Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mt. Everest

A great start to the day, taking my 9 year old and 2 of his friends to their choir performance (which parents weren't invited to, since the venue was a retirement home with limited space. I really wanted to hear "the pizza song", bummer!) Then, rushed home to make it just time time for Nathan to do an almost Clark Kent/Superman-like change into his baseball uniform from his dress slacks and tie. And when we arrived at the game, he was 3rd up to bat! (The other team won, by the way, with the aid a boy that looked like he was at least 14 and 2 heads taller than the other boys! Oh well, it's about the fun, not the score, right? ; ) )

Then, swung Nathan to his Aunt's and off to the fitness conference to spin with Josh Taylor, spinning master instructor. Followed by yoga with the most well-rounded fitness guru, Robert Sherman. OK... I don't even know where to begin, so I think I'll blog about Josh first, since well, other than having a school girl-like crush on the guy-- can we just say he's an amazing instructor who used to compete professionally against Lance Armstrong?! It was a last minute switch to the schedule, he wasn't supposed to teach this class, but he wanted to fly out since his supermodel- turned marathon runner girlfriend qualified for Boston on Monday (I don't really think she's a former supermodel, but I met her last year, and she might as well be. Not only beautiful, she had a lovely presence about her).
The theme of the ride was Mt. Everest... he basically coached us through something brutal-- an hour and a half of straight up with just 4 short 2-ish minute recoveries. How to overcome the climb?How to persevere? Well, he asked us "what is the one thing that you know you need to get over emotionally." What's has been "in your backpack" weighing you down, keeping you from being great-- who you really are. Then, he shared the story of losing his younger brother to a quick and terrible illness. And, how his teammates pooled money together, had his bike painted with a "T" on the center bar, so that when he raced, if he felt tired or like quitting, and his head began to sag, he would look down and be reminded of his brother, look up and ride like hell. He had something to fight for and to prove. Still not over the loss of is brother today, he used his personal story to coax an emotional connection from his riders.

Amazed at the power of my legs and unexplained energy I felt as I summited my Everest and mentally put my flag at the top. A sharp pang of grief for the loss of what I was "getting over" flooded through me immediately post summit. There is beauty in our own strength. And, what we can do with our bodies when we truly let go of holding back for fear of failure, fear of success, for pain, because we didn't eat well that day, didn't like the music or instructor, got distracted by our thoughts, or we just don't feel like giving it our best or anything at all.... I could go on and on with the excuses we make for our lack of will and desire or even our inability to grasp how to balance our own abition with softness & discernment.

If only I could convey to my students, as Josh did to me today in a way that spoke right to their hearts, helping them realize they already have inside them what it takes to do whatever it is to fulfill their passions, their dreams, their dharma. It already resides in you and in me. We have to accept it graciously, abundantly and live like we have it.

Today I walked away drenched, grieving, and yet strangely contented. Knowing that regardless of loss, I am in full bloom, as long as I'm willing.

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