I have never been all that accepting of limits and the things I have let go of generally have claw marks on them. A friend once told me that my issues with authority were so severe that if I were dictator of the world I would stage a coup d’etat. I once looked backed and saw how much of my life was set up so that no one could tell me know. I had a lot of attitude and very little trust in others – a product likely of being on my own at such a young age.
But even as a grown adult now, there are few areas in my life where someone other than me sets the limits so when I bump up against a limit I really struggle.
Six and a half weeks ago I had major neck surgery – they cut out a section of four vertebrea in the cervical spine and put in two rods to hold my neck together. This happened while I was in the middle of my 300 yoga teacher training with a very busy schedule of training, teaching 4 classes a week, two kids and just life happening.
At first I did not want to put teacher training on hold and wanted to miss as few days as possible and was working a plan to make up the time I would have to miss as quickly as possible. Post surgery in a hard collar life started to change. I could barely life my arms up to wash my hair. I was not allowed to drive. And was in too much pain to do much of anything. Thankfully I had a strong community, sangha, that organized visits and taking me out so that I would not be too lonely or bored. My surgeon cleared me to go back to training provided I did no asana. I went for one day and was in so much pain that night and the next day. Then I started dreading going back.
I have learned things in yoga. One is called ahimsa. Non-violence. Compassion to self and others. The other was non-grasping or clinging to things. I sat with this for a few days and contacted the head of my teacher training and let her know that I would not be able to finish this year. They are letting me suspend training and pick it up where I left off at no additional cost. Very kind and gracious. But it was a big letting go. I could hear myself saying “I am not a quitter!!” But then I could hear the quiet little voice saying – ahimsa, compassion.
But there was also the limits my body has set. I could not drive for six weeks and had to depend on others for pretty much everything. Hard. I have a great and kind sangha but I struggle still with trusting that they will be there. And the limits my body sets every day. That I can only walk slowly right now until my neck heals rather than do all that yoga. That I can teach yoga now but I had to become practiced at teaching with more verbal instruction/assists and less demonstration.
Everything as I age – I will be 50 this year – is a new limit. A new opportunity – welcome or not, to let go. Its hard. But the moment I let go is the moment that I get peace. So that I can be happy for my fellow trainees who will finish this year without resentment or bitterness – which would have been a thing for me in the past. And every yoga pose as I slowly start to do them will be learning what my new limits are and offer me an opportunity to meet myself with ahimsa rather than aggressively pushing through something to potential further injury.
And finally, as I age so do my children and there is big letting go there. I no longer dictate all parts of their lives and have to let them figure some things out themselves. Let them make their own choices even if it is not a choice I would make. With guidance for sure but there are more and more areas where we talk things through and then I let them make their own choices. Its interesting to watch the progression. And the progress I make all the time in more easily and quickly, accepting limits and letting go.
As they say, let go and let God. Surrender.