Why Bother Showing Your Bruises?
When my sons were young, they loved showing off their small, but significant wounds. They’d roll up their pant leg or push up their shirt sleeve and point to the fresh scrape, cut, or bruise. Then they’d go into great detail telling me how they’d skidded off their bike, jumped off their skateboard or tackled a teammate in soccer. Like badges of valor earned after a battle, they were proud and unashamed of the black and blue bump they’d gained while having fun at playing hard.
Working Hard and Having a Blast
It is good for me to be reminded of how much fun playing hard can be. Recently, I spent a Sunday afternoon at a yoga arm balancing workshop, working with great diligence and having a blast.
At the workshop, nine or so other participants and I copied the instructor as she demonstrated how to balance our knees just above the elbows in crow, flying crow, hurdler pose, and eka pada koundinyasana. With each pose, the teacher first demonstrated with ease, how to move into it, how to hold it and then how to safely move out of it. Before we practiced the poses however, she reminded us that a folded blanket placed strategically where our face might fall would take away some of our fear of falling.
Then we each went to work on our poses. Balance poses force you to focus on the pose and nothing else. Gathering your thoughts together as well as coordinating your body causes you to narrow your thinking down to you, your mat and the pose.
Although I lift weights to keep my arms strong, the arms are not where the strength comes from. The power comes from the core, including the abdominals and obliques.
Firing up the core fires up the center of power. But still it’s not muscular energy that gets you where you are going as much as it is the focused concentration and the magic of discovering your point of balance. Oh my, when you find that point of balance, body parts, such as the feet and extended legs, seem to float up off the floor and a person can’t help but smile.
Like everybody else in the room, I’d laugh when I crashed, shout out, “I did it,” when I finally did and applaud when someone found their point of balance. Beads of sweat pooled above our upper lips, and we stood back drinking down our bottled water to watch as someone’s appendage floated magically off the ground.
At the end of the workshop the teacher’s parting words to all of us were, “You will be sore tomorrow.” In the morning, not only was I sore, but I looked at the flesh just above the backside of my elbows and discovered a bruise on each arm. Like my sons in their younger days, my earnest work at playing hard had earned me two black and blue wounds.
At school that day, when my fourth graders asked if I’d done anything fun over the weekend, I rolled up my sleeves and proudly displayed my bruises.
“Wow! Mrs. Luikens, what happened?” Then I told them my story.
Why bother showing your bruises? It is worth it when you can tell an audience just how hard you played to earn them.