|Assuming crash position
Undaunted, I made it a goal to start working little-by-little, step-by-step, until I could reclaim this pretty much useless ability by my sixty-sixth birthday. I put more effort into my Pilates classes, and I practiced headstands several times a week (in the privacy of my bedroom). Before long, I could hoist my rear over my head and keep it there. But straightening my legs was another matter. They were a lot heavier to lift than I remembered. (Couldn’t possibly be those extra pounds I’d packed on, could it?) And if I tried to use momentum to swing them into place, I threw myself off balance and collapsed like an imploding building. (Remember, this is still in my bedroom. Alone.) Finally, I had one of those aha! moments. Not exactly the-secret-of-life kind of epiphany, but still, for me, an important one.
During the course of a forty-five minute Pilates class, the instructor must mention the word core at least twenty-five times. Every move comes with the admonishment to “engage your core,” “maintain your core,” “focus on your core.” So even with my rear mid-air and all the blood in my body pooling in my head, I remembered use my core. I drew in my breath, sucked my navel to my spine as they say, and pushed, not from my legs but from my abs. And voila! The legs rose! A little wobbly and certainly not perfectly straight, but they rose!
The point of this post isn’t to announce that at the ripe old age of sixty-six, I can do a headstand. Well, okay, that may be part of it. But my headstand and the thought process that went into it got me to thinking about the relationship between core and balance—not just in the physical sense, but in the mental, emotional, and spiritual senses as well. Many times when I feel things getting out of whack—off-balance—I have to stop and consider what’s at my core. I have to ask myself, what do I love, enjoy, value, aspire to? What are my responsibilities to God, to others? Am I focusing on those? Am I making time for all of them?
I’m not saying I always do this perfectly--just as my headstand isn't perfect--but it’s a goal. And when I do “engage my core,” I can feel myself rising.