In February of this year I fractured a bone for the first time in my life. My collarbone to be exact. It took 2½ months to heal to the point that I could once again practice down dog and handstand. Prior to the injury from a standing forward bend I could press up to handstand, legs straight from feet on the ground to soles to the sky. However, when I returned to this pose I could at first not even get my feet to lift off the ground in that straight leg position. Today, for the first time in the 3½ weeks since I began a morning ritual of trying to press up, I was able to root my hands and draw my feet off the floor for two seconds. Progress.
I would have thought that my inability to press up would cause me frustration or anxiety or disappointment or irritation. But as I try and only get as far as I get I find a deep satisfaction in what I am accomplishing and a kind of delighted curiosity in having to take this journey again. What new thing will I learn? How will my approach be refined through having to work through the physical boundary I now have?
The boundary is an opportunity to get stronger and smarter. Always.
I think of Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. He begins the text coming up against the emotional boundaries of doubt and despair. It causes him to literally collapse. He lets his bow and arrows drop to the ground and physically sinks down to sit on the floor of his chariot (v.30). Even his warrior spirit diminishes (v.32). He perceives the coming battle as a terrible event that will fragment the very order of the universe (v.40-44).
Because of the limiting doubt of his troubled heart his dear friend Krishna teaches him of the paths of Yoga, of the nature of reality, of the cultivation of clarity and wisdom and of the setting in motion of action and its consequences. He even reveals his true Self to Arjuna as the highest Universal Principle of life.
Arjuna is educated in a way that he never would have been had he not encountered the boundaries he did. The doubt caused him to ask questions. The despair compelled him to seek the truth. And that truth, in the end, sets him free.
So I open to the Grace of my good fortune to be injured and to be healed. I open to the new limitations as blessings.
I place my hands on the floor.
I consciously breathe.
I lean forward.
And invite my boundaries to set me free.