February 19, 2021

Your movement challenge: Try something scary

In October, my son got 2 Covid-kittens.

Fleur and Hermione. Fleur is the smaller one but oddly, she’s much braver than her sister.

Predictably, my phone has been blowing up with kitten pictures. Kittens sleeping. Kittens snuggling. Kittens chasing their Flippity Fish.

Yesterday, my son reported that Fleur flew into his bathroom and parkoured off the side of his tub into a back-flip. That sounds elegant but in reality, the execution was off. Fleur ran up the tub wall and backflipped to the floor. But she didn’t time it right.

Instead of somersaulting, she flopped.

This isn’t a unique incident.

Hermione got stuck in a paper bag 3 days ago. Fleur went through a phase when her nails got stuck in her scratching post and she couldn’t pull them out. Both cats had trouble calculating the jump from the sofa onto the cat tree.

But after each awkward, embarrassing, ridiculous end to what was probably an elegant, Olympic-worthy maneuver in their little kitten-mind, they just moved on.

Sometimes it would take a moment to regain their composure. They might need to shake it off a bit.

But they never stopped.

Embrace a movement challenge (like a kitten)

So what does this have to do with you, my friends?

Today I want to talk about embracing movement challenges.

I invite you to think of your practice the way Fleur thought of her parkour move–a practice worthy of trying regardless of how it turns out.

I’m in the middle of my own kitten-like discovery.

I’ve been working on the advanced Pilates exercises and for this middle-aged body, they are a challenge.

Snake is particularly difficult. Not only is it physically demanding but also, I’m a little nervous about it. If I don’t get it right, the carriage could slip away from me and I’d fall. I worry that my SI joint will tweak.

So I position my hands on the reformer carefully, reposition them again (just to be sure), and then lift one leg onto the footbar. I prepare to lift my second leg…

And then I get stuck.

Do I put my knee on the reformer first before I heave myself up? Do I move directly from the floor?

The carriage starts to slide every time I lift even a little of my weight off my standing leg. It’s a puzzle with no obvious answer.

My solution? Make like Fleur. Just do it.

I lift my foot off, panting and grunting. I heave my hips into the air. And I rush through two Snakes and two Twists before landing on the reformer, out of breath.

It. Is. NOT. Pretty.

I don’t like not being pretty. Even though I like the challenge of a new, difficult exercise, I don’t like the awkward, spastic mess my body becomes as I try to master it.

But here’s where Fleur and Hermione step in as our Obi-wan masters.

Fleur and Hermione don’t fret if they did their maneuver correctly. They don’t stall because they’re afraid that they’ll hurt themselves. And they definitely don’t let their fear of trying stop them.

A movement challenge for you: Do something new and scary

In the spirit of Fleur and Hermione, I offer you a movement challenge. Try a new, scary exercise. Do something which makes you worried that you’ll look ridiculous.

And as you try, notice if you’re having fun. How does it feel to let go of fear? Do you enjoy embracing challenge?

Let your inner kitten out. Try something you’ve never done before, just to see what happens.

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