(Dedicated to Kevin: Your heart is so much more capable of forgiveness and love than you believe.)
You can handle it. This truth stands no matter what it is.
How do I know?
I’m in a cafe, sitting across from a young boy in a wheelchair. The only communication he can manage is an occasional gurgle. His mother is patiently feeding him a blended drink from a spoon, her steady hand responding to his erratic head twists and flapping arms without spilling a drop. Invincible.
My friend Michelle is holding her world — and herself — up by the straps of her camera bag these days. The last count was 15,736 beautiful wedding photos to process, give or take a thousand. Her dream of sailing south for the winter is years away, and she still gets up every day and thinks about how she can do it all better. Invincible.
My parents celebrated their 40th anniversary recently. Two of my best friends have survived the first few months of their first newborn. I am sustaining a life I love by teaching yoga, a business that seemed nearly impossible from my desk in cubicle nation six years ago, and nearly irreparable after being broken by another six months ago. Invincible.
And only a few months before this moment, I laid in bed and suddenly felt the love I’d lost near me again, the skin of his arm on the tips of my fingers, the way it was the last time I saw him. I had no idea it would be the last time I would see him, the last time I would touch him in the morning, asleep, so near. That night, I laid in my bed and mourned the loss of him all over again. I cried, I fell asleep, I got up the next day, I let it go, again. I forgave, I chose to love, I kept the wound clean. Invincible.
There’s something about being invincible that goes beyond just surviving. When we realize that the sky won’t fall every time things go belly up, down the drain or hit the fan, we’re free to drop the drama and truly recover, truly live our lives. Just surviving implies an approach to life — an intention — that consists of burning out, being angry or negative, and becoming exasperated. It’s powerless. But recognizing that we can handle what life throws at us with grace and strength means we can approach life with the intention to love more, harm less, let go, hang on and learn. That’s powerful. When we understand our invincibility, we cease to react; instead, we simply choose.
And that is what we’re really practicing when we fully engage in yoga. Dropping out of our chicken-little minds, following our breath into our bodies, we get present to our true intention. We choose to be here now, alive and powerful. And with that present awareness we move through every single posture because we can.
You are invincible.
Asia Nelson is the Director of Pranalife Yoga and lead instructor for Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training in Waterloo, Ontario. She is currently balancing her passion for yoga with a PhD in culinary genre, which is a fancy way of saying she’s going to be a very educated food writer and food literature aficionado along with thinking big thoughts about yoga. She keeps it real by getting on the mat and into the kitchen as often as possible. She’d love to connect with you via Twitter, Facebook, through Pranalife or via her personal blog.