A Happy New Year Free Of Fear

I’ve largely lived my life by these words, in spite of sometimes vacillating when I’m on the precipice of going through with whatever it is that’s frightening me…

Generally – after tears have dried, and doubts have reached their peak – I dive in. Why? Because ANY day could be my last. Not going through with something is a disservice to every part of me – heart, soul, mind, body, spirit.

For years, though, I shied away from figure skating, a sport I grew up doing. I learned at so young an age that the slick, icy surface of the rink was like walking on solid ground is to a toddler… The rink was my second home. But after a massive setback in 2012 with a leg torn in three places, severe contusions, a 2-in-1 reconstruction surgery, and a complicated…very long-winded…recovery, I always seemed to find a reason not to lace up again.

With the goal to become a Black Belt (and getting sidelined while at Brown) I went back to the Martial Arts that claimed my left knee. A year and a half later another round of ballistic kicks tore the right ACL and meniscus, though this time I flat-out refused to fix it. As my right leg is my “landing leg” in skating, the fact that I’m missing the tendon responsible for holding the patella in place (in the forward direction) has been the key driver of my anxiety.

Enter needing to move my belongings from my home of 33 years, five years after the first knee injury… There I find my beautiful custom ice skates, hand-crafted by a legend, in desperate need of TLC – I actually shook my head in disgust that I’d have let them sit there so long unloved. After brining them back home and finding a pro sharpener, my husband hopped in the car and drove me a distance to get them tended to.

Once at the rink I began to share my experiences with the sharpener and his wife, both of whom remember what figure skating was in its heyday (honestly, a lot different from what it is now.) We gushed about compulsory figures and the impeccable edge manipulation of the pros back when…and of the strength, power, and infinite grace of the skaters who were on the world stage at the time I was training. I mentioned some of the places I trained, and the coaches I worked with – to my joy, they knew exactly who I was talking about – it felt like I was chatting with old friends. ❤

I’m certain I was brimming over with happiness – feeling as though I was back in my world – and as such, my husband decided to give me a nudge. And then a few more… He could tell I needed (and deeply wanted) to be encouraged…but that anxiety was doing it’s best to keep me derailed.

No such luck!

I remembered the phrase above (uttered brilliantly in a favorite Bar Luhrman film, Strictly Ballroom) and I thought…“damnit, I’m here. I am putting these on and I’m just going to try…” I was sure I’d face plant but the encouragement of my husband (and knowing my parents would have been at my side too) helped me brave the moment.

I went around two times, came off…and burst into tears. I feel the tears overtaking me even now, and can’t begin to enumerate the breadth of feeling within me. I posted a photo on social media as some of my friends (who endured the brutal winter winds at 5:30am alongside me!) would understand the accomplishment. The comments – wholly unexpected – not only warmed my heart, but brought (thankful) tears to my eyes. To know that I was remembered is like receiving a gift I never dreamed of receiving… The joy of my parents and in-laws too…it’s overwhelming and incredible. Figure skating was my “language” – it gave me words when I could not speak, and courage when I was in the throes of fear. I felt as if I was the wind itself…  

Feeling “home.” And…once a performer, always one! 😉

I have struggled over the last two decades feeling that I shouldn’t have given up the potential, the dreams, and the hopes… I remind myself that going to college was the “right” decision, and an important one. . .but I would be lying if the “what-if”s don’t’ plague me at times (never a good thing – to read my post on “Letting Go Of SHOULD”…click here.)

Part of my emotion is sadness – I know I can never go back, and that my landing leg isn’t stable enough to sustain the jumps I so loved doing…

That hurts

But I also know that no other sport has been as “right” for me as figure skating. I was meant to be on the ice and if getting my sea legs back means I can at least help others (Special Olympics and adapted sports are on my mind!) in future, then I know it was worth doing.  

2018 arrived in the same silent fashion as the sun each day – there were no fireworks beyond what we (as human beings) artificially set off. It is, therefore, up to US to “just do it”  – carpe diem, carpe noctem, carpe VITAM. We can easily sit on the sidelines and watch life go by, but we deserve so much more than that. . .

It’s okay to cry.

It’s okay to need an extra nudge or two…

It’s even okay to say “I don’t know if I can do this. . .”

But once that’s out of your system (and I’ve been there too), dust yourself off and take the plunge.

You deserve the richest and most wonderfully happy experiences in life – without trying, you’ll never know what you are missing. . .or. . .what you HAVE missed all along.

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Easter Bun-San

If I was recruited to fill in for the Easter Bunny, I’d basically be dressed just like this…

I’d be hippity-hoppity, and happily chopity, looking for some delicious eggs to eat!

Martial Arts – Always Learning

Exactly the attitude I think everyone should have – not only in Martial Arts, but in Life.

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Our learning never ceases – we will never know it all, and we can always take something positive (and useful!) away from each individual we work with.  

From teaching children to helping a student new to Martial Arts (or just your specific one), we can always learn something we didn’t know before – truly, it is limitless.

Stay humble, with an open mind, and the knowledge will flow.

 

Martial Arts Humor – The Jiu-Jitsu Man Bun, By Tyson Gay

Love that this super black belt, Tyson Gay, posted how you keep your long locks from getting totally yanked to oblivion on the mats!  (I have, myself, heard the telltale *RIP!* only to see my strands – MANY – laying there helplessly!)

That said, his hair is incredibly fine, so if yours is fuller…it may not stay so nicely!  

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Fortunately it didn’t get yanked when this was taken! 🙂

I’ve tried all sorts of bun permutations.  They’ve all come out, or needed to be redone.  Still, that’s kind of par for the course when you Jiu-Jitsu and have layered hair…  

#longhairproblems #jiujitsuhair #chokefast

 

More Martial Arts stuff!

Finding Peace in the Chaos

Yes…it’s “one of those weeks.”  Lots of stress, not enough sleep, feeling overwhelmed…  I’ve had a few “venting” moments, but…at least for me…I REALLY need some time where I can just breathe, focus, and relax.  We all need to have down time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean spending it inactive.

I’m thankful to have a key to the Dojang because getting there early is effectively my sanity insurance!  I not only take time for extra stretching (given my injuries, the portion dedicated in class isn’t enough)…but I also take time to practice.

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Practice makes perfect, so it goes…but as any martial artist would say, there is a spiritual, intellectual, and emotional component to going through forms – and I mean properly, without stopping.  

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I try to practice as if I am promoting, because when I do, I want them as clean as possible.  Perfection isn’t necessarily the goal – that in an of itself is rather lofty given the accomplishments of my Grandmaster.  BUT, to do them WELL is achievable, which helps to solidify the movements therein (essentially, all those vital “basics.”)   

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Doing forms in a group is incredibly valuable – it helps us learn our timing and placement in an unpredictable space.  But…having some time alone is truly restorative, and not so unlike an active meditation.

Today…I needed restorative.

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Everyone is different – we each have activities that calm our system and help us to soothe the frays.  Whatever that is, make sure to take time for yourself to do just that – you deserve it.  AND, it will prevent getting completely out of hand when chaos seems to be the trend!