Consider that everything in life is really a metaphor for everything else. I can hear an English student of mine say that that would mean that even ‘the’ could be a metaphor. My response to him was, “You’re right.”
This major metaphor has been part of my life for the past two years. As you read this, consider what are the metaphors which are running in your life. What are you holding on to that just does not jive with what you want to create in your life? What’s holding you bound?
I’ve been a Women’s Artistic Gymnastics judge for the last two years. When anyone looks at me, they would definitely wonder why I’m involved in the sport. I never had a gymnast’s body and I now walk on mushy mats with a cane. Yet I love the beauty of the movement and the power in the sport. And I really love that, while any gymnast is part of team, it’s really an individual sport.
Now, it’s not the first time that I’ve been a judge. When I first became a judge, I was coaching and took a recreational judges’ course at the OGF [now called GO] Rec Symposium. What I knew at the end of that one day course was that there had to be more to it than that. So, I registered to take a Beginner Judge’s course and completed the exams and became a judge. There was a lot more to it all and it engaged and challenged me.
And, for the first five years or so of being a judge, it was interesting and challenging. I was able to complete my own professional development plan within the structure of the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics programme. I was learning about myself and the sport and I was engaged.
And then I made what was, in retrospect, not the best choice for me. I decided to upgrade my judging qualifications. I started the process and then seriously considered choosing differently and discontinuing it. And, as I think of it, I got shamed into continuing. “Why would you start something and not finish it?”
What then happened was that I became very aware of the politics which was, at the time, part of the higher echelons of judging the sport provincially. And I questioned continuing as a judge. But, as has often been the case with me, I stayed and kept trying to find a way make it work. And I couldn’t. So, I eventually resigned from judging.
Flash forward fourteen years. I’d retired from teaching and was no longer coaching. I still love the sport for its challenge and beauty and power. I chose to become a judge again mainly because I wanted to know if there was anything still there for me as a judge. I registered to take the Beginner Judge’s course, completed it, successfully passed the written and practical exams and became a judge again.
And I’m not the woman I was when I was 39. I’m older and much wiser and so much more aware of who I AM now. So, it was not a surprise to me that I started to question things regarding policies and procedures and the like. There was so much that just didn’t feel like a fit for me. And after only one year, I considered resigning from judging. And again, I decided to stay and try to find a way that I could feed my love of learning and my joy in the beauty of the sport within the given structures of Gymnastics Ontario.
I told myself that I would stay and look for opportunities to learn. I told myself that, as long as I was learning something new, staying would make sense. And I know now that there’s no way, José, for me about that. What I have learned is that there is nothing more for me to learn that interests me to learn. And, as a result, it’s ultimately been boring. So I’ve learned the answer to my question about whether there is anything for me in the sport as a judge. The answer is NO’. And what I’ve also learned in accepting that this is my answer is that choosing mySelf and relaxing into that choice honours me.
That’s got me to wondering how many of us, at various times in our lives, hold on to things which do not light us up anymore? How often do we do things in an attempt to reconstruct something which has passed? How often do we do things because we fear making the ‘wrong’ choice? How often to we continue doing something in the belief that, once we’ve made a choice, we do not have the right to change our minds? How often do we hold in what we need to say for fear of saying something ‘wrong’? How often do we end up holding ourSelves in stasis?
My experience of being a gymnastic judge these last two years is an example of that. I’d made a choice and believed that, once that choice was made, I could not make a different one in the next breath. And, in doing that, I haven’t trusted mySelf.
And choosing to leave feels immense inside – so much space and openness. It’s not about a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice. It’s knowing that whatever choice I make in this moment will always be the ‘right’ one.