The Little Engine That Could!

Generally, I pride myself on being fairly well evolved in terms of my inner life, but recently I have caught myself believing some internal messages that limited my behavior in a negative way. I am guilty of some bad thinking. Ugh. I hate to admit it but it is true.
Last time I wrote to you, I had discovered yoga through an experience with my daughter and three granddaughters at Goat-Llama yoga. The takeaway from that day was that perhaps there was something to this whole yoga thing. That was 43 days ago and I have enjoyed at least one yoga practice each day since then. What have I learned? I realize now with a back that no longer aches and a new spring in my step, that I was influenced by an inner constraint. I had told myself that the exercise I got with the dog walks, horses, mucking, and such was enough. Well maybe it was, but it was NOT enough for my back. I had limited my behavior with a “I am exercising enough” message. However, I had a tendency to stoop over and my lower back hurt a lot of the time, so there was a need for more.
Enough exercise was limiting belief number one which I am rectifying by continuing yoga. My sister-in-law, Kassie, further inspired me when she shared that she had 250 straight days of yoga and recommended Adriene’s Yoga channel on YouTube. This has been life changing for me. Adriene offers a meditative experience encouraging her participants to set an intention each day. This is not to suggest that there have not been some obstacles to my daily practice; when I began and the dogs were in the living room with me, River, the puppy, thought that because I was on the floor that we were going to wrestle. Well, that did not work. I locked the dogs up. Today when I turned Adriene on my Ipad, the kittens were about. It did not take Apollo but a minute to jump on my back during “Table Top” pose. Not being one to give up, I ignored him. When Adriene had us move to “Mountain,” I was startled as the five month old kitten jumped all the way up to my chest, grabbing hold of my shirt. I staggered a bit realizing this was not all that productive, as I pressed on. I felt like that Little Engine in the children’s story, The Little Engine that Could, as I bravely moved through my poses, thinking, “I think I can, I know I can.” Finally, I realized that Kitten Yoga is not my jam. I am locking them up tomorrow.
The next limiting message I have been hearing in my head is, “You don’t need to travel any more, you’ve seen everything. On the last three small group adventures you were the oldest one. It’s time to hang it up.” I was so cozy at home during the pandemic lockdown with Ken and the animals, enjoying our rural environs, that I had decided enough was enough. I’d stay home in the future. However, I had that Iceland trip planned, paid for, and postponed for two years, so when Iceland opened in September, my daughter-in-law, Jenny, and I went on the trip.
A few days into the expedition I found myself on an amphibious boat cruising around a lake stuffed with ice bergs in the south of Iceland. Hmm. It occurred to me then and has stayed with me, that perhaps I have not seen everything, there is still so much more out there. I certainly had NOT been in an amphibious boat chasing huge pieces of glacier. So I have booked a trip to the Maritime Provinces of Canada for next June and I am investigating kayaking in the Arctic Ocean.
The point is that we can create life limiting thoughts in our heads, and then act upon them in a way that shrinks our human experience. I was chatting with my husband, Ken, about this and he shared that he sees the effect of negative self talk on his high school girl wrestlers all the time. He observes girls who must walk off the mat in mid match because they have succumbed to a panic attack. He must constantly work to help them overcome their limiting belief that they are “not good enough.” Their negative thoughts paralyze them. This contrasts with his other athletes who seem fearless, listening to internal messages such as “go for it!” or “what do I have to lose?”
 Our internal world has a profound influence on our behavior, and often times it is unconscious. Once again I am reminded of that Little Engine as he sets off up that daunting hill, “I think I can, I think I can…”
Maybe we can take a lesson from that Little Engine. “I know I can, I know I can, and I know that I do not need to listen to my limiting thoughts when they infiltrate my behavior.” What limiting messages have you had to overcome? What messages are still plaguing you? You know I love to hear what you are thinking. My best, donna