In yoga class today, I tried to do a handstand.
No. I tried the thing you were supposed to do if you couldn’t manage a handstand. Then I tried the thing for people who can’t manage the substitute.
I couldn’t do any of them. But I tried a few times, attempting to push away the thoughts about how ridiculous I looked. When the disabled war veteran keeps falling in that inspirational yoga video, it’s … inspiring. When I do it, not so much.
“Never Give Up,” the video caption says.
At this moment in my life, that’s a complicated message. I’m trying to break my dependency on measurable goals and achievements. I’m trying to accept myself in my current, unimproved state. If “Never Give Up” means “Never Be Satisfied With Where You Are In Life,” then it is the wrong slogan for me.
But I do have goals. One goal is to try things out, even when I’m afraid of them. (Like this whole blog, and the Mary Oliver Challenge itself.)
A related goal is not to stop trying just because the first attempt fails. So in class today, when I put my hands on the floor and my feet against the wall and they slid right back down, I tried again, and again, and again.
It didn’t get easier. I didn’t see any improvement. I may never achieve a handstand, and I’m not setting that goal. But if I’m in a class where handstands are on the agenda, I’ll give it another shot. I might give up on specific goals. But I won’t give up on myself.
What is the Mary Oliver Challenge? Glad you asked! You can read about it here.