The view from upside down

I spend five hours in yoga class each week, given the luxury of an empty nest. It’s invaluable to my balance, that tenuous concept for all women–emotionally as well as the physical challenge. (I keep saying I’m going to find another way to talk about balance–we need a different term. It’s not an active enough word for the incredibly dynamic process of achieving well-being in our lives. Suggestions?)

The exercise room at my fitness center has floor to ceiling glass walls at the back. I habitually park myself near this wall, by the floor to ceiling mirrors, working to perfect my poses by glances in the mirror. Throughout the class, I’m upside down dozens of times, in standing forward fold or down dog. I’ve not quite figured out whether it’s the tempered glass of this back wall or the upside down position, but there’s a fun house mirror effect as I watch the latecomers hurry toward the room. Their legs look rubbery, feet appearing to roll along, all in slow motion. Remember Pokey and Gumby, rubber stop-motion characters from an old kid’s TV show? One of my sisters had the toy characters. They felt like those big pink block erasers, thick wires inside spongy legs. When we play-walked them along, the legs would buckle, almost bounce. This is how the people outside the exercise room appear–like elastic, stretching out slowly and snapping them backward, even as they hurry to class.

A friend found a little lizard in her bed. She picked it up to take it out of the house, and half of the tail pulled off in her hand. That creature had a choice of being caught–certain doom to it’s small brain–or being thrown off balance for awhile as it’s tail regenerated. In it’s innate lizard wisdom, the little guy is programmed to know it’s better to be imbalanced and know you’ll recover than trapped. What a shift of point of view.

Shift of perspective is a powerful tool. This week, I had two new clients come in, second time for each. At the first session, our discussions had provided such an incredible shift in the view each had of her situation. By the second week. each client felt completely past the problem. Jobs hadn’t changed, spouses hadn’t changed, family members hadn’t changed. All that had altered to solve the problem was the lens through which the problem was viewed.

Daily practice to change your point of view is a good exercise, stuck or not. Hang upside down. Try on a different pair of glasses, rose-colored or gray. Relabel loss as triumph, danger as healthy challenge, wisdom where nothing made sense. One of my favorite quotes from Caroline Myss is that ‘divine logic is not human logic.’ Perspective is often all we have control over–so control what you can, and let go of the rest.

2 thoughts on “The view from upside down

  1. Deb B. says:

    Great points! It is all about perspective. How rewarding for you that these women had much better outlooks after one visit!!

    I think balance is the right term, but it isn’t lady liberty or yoga-esque balance that conjures up some zen imagery. When I think balance in the context of my life, I think of the circus clown riding a unicycle with a bunch of teacups on my head…and sometimes a monkey darting in and out infront of me 🙂

  2. Vivienne McNeny says:

    In Benedictine Spirituality balance is the word used when they talk about equal measure of work, prayer and leisure during the day. As a householder, which I am since I don’t live in a monastery, I think of balance more as moderation. Do all you need or want to do in any given day, but do it in moderation; balance will be achieved.

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