Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Scarred is Another Word for Scared

I have no idea where I'm going with this post. Bear with me.

I took a yoga class yesterday. At the end of class, we usually meditate while the instructor offers some pearls of wisdom. For this class, she discussed scarring, and how it is difficult to stretch through a scar because scar tissue is not as flexible. She then talked about how scarring can be a mental barrier as well as physical. While it is possible to regain flexibility, we sometimes stop ourselves with the memory of a scar.

This had me wondering about my own internal scarring. I've had asthma all my life and my lungs have collapsed/partially collapsed during two different episodes in the course of my life. Even at my peak of physical health, I've always been frustrated in my yoga practice because I felt like I couldn't bring in enough air or breathe as efficiently as I wanted to. Now I see that there could be a real limitation to overcome.

The idea of the scar memory is interesting too. I think that is defined by the "I can't" statement. I used that often when I was younger. "I can't run because I have asthma." "I can't have pets because I'm allergic." "I can't do what others do because there is something wrong with me." I can't, I can't, I can't...It starts having less to do with the physical scar and becomes its own mental scar. So many scars from that tiny phrase.

When I was in sixth grade, we had to write a composition about ourselves. My teacher observed how I mentioned my asthma in the very first sentence. I didn't realize I was defining myself by my asthma until that moment, and I was determined not to let it run my life. That began a life long ambition to do the things I wanted to do instead of letting asthma hold me back or give me an excuse not to try. It was a long road, but I think I've done a good job of redefining myself. I have tried many things, including belly dancing, juggling and trapeze (single trap), I've had three children naturally and unmedicated (one at home), I've traveled, I have pets, the list goes on and on.

When I taught circus arts in after-school programs, I began to hear that phrase again from my young students. I can't. I told them that can't is a contraction, and for me it means "can try." It is a legacy I hope I am passing to my own children. Life is too short to be held back by our scars.


Vicki said...

You continue to amaze me with your wisdom. Emotional scars can run deep, too. Guess that's why I try so hard to keep my kids from 'scarring' situations. I like the can't = can try. I'll have to remember that myself.

Keeley said...

You go, girl. Thank you for the inspiration.

Purpleflowerpatch said...

I'm so glad you shared this!! I'll be meditating on it this week...lots of food for thought and refection. Btw, you are an AMAZING woman, the poster girl I now realise for the I CAN AND WILL Club. ;-)

Jessica said...

I can completely relate to this! I too have asthma and celiac disease. I have learned not to define myself at all by these so called limitations. Actually most of the time people don't even know I have them unless I end up eating some where with them or I have to use my medication. I don't consider them limitations any more only something to work from. My diet just means I have to be more healthy and creative with my meals. Asthma just means I have to be careful about keeping my meds on hand. Other than that I can do what I love to do and eat the things I love, I just find another way to do them.

Inner Elder said...

You have come a long way. And what an insight! You are very wise indeed for someone so young. Love, Mom

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