I finally got around to taking that belly dancing class last week, and totally intended on writing about it, but each time I sat down to do so, all of the basic elements were the same - fun. concentration. sweaty.
Last night, as I deleted yet another draft about belly dancing, I came across a video of a guy who was determined to hold his handstand for three seconds. I think there are two types of yogis in this world - those of which handstands come very naturally, and then the rest of us, like me and this guy, who struggle with it because we have no arm strength, or we freak out once we're up there, or we convince ourselves we can't do it. Yoga teachers say you'll get there eventually - it is a practice, after all - but its hard to ignore your ego when you've been at this for a few weeks and you're still falling down like a baby trying to walk, except it hurts more because you're getting older. But one day, like some kind of miracle, you'll do that handstand. Yoga is crazy like that.
A little over a week ago, on a very bright Sunday morning, I woke up earlier than I wanted to. Not wanting to get out of bed, I turned on my phone to find a message from my mom with just the words "call me." Knowing something serious had happened, I called her immediately, expecting all of the worst things when you have an ailing grandparent, a sister in high school, a cat that has used up her 9 lives and then some. It was none of those things.
Our twenty year old neighbor was in a terrible motorcycle accident. As of today, he has lost both legs below the knee, after many days of wondering if the second knee would hold. A guy who was studying to become a state trooper and spent his summers surfing and his winters snowboarding, he is, by all accounts, in good spirits, and determined to do all of the things he did before. He's being moved to the same rehab that the Boston Marathon bombing victims were patients at, and my neighborhood is rallying and supporting in whatever way they can.
When I think about our friendship, it is a flurry of interesting moments - crazy nor'easters where we'd both be outside shoveling and snowblowing ours and our neighbors' driveways and sidewalks; walking him around the school he'd end up attending, and taking him to my favorite wing spot for dinner after; visiting his family's beach house and me, totally wiping out on the skim board, while he mastered it gracefully. Its strange to think that so many of those things that seem normal and uneventful will now become events in his life once again. He'll face many challenges and have a whole new future of firsts - walking, running, surfing - and it will no doubt be a long road, but I have zero doubt that he will succeed. He just has that kind of attitude.
Looking at this guy, who is determined to hold that handstand, and our neighbor, who is just determined to walk again... its a lesson in patience. Practice. Accepting that wanting to overcome this obstacle is half the battle. Each time that I try to get into my down dog, or my hand stand, and get frustrated, I have to remember that a year from now this will be easier. A year from now I will be able to do this and will move on to the next challenge. If these two guys, one a stranger and one not, can overcome a challenge, then so can I. I just have to take it one step at a time.