Hello, Joy, meet Edge. Hello, Edge, meet Joy. I think it’s time for you two to get re-acquainted.
I recently came across an interview where adults and children were asked one question. That question being: “If there’s one thing you could change about your body, what would it be?” The adults responded straight to their physical appearance from a variety of facial features and their sizing, from making one’s nose smaller, thighs slimmer. Some called out their forehead or height and weight. When the question came to the children it was met with wonderment. One child said he wished he “had legs like a jaguar so he could run fast” and another child wished for wings “so she could fly.” My favourite was a little girl wishing she could “change her body to teleport” anywhere in the world. Play and imagination played such a big role in their responses.
Children live through play. It is their means of life, it is how they learn and build a relationship with the world. Everything is a possibility. I have been reflecting back on my childhood, in ways that expanded my horizons and curated my joy. The days where I’d run full speed ahead into a field, or race to tag or play chase to the point I would gasp for air. Pedaling my bike so fast to the point my heart would beat outside of my chest and into my cheeks. I would skirt many edges climbing up steep rocks, grip my way up tall trees, and slide down sand dunes with little hesitation. Most of my days were spent understanding this world by having my joy meet my edge. I look back at those wild ways now and often think that sometimes adulthood can be “too careful.” When you’re a child, the only way to know something is to do it, there’s very little hesitation. Everything is a possibility. If you can imagine it, you can create it. That’s the mentality. There is wisdom within that. As we grow, we learn through a variety of mean to be cautious. We end up losing that childlike wisdom of “going for it.” We start to make simple things complex and the mind halts us from action.
“Don’t think about it, just do it.” or “Do it before the mind catches on.” In other words, “don’t overthink it.”
Whether it be a yoga class or riding my bike full speed ahead or jumping in a freezing cold pool or picking up a new hobby, I am going for it! I am taking myself to the edge once a day, at minimum, to meet my joy. We talk a lot about edge in a vinyasa classes. It’s simple, really. I don’t write simple to mean easy. Sometimes we tip-toe test our edges and we come right back out. This can be in a yoga pose that asks us to dig deep, feel the fire. Sometimes, the hardest pose for students is taking a seat in meditation or savasana. Our edges can look different from our neighbour in class. Our brains are conditioned to take short-cuts and easy routes. It can be scary to go somewhere new or to let yourself feel shaky in your body.
Remember, our brains teach us comfort and ease, acting like a know-it-all. And like many know-it-alls, they’re not so fun to be around all the time. Part of getting to know ourselves is taking ourselves to a new place. I highly suggest trying something new that you may not be skilled at, like a new hobby or take that challenging yoga class. Sometime last year, I wrote on Instagram: “get a hobby and suck at it.” For me, that is learning watercolour paints, I suck at it but I keep doing it. Not by way of punish but to keep myself open to trying new things. I am not going to give it up because it is hard or I feel unskilled. I am meeting an edge of mine by doing it anyway. I am probably learning more about myself when I am not so “great” at it.
Shakiness in body, mind, or spirit is new information. Letting my breath quicken is allowing myself to be vulnerable. Encouraging my heart to beat fast only makes me stronger. I am open to this struggle, because moving myself through it means I am shaping what my mind says is impossible and making it possible, through acting, and not overthinking it. These points of contact remind me to be childlike and welcome joy to meet my edge. That play is my fire, a means to mold the essence of life.