My body is not my friend.
I am not athletic.
I’m too old to do that.
I have an Aunt that used to say ‘what you think about, you bring about’. The power of belief can propel us toward our dreams with astonishing ease, or stop us dead in our tracks. The thoughts and beliefs that take root and grow like weeds are not always the ones that serve our best interests. These well rooted beliefs are insidious, so firmly woven into the fabric of who we are we don’t even know they exist. They lurk in the background creating the perception of limitations that may or may not be accurate.
Those first three sentences are beliefs I discovered rooted in my own subconscious in recent years. I’m too old showed up standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon looking down on the Bright Angel Trail on the cusp of my 50th birthday and realizing it was out of my reach. It was more than just a small pang of regret to realize I would never get to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back in this lifetime. My knees and feet wouldn’t hold up to a 2 mile hike up and down hills, let alone a hike as ambitious as the Grand.
We did a tour of the Kolb Brother’s home while we were there. The home they built, literally on the canyon rim back in the 1800’s. The photography studio conveniently located so they could photograph the tourists riding the mules up the final stretch of trail after what was, no doubt, a grand adventure! Quickly developing the images, one of the brothers would be waiting to sell the tourists their photo keepsake. They explored every inch of that canyon in ways that completely blew my mind. An adventurous spirit led them to the Grand and their adaptability and ingenuity helped them forge a life there, filming movies of their canyon adventures that they charged admission for in the movie theater they built onto their home!
How many people do you know in this era that have this kind of adventurous spirit? I came home determined that I would go into my 50th year with a clear path toward getting stronger. No more downhill slide for me! And someday I’ll get back to the Grand and DO that hike! When I got home, I happened upon a video about elderly people doing Parkour in England. I have no idea what prompted me to watch that video, but this is what happens when we let go of a limiting belief and become determined to change. The things we need just show up! The entire philosophy of Parkour resonated so strongly with me that I decided to see if there was a gym in Grand Junction. There was. The owner, Vinnie, was game to take us on and Steve, though he thought I might have lost my mind, joined in!
That was the first mindset shift that began opening doors for me in ways I would never have imagined. I no longer believe I’m too old to do anything.
My body is not my friend and I’m not athletic were deeply embedded. My shoulders are pretty weak. Not really, just unstable because I haven’t known how to train properly to build strength and stability. A year ago, I started training for certification using MovNat principles to teach people over 50 the movements that are natural to the human species. It has been shocking to discover how many basic human movement aptitudes I no longer (possibly never did) have access to. It has been extremely frustrating to find things that I just can’t do. My shoulder and my feet/ankle just won’t support certain movements. There isn’t enough strength to hang, for example, or crawl on my hands and feet.
Did any of you notice what happened in that last paragraph? How many times I said ‘I can’t’ or ‘it won’t’?
This last weekend was my certification training weekend. I came knowing there were two movements I would not pass. I came with trepidation because I have always been among the weakest people in a group of athletes. In my imagination, all the other people in the class would be super fit and leave me in the dust. ‘My body is not my friend’, and’ I’m not athletic’, both showed up in spades on day one. We were sitting on the floor lifting our butts off the ground in preparation to walk on our hands and feet with our bellies up. The cue, lift one hand and one foot to test your stability, left me baffled. I could not un-glue both a hand and a foot from the floor at the same time.
My instructor reminded me that I was doing a very similar ground movement where I have to post on one hand and one leg to make the transition. How was this different? Bingo. All of a sudden, the movement was accessible. And with just a few technique tips I was rocking that inverted foot hand crawl with ease! I thought a lot about what was holding me back on being able to do that in the past. It was all tied up in the beliefs that I am not an athlete. That every time I try to get fit my body breaks down. For the rest of the weekend I let go of any limiting beliefs and opened my mind to the possibility that with the right coaching I was capable of anything.
Eight hours a day on Saturday and Sunday in motion, doing extremely physically demanding movements barefoot, while learning and being tested on our aptitude. Holy cow. Outside of week long back packing trips in my 20’s this is the most physically demanding thing I have ever done. We learned part way through the training that they really did not scale it back much for the over 50 folks because they weren’t sure what we’d be capable of, and they didn’t want to limit us. 18 women over 50 and we all did it! Not only that, but I held my own and was among the stronger people in the group in several areas. Handily busting all my own myths about myself and my body!
I did not pass the two areas I knew I wouldn’t. And I know exactly what I need to do to get there now. I have NO doubt that I’ll have my certification in the next few months. I can see it and I can feel it as though I’m holding that certificate in my hands right now.
It takes focus and determination to change to reach our goals. Can you imagine the things we believe and hold onto that limit the possibilities with our horses? I can’t wait to discover what beliefs I unearth about my horses and my ability to partner with them when I get home and apply all I’ve learned about myself and how to train!
What’s holding you back?
If you want to learn more about unlocking the potential of you and your horse please come join the conversation on my new page: The Tango with Horses Tribe – we’d love to see you there!