Oct 23, 2010

Last Chance Texaco

Standing bow pose will be the end of me. Standing on one leg, chest leaning down toward the floor, one hand pointed straight forward to the mirror, other hand on my ankle pushing back and up - my long lanky body was just not made for this kind of balancing.

Atleast not for one minute. But after 50 seconds of struggle, falling out and jumping back in, I suddenly make the right lunge and I am a standing bow, beautiful and strong and arched, foot rising majestically above my head, hand pointed determinedly at my determined forehead in the mirror, and anyone else who's fallen out is looking at me thinking "Damn he's good!"

What I'm thinking is, "Damn, why couldn't I do this 50 seconds ago?" Why does it take until the last chance to let go and just do it? Why do I have to let the seconds hand on the clock take away my fear instead of just releasing it? That's all I have to do really, let go of any fear that I'll fall out. My body does know how to do this, my muscles are strong enough to hold it for a full minute; it's my mind that's limited.

My buddy Jonathan and his son decided one day to learn a 1.5 flip off the diving board. For a full hour they tried, bellyflopped, backflopped, headflopped, and tried again. And for a full hour they persisted and they failed. More than a bit dejected after the initial enthusiastic high of "My boy and I are going to conquer this together!", they decided to just go for it one last time. Nothing to lose. And guess what - they did it. That magical last try, go for broke, bust past all the mental barriers and just make it happen.

I realize I wrote this same blog posting two years ago, when after a full hour of surfing lessons I managed to stand up on my very last try. Right after the instructor had yelled for us to come in. As I triumphantly surfed in (for at least 4 seconds!) I wondered why I couldn't have done this 30 minutes ago, when my body wasn't so tired, when I could have then kept working to get better. All that time I thought my body couldn't do it, when the real problem was my mind thinking my body couldn't do it.

How many times do we need to learn this lesson, to realize that we're suddenly dancing free and wild and beautiful because we forgot to wonder if we know how to dance? We are capable of so much more than we let ourselves believe.


  1. RCatlett@wavecable.comOctober 24, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    Rick: You struck a chord with these musings. So much of what we do physically is bound by our thoughts. I thing the phenomenon you comment on is a real one and having our mind let go of it's limits allows our body to fly free. Athletes call it "being in the zone". That magic time when the physical being takes over and executes perfectly. I don't know if we can learn this lesson; I think we alredy know it. It's just hard to get there.


  2. There is something so compelling about the last push, the only chance, the deadline. While I agree I wish I could instill that feeling in the first moment, I do appreciate that at least I get it at the last moment.