I’ve been known to talk about my “core” a lot – that part of the self that isn’t penetrated by outside experience, strong in a non-attached sort of way. I’m usually talking about yoga and making some joke about my physical core being all flabby, which makes me worry about the state of my aforementioned metaphysical core I’m sure it’s pretty annoying to anyone who has to listen, and for that, I offer my condolences.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to be spared that mini-Amanda-lecture-series a.) consider yourself lucky and b.) don’t tell those other people, but I may have been wrong.

I know you’re shocked.

We speak about a core Self as if there is some true person buried beneath the layers of self, as if enough digging will unearth a Truth long hidden, some deeper part of our personality that will once-and-for-all explain ourselves to ourselves. I suppose it’s the urge behind the whole “finding yourself” business everyone was supposed to figure out in their 20’s.

Well, I’m 38 (I almost typed 37 – that goes to show a certain slippage of self right there, don’t you think?) Any sort of core identity seems to be slipping further and further away as I get older, when I thought the reverse would happen.

The older I get the more I’m struck by a terrifying idea – I’m just making this crap up. And when I look around at everyone else it unsettles me even more – everyone else is obviously making it up too. Duh. Y’all aren’t even good fakers.

So now I’m having to rethink this whole idea of a core – it’s elusive. I’m going to go all spiritual here for a second, but this whole core-business seems to be the exact opposite of identifying with an idea of who you are and all about tapping into something that is much bigger than any of us – something that asks nothing, demands nothing, but encompasses us all. It’s like looking out at the night sky and realizing how tiny you actually are.

It’s not what I thought being a grown-up was all about. But it is liberating, in a jumping-off-a-cliff sort of way, so at least there’s that.

Now let me go anchor this rope to a tree before I creep over the edge.

I can’t wait to see what I find down there.

Namaste

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personal growth, yoga

Jumping Off Cliffs and How “Grown-ups” Are All Big Fakers

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personal growth, yoga

Why Falling On Your Face Is Good For You

This evening, I fell on my face. That isn’t a metaphor: I literally came crashing to earth. On. My. Face.

I consider myself lucky to still have front teeth, but it’s all good. Trust me.

How, you may ask, is falling on your face a good thing? And what was I doing to fall in the first place? Easy answer first: I was doing a handstand – sort of – not very well. That’s where the falling part came in. In my future-version-of-Amanda-awesomeness I look like this:

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And as much as I’d like “future Amanda” and “current Amanda” to be the same entity, they’re really quite different. Current Amanda has been practicing headstands for a year and tentatively creeping more weight into her arms in forward bends, stepping onto tippy-toes, leaning forward and hovering with her face above the ground for milliseconds at a time. It’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating. It’s not even close.

But there’s the rub. Maybe it is close. Maybe I’m closer than I know. The only way to find out was to lift my feet up and see what I could do.

I found out I can fall.

Even more importantly, I can fall and get back up. I can land on my face, a humility I haven’t experienced since childhood, and then turn around and laugh. Because you know what? It’s only scary until you do it. Once you fall or nail it or stumble or whatever…you’ve faced the fear and moved into new territory. Unfortunately, I’m not in the new territory of looking badass while doing a handstand. I’m still working on doing a handstand. But I’m working with a little more know-how than I had before. I’m a little braver than I was before I tried and that counts for a lot.

You see, I don’t think it really matters what you can do. Truly great things don’t happen by staying in your comfort zone. It’s scary to go for the things you want, but your mother and teachers and even Nike were right: Just Do It. Try. Practice. There’s no other way to the awesome. There’s no other way to find out exactly how powerful, creative, inspired or beautiful you can be without risk. If there was another, easier way, everyone would do it.

Look around. How many people are truly fulfilled, striving, following a dream? Enough, but not most. What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of life do you want to live?

Everyone has pain in their future. Everyone has bumps and bruises and scary things waiting to happen. Want to know a secret? You can’t avoid it. But you can choose the path you’ll be on when the inevitable growing pains and falls of life happen. You can set your compass.

That way, you’ll be your own definition of awesome when you reach the other side.

Namaste.

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