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Whether your full body integration falls out of alignment in a headstand and you come crashing to the floor, a job you thought you were about to be promoted at lands you in a layoff, or you get dumped right after falling for someone and posting “in a relationship” on your social media status for all to see – nothing gets our attention like being confronted by the unexpected. Suddenly, we find ourselves in a surprising new space for which we weren’t prepared. We start wondering if we can embrace the change and fear that we might fall again.
Truth be told – we will fall again. We are guaranteed to…again and again. Challenges will come and go, whether we’re talking about our practice on our yoga mat or off the mat, in our lives. Life is full of curve balls that are bound to come up and disrupt our best laid plans. It’s simply a part of life that cannot be stopped from happening. Loved ones die, family members fall ill, injuries happen, vehicles break down – there are all kinds of unexpected things that come up and force us to modify our plans. When the unexpected happens, our work is to make sure we don’t allow ourselves to let those feelings of disappointment, frustration, and stress to overtake us. Because the moment we do, we give our power away and pretty much ensure that whatever the new plan is, will be a miserable experience for us and likely those around us as well.
I know from personal experience. I used to allow the unexpected things in life to really get to me. I would be frustrated and stressed out because in my mind all I could think of was that my perfectly laid plans were all a mess and that nothing I planned in its place would ever be as good. So, I would go into the new plan certain that it would be sub-par to the original plan, that would have happened if life hadn’t gotten in the way. My attitude and outlook on what lay ahead was pretty much guaranteeing that things weren’t going to go well, because that is how I was choosing to view everything that took place in the days ahead. So of course, it would be exactly that (power of the mind and our thoughts)!
Life experience finally helped to teach me that it is actually 110% within my control to have a totally different attitude when plans had to change. I could decide that rather than focusing on what “could have been,” I could focus on thinking that perhaps this change in plan was meant to bring something better into my life. Of course it’s often hard to imagine what could be better when you had your own great plan already, but that’s the beauty of it – our minds can’t see all the vast other possibilities of what special things might take place, thus, we have no idea just how incredible this new plan might actually turn out to be. You see – we have no idea what special experiences might come about or what special people we might encounter or spend time with…so maybe, just maybe, there is something a million times more important to be done or someone important we need to see that never would have come about if something unexpected hadn’t forced our own plans to change. And if we go into the change of plans with that attitude then we are far more likely to produce a self-fulfilling prophecy of having a great future ahead.
I’ve learned that having things turned upside down, has always left me in a new and transformed space. Lately, I’ve been working a lot on handstand – both on and off the mat. In doing so, I’ve realized that inversions serve as a great space for us to embrace and move beyond fears, expectations, and impatience. Think about it – when you are upside down, your whole perspective is literally turned upside down. All of a sudden, upside down has to become right side up. We must surrender and let go. We learn through inversions that things aren’t always going to go as expected, but that they just might turn out for the better that way. If we color our inversions or our lives with expectation, we pin ourselves against impatience and frustration, which ultimately discourages us from trying again.
Simply put, as the saying goes, “Life if a journey, not a destination.” There will always be challenges and situations that we didn’t expect that come along, like a crashing wave. But, there is always one thing we can control, and that’s our accountability and integrity, of which we show up with – both on and off the mat.
Just as with each wobble and fall in an inversion, we have an opportunity to see each wobble and fall in our life as an opportunity to learn and grow. Hopefully, each time we fall, we gain a little more wisdom to bring to our next “inversion.” Because truly, we’re never more alive, than when things get turned upside down.