Thursday, September 11, 2008

Handstand Lessons

“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” - Julia Cameron

For the last few weeks, I've been quietly obsessing about the outcome of my big race for the year. Despite knowing better, I've struggled to not focus my attention on the super-secret, radical time goal that I've set for myself.
Work is crazy and I need to rearrange my training schedule this week.
How will this affect my goal?
Between travel, family, and an approaching hurricane, I'm going to miss my long ride on Saturday.
After all of this work, am I going to miss my goal because of this?

I'm tired and hungry and cranky and just need to skip this afternoon's swim. Ooh, will I still make my time goal?

Then, on Monday, we practiced handstands in my yoga class.

Instead of focusing on the potentially scary outcome - falling, looking like a fool as we try and try to kick our legs up, being uncomfortable upside down - Sage encouraged us to focus on the process, specifically paying all of our attention to the alignment of our bodies.

I breathed. Said "No fear." Focused exclusively on my mountain pose. And for the very first time, I did it.

I made it up and stayed there.

I trusted the process and the process worked.

All week I've been returning to that lesson. Instead of focusing on the outcome of my upcoming, final race or the time trial I have the next day -- or even the complicated and sometimes scary projects I'm managing at work right now -- I'm trusting the process that I've seen work over and over and over again throughout the last two years of becoming an athlete: plan ahead, eat right, drink water, go to bed, listen, show up, breathe, and do it. When I surrender the illusory control I think I have over the outcome, I'm not only happier -- but more successful in reaching what I'd been hoping for all along.

The parents living at Genesis Home know this all too well. When they accept the things they cannot change and change the things they can, they reach their goals: independence, safety, and a home of their own.