Ellen, from IfTheShoeDoesn’tFit http://www.iftheshoedoesntfit.com/ is an amazing coach. I know this because she is coaching me in amazing ways and I’ve never even met her or spoken with her!
After my recent post https://dancingwithstefanie.com/2012/01/19/the-rollercoaster-and-the-raft/ she asked me some very juicy questions. She wrote:
You have a gift with words and storytelling to create perspective on events. I have a question for you – if you saw someone else on the floor who was unable to complete a class for whatever reason ( asthma, age, weight, skill, handicap, whatever)- what would you think of them? What would you say to them? Would you judge them in the same way you judge yourself? Would you see it as a deficiency or a part of their growth and path? What would you tell them when they said “yes but I WANT to be able to do more!”?
If I saw someone else on the floor who was unable to complete a class for whatever reason (asthma, age, weight, skill, handicap, whatever) I’d think they were awesome for showing up. One of my mentors once told me about a lady that came to a yoga class he attended. She was severely obese, and from his description, much larger and in much worse shape that I. She came to the class and all she could do was lay on the floor. At the conclusion of the class he went up to her and told her, “You are my hero. You are awesome!” Because he’s cool like that. She said, “Yes I am!” She’d already lost something like 100 pounds to even be able to get into the classroom. Apparently she continued to show up.
That is inspiring. She is inspiring. She did “nothing” in the yoga class but she did everything! She showed up! She was present.
I’ve seen people on the dance floor with disabilities and it is very moving to me. I think that they are extraordinary human beings because they are living life, showing up, playing big and damn whatever perceived obstacles lie in the path.
So there’s your answer to question one.
Next, what would I say to them? I would say whatever I could to acknowledge their greatness and encourage them. I would just be a witness to who they are and reflect that as best I could to them from my perspective. Probably I’d babble on using words ad nauseam like “awesome,” “amazing,” “wonderful.” I would say, I see you, and I think you are great.
Would I judge them like I judge myself? Well, the answer is pretty clear on that one! I’ve always internalized and made personal the nastiest judgements and criticisms. I have a much different perspective when observing another human being than observing myself. The problem is, that I believe the thoughts I’m having, but can any thought that is degrading, negative, abusive even, really have my best interests at heart? I don’t think so. Not very loving, not very loving at all.
Would you see it as a deficiency or as a part of their growth and path? I would see it as their Dharma, and that this was one small piece of their journey. I would see that there were limitations. I think I have an issue with having limitations. I want to have none! I want to surpass them instantaneously! But boy would life be boring if the minute I wanted something I got it. I see that the satisfaction really is in the journey to achieving something beyond current limitations. I would see that they were on their path toward busting through the limitations. And also, some limitations are illusions. Some can be dismantled in a moment of transformation. Others take time. I would, from a higher and less personal perspective, see that all is as it should be in that it is as it is. It is perfect. It is a process, a growing process. Perhaps the perceived deficiency is simply there to create a vacuum that can be filled? I’ve never thought of it that way, but it kinda makes sense. I just don’t think people are “deficient.” I believe that we are all capable. We all have what it takes….well, I believe that about other people for sure. For me, I’m still not so certain, but then again, I think we are talking to ourselves when we talk to others and also that we teach what we most need to learn. If the shoe fits….ha ha.
What would you say to them when they said, “Yes, but I WANT to be able to do more!”? Well, I’d say, that is clear. Clearly you are in the state of wanting, which is not the state of having. It is a state of lacking. But, as I just discovered in the previous paragraph (Thanks Ellen for asking me these deep and insightful powerful questions), that the state of being in want is actually a gift!?! It is what propels us forward to claim our inherent greatness. And, because you want to do more, you show up, and you DO more.
It makes me think of this powerful paradigm shift I learned about. Most people live with the idea that if I have such and so, I can do such and so, then I can be such and so. For instance, if I HAVE a million dollars, I can go DO the Ohio Star Ball, and I can BE the champion.
I believe this is reversed.
In reality, (my opinion of reality) if I AM a champion, I will DO the Ohio Star Ball, and I will then HAVE a million dollars. Well, maybe this isn’t the best example, but you get the idea.
I AM is the most powerful thing we can link to ourselves. It is transformational. It is transformational to say, I AM a svelte, sexy, confident, powerful, and authentic woman. Then I can say, in any situation, what would a svelte, sexy, confident, powerful, and authentic woman do? I can let that guide me to what action I should take to best achieve my aims and become who I wish to become.
Okay, so I have to BE the champion first. Isn’t that mind-blowing? For me it is/was.
So, I’d say to that person who is “wanting,” I’d say, BE IT! BE IT right this very instant! Be it first, then you can do what you need to do to get there, then you will have what you desire.
Holy Heck! This has been cathartic! THANK YOU Ellen! You are a rockstar! Thank you for being curious, asking some searching questions. You have helped me generate a great post, and I processed through a bunch of muck while doing it! What a gift you are to me.