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.