“We become who we pretend to be.”
“The purpose of yoga is not to achieve a pose, but to quiet the mind. To stop telling ourselves the stories we make up. To mute the running commentary that says, ‘Oh I can’t do that. Or, I’m not strong enough, or limber enough, or graceful enough.'”
These are nuggets I brought home recently — the first one from a pastoral prayer a few Sundays ago, and the second from this morning’s yoga class. No major “A ha!”; no earth-shatteringly new wisdom, but I think I’m finally getting the message, or at least beginning to listen anew to my stories.
My continual inner commentary tends to be a little too Dick Vitale (sorry, it is March Madness) — shrill and grating. I’m quick to shortchange myself, and can be self-deprecating in a not-so-attractive way (you see, there I go again). At the end of a long run yesterday, I chided myself for my achy quads and slow pace, rather than acknowledging the feat of completing 10+ miles. In my work life I beat myself up for all I don’t get done rather than feeling proud of all I do accomplish. I repeatedly tell my girls that they can be anything they want to be, but refuse to sell myself this same storyline. I pretend to be less than I can be, or am, so I am not disappointed.
And then along comes ALS, and I watch as my mother gracefully shifts her narrative. The disease tells her, “I will rob you. You will lose this and that; you will be diminished.” And I hear her saying, “Ok, damnit. Maybe so, but I’ll do what I can do.” She’s pretending to be strong, and it becomes her.
I, too, want and need a new story. It’s time to make believe.