My little guy went ice-skating for the first time and surprised me. I asked myself why I was surprised and found myself deeply inspired by him.
He’s a shy, cautious kinda guy. He tends to hang back to first observe what’s happening and what’s expected before engaging – especially with physical activities. He watches the other kids do things and then, when he has some quiet time to himself with no pressure, he tries it for himself. Sometimes he tires quickly and gives up if it’s too hard but other times he’s determined and if he puts his mind to something, he usually manages.
So in a way I shouldn’t have been surprised. But I was. I thought he might wobble around a bit on the ice, get scared and then say he’s had enough. I didn’t trust his self-confidence or his determination. In fact, I’m amazed by his self-faith. That’s what got me, you see.
I’ve been grappling with self-trust in a certain area for a while now and while I know what I know, I am protectively holding myself back because I think I’m still too wobbly to go out there. Now, after watching him, I might think again.
So he put those large rented ice skates on the ends of his skinny legs and waddled fearlessly to the ice rink. On the ice for he held onto the side and used these funny little quick, running steps – like a foxtrot – to make his way around the rink. And around, and around, and around. Without tiring, without wavering, fully concentrating on the task at hand. I zoomed around on my own and checked in with him sporadically. He welcomed my hand and help for short periods, using me to explore moving a little away from the rail but then he dismissed me saying, “You can go around on your own now.” He wanted his own pace, not mine. Back he went to his task.
Every time I looked for him, there he was, totally focused, wobbling along between all the other skaters.
To me he looked so vulnerable, like a Bambi learning to walk. As the time went on I saw he moved away from the rail more often – and didn’t fall! Further and further from the railing he went, still with his funny little foxtrot.
Then after maybe an hour and a half he crossed right into the middle of the rink. All alone, totally unsteady on his skinny Bambi legs, quick-stepping his way, little arms flailing. Knowing he can do it. No doubt, no questioning of his abilities. Just doing it.
And me? I would NEVER have said he could or should go into the center at his level of competence. I wouldn’t even have recommended he let go of the rail!
But I would have been so wrong wouldn’t I?
Clearly I’m missing something. I seem to think I need to be ‘ok’ before heading out there into the new slippery terrain. I did not realise about myself that I believe in clinging to the rail until I am excellent and very sure of my footing before I’ll let myself have the adventure I want. I did not realise how much quiet self-confidence my hesitant, cautious child has – and how little his extroverted, change-seeking mother has in certain areas.
I’m so inspired by his approach. I am so very grateful to this small, skinny master teacher of mine, just going about his business and showing me, really showing me how life can be done. Who needs to watch famous spiritual gurus? Our gurus live with us in our homes, shining their wisdom all the time. We need only be open enough to let their light shine into our minds and hearts to benefit from it. We’re so lucky!
Later that evening he suddenly said to me, “I clung very tightly to the rail in the beginning.” Just like that. No response expected, just a self-observation. For the benefit of his wobbly, rail-clinging mother perhaps? In case I didn’t get it yet.
If I can choose what I focus on, and what I bring into my life, why would I bother with fear and doubt? I think I’m going to let go of the railing now and wobble my way into the center, in my own unique way – even if it doesn’t look like I should be there.
How about you?