck. I breathe and focus on what I CAN DO. What situations in your life present limitations? Where do you feel shame, embarrassment or resentment because of something you can’t do? I encourage you to watch the entire video of Sam’s TEDx talk (it is only about 12 minutes long) and change your perspective. If a 17-year-old boy with a deadly disease can do it I am pretty sure you can too.