100 days baby! That's right, today marks my 100th day of (almost) consecutively going upside down. A few years ago, I would have either lied or denied the parentheses, or totally given up on the challenge because I faltered. Today I celebrate the victory of doing my best in this challenge, but also not allowing the mistakes to sabotage the whole experience.
There were days I was so sick I could barely shuffle to the bathroom (creative horizontal bedstand). Days I just felt unmotivated (pjstand, ok there are lots of these). Days when I was almost too embarrassed and self-conscious (swimsuitstand). Or I just plain forgot. Regardless, I've kept trucking along.
If I had let my cruel perfectionist self win and given up on this challenge, I would have never experienced so much magic.
Not too long ago, I spent 8 days in the mountains of Colorado with my family. It's a place that speaks to all of us. We made time for hikes in spectacular nature, soaked in warm mineral springs, explored cliff dwellings, lazed around our camp and just stared into the hypnotizing fire. Doing a handstand in these places was a potent practice of not just witnessing beauty moments, but fully experiencing it.
My son, Oskar, asked me several times along the way, "Meems, why do you always like to do handstands?" I instinctively replied, "Because it makes me feel good!" His next probing question halted me in my tracks. "Does that mean that you don't feel good when you're not doing a handstand?" Nothing like the words of a 6-year old to make you feel like a junkie! But really, for me the experience of doing a handstand in these spectacular places was the difference between being an observer and being fully immersed, kinda like Dorothy going from black and white to Technicolor in the Wizard of Oz.
Watching my kids interact with their environment, they touch everything. They scream out in a cave to hear the echo of their own voice. They taste the sulfur mineral water even though it smells like egg farts. They roll like maniacs down the dunes even though they get a mouthful of sand. They don't just appreciate the beauty they are in, they fully immerse in it. Doing a handstand helped me connect to this practice. Put my hands in the warm sand. Fall down and log roll. Splash in the freezing cold river. Breathe deeply. Let out a big yelp. Feel my blood quicken. Feel. I want to fully feel the beauty that surrounds me.
Beauty with a capital B isn't perfect. It is not all soft sand and bath water mineral pools. It includes sharp rocks that cut your hands and water so hot it sears your skin. Ana Forrest teaches about Walking in Beauty, which comes from a Navajo ceremony called "Beautyway." When you walk in Beauty, you walk towards the truth of yourself. You open up to what is possible even in those ugly, painful experiences. I've created my perfectionist self (among other destructive behaviors that involve alcohol and food) as a place to hide so I don't feel these things. Like Brené Brown says in The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions."
Handstands and Forrest Yoga are helping me on my quest to un-numb and walk towards my truth. To see and taste and smell and hear it all. To touch and feel it all. The Beauty that surrounds me.
You can follow my 365 day handstand challenge on Instagram.