July 17, 2013

Abs for the Ages. ~ Amy Blanding

“Every day, God gives us the sun—and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy.” 

~ Paulo Coelho

The Practical:

I go to Salt Spring Island to visit my friend for New Year’s.

She’s a Moksha Yoga teacher, and I’m interested in the practice, so she agrees to show me some techniques and postures. My friend asks me how my upper body strength is and I say, “really good.” I say this with confidence as I think back on all my early-morning boot camps at the gym and regular sessions in the weight room. In the middle of her living room, she talks me through a short flow into chaturanga dandasana/plank position. I hold it steady, focusing my energy on perfect form and masking my exertion. I ignore the pressure in my hands and wrists and breathe deeply.

I’ve got this; I’m strong, prepared and so damn eager.

Then she picks up a green block, puts it between my upper thighs, and lightly touches my body in two or three areas, shifting my form ever so slightly. Immediately my core begins to quake and shiver and I feel an intensity of muscle exertion that I’ve never felt before. I giggle—barely—when I realize that I can’t hold my body up and I drop to the mat. Less than one minute of work and I’m spent. I look up at my friend and say “that shit is real.”

I think to myself “I’ve got a lot of work to do on my core.”

The Subliminal:

It had been a long time coming, and I thought I had made some good progress.

I had two years of work, recovery, rehabilitation, reintegration and conscious self-reflection. Oh yeah, I had read all the books and sought-out wise teachers. I reorganized my life and fought to regain control.

After being hurt so badly by the people closest to me I was learning—ever-so slowly—how to reach beyond the ache and find the reconciliation waiting there. All I was looking for was forward momentum, which was something different than the stagnancy and depression I had been dwelling in for too long. Then I felt like I had found it.

I no longer felt like a monster, but just another piece of humanity learning to dig through suffering to the joy of life on the other side.

Except then an email or a damn Facebook post pops up and suddenly I go from walking upright in my righteousness to feeling like I’ve been punched in the gut. I can’t find a deep breath anywhere and everything good turns into a milky black sadness. As I sink, I know—this shit is real.

I think to myself “I’ve got a lot of work to do on my core.”

I used to think that real, authentic, lasting happiness must take a long time to happen. Everything else takes so much work, so too must contentment, right?  Yet this morning I woke-up to soft yellow sun, music, and a blueberry muffin.

A moment of peace.

A feeling of love.

So I bow in gratitude to the core.



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Assistant Ed: Dana Gornall/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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