Gina Molinari yoga, wellness, travel and coaching
One year ago this week I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand and decided that I needed to get around a little faster. After all, there was so much to see and do. So, I rented a moped (it was cheap and everyone else seemed able to drive one). I gloriously set off to explore the city... about 25 feet and then immediately crashed it. As my head smashed the ground all I was thinking was "Did I break the bike? Will I have to pay replacement cost?" with no concern for my own body. Fortunately, there was an emergency clinic right next to the bike shop and I got fixed up while still in shock, gradually realizing that I was cut up, bruised, and in pain as the adrenaline of the accident wore off.
I kept that accident a secret, lest my family find out and panic even more about my safety half a world away. Despite the aches and gnarly cuts that required constant iodine washes to keep clean, that crash was a blessing in disguise. Up until that point I was walking multiple miles every day and cramming in every little thing I could do. I HAD TO do everything.
That crash limited how far I could walk, so I couldn't take the 5 mile hike to the waterfalls in Pai. Instead I took a 90 min motorbike ride (I wasn't driving) to a cave that I likely wouldn't have otherwise agreed to. I couldn't go dancing, so I went and listened to reggae music and actually talked to the people I was interacting with. When everything slowed down, I was able to experience it much more fully. Don't get me wrong though, all of these gifts were very hard to see in the moments when I felt restrained and frustrated by my limited mobility.
The effects of that crash are still lasting today, including the frustration of not being able-bodied enough to do everything I want to do. Since I came home from that trip, my knee has been weak. I overcompensated for it and ended up hurting my elbow. For a long while I was basically punishing my body for the injuries and causing even more damage. As someone who grew up an athlete and never felt mobility restrictions, the whole process of being injured was met with kicking and screaming. Looking back though, the new experience has been enlightening, as most struggles are.
When I practice, I need to modify - some days I can't even hold Downward Facing Dog. Fancy shapes that used to be easy for me require a lot more awareness as I determine moment by moment if my body is going to be served by them, or if it's only my ego looking for gratification. Oftentimes my body limits me to gentle yoga and yin yoga. I won't pretend that I'm okay with it all either: my mind racing throughout class with judgments toward myself and it takes a LOT to bring myself back into the present. It's an active practice to truly love my body unconditionally and experience each moment for what it IS, not what it isn't.
Beyond my own practice, these injuries have made me a more aware and sensitive teacher. Just because I see another person's body does not mean I know how it feels for him. Further, I've become more understanding of people's injuries and limitations and I practice offering even more simple variations so that yoga can feel accessible to every body. I've accepted that I can't fix everyone's pain, but that I can encourage them to love their bodies as they are.
I've witnessed the need to respect my body and practice loving it, even with limitations. It's so easy to feel anger/frustration/sadness when my muscles ache, my back is stiff, and I generally can't do the things my 20 year old self could. Every day I am faced with an opportunity to chose to Love my physical body, or to serve my ego instead - and it's no walk in the park! Through experience I now have more to offer my students who are struggling with the similar issues as I can empathize with them and their journey.
By kindly treating injuries like a wise sages, they offer wisdom only to those who slow down enough to listen.
WE DID IT! WE raised $5,000!!
When I saw that we had reached our $5K goal I truly didn't know how to express the excitement, gratitude, disbelief, Love, relief, etc that washed over me and through my heart. I can't say I've ever been part of something so huge. I've never witnessed so many people from all stretches of life coming out to support something I believe in. This project has been such a huge journey, as I expected it would be, and I'm beyond grateful to have received the selfless outpouring of Love and support that all of you showed.
THANK YOU! Because if this, I will be able to join my YTT group when they travel to Haiti in Feb 2016 to break ground on a children's school that will be built with the community it serves. I'll spend one week living with an impoverished family and immersing myself in hard work and the empowerment that grows from it. The trip will be no retreat - we will be working long days breaking ground on the school, working alongside the Haitian parents who have been working these past months to show their commitment to this project. I'm truly proud to be part of buildOn's mission.
How appropriate to celebrate such an achievement on World Kindness Day. But, the journey isn't over yet! I am now setting my goal to help our team raise $85K, which will allow us to build TWO schools and our entire group will be able to get involved in the hands on work. Everyone has worked so hard, gone through the same trials and tribulations as they faced their own reality of such a huge project. Please read their personal stories and consider making a $5 donation.
Spreading the inspiration is just as important as raising money. What's meaningful to you? In what way can you involve yourself in that bigger picture? Do something for World Kindness Day to show how huge your heart is and know that every little bit DOES make a difference.
Since I began this service project in July I have gone through such an intense range of emotions. Yet the one I feel consistently is GRATITUDE. For every single contribution - be it money, time, promotion, products, or just moral support - I am overwhelmed and caught off guard by the generosity people have shown me and this cause.
Beyond all the things this journey has taught me, it's also been a test of accepting my own self-worth. Acknowledging that people do find me valuable enough to believe in me and support me. Truthfully, it's difficult to accept help, even when I've asked for it. I have a lot of work to do in the game of accepting "I am valuable. I am worth it.", whatever the IT may be.
Thank you from the deepest place of my heart for all the support you have extended to me and this project. That outpouring of Love has been my inspiration to continue during the most stressful and doubtful times. I am hopeful that we can reach the $5,000 goal, and it's entirely because of YOUR SUPPORT! <3
Ramblings, insights, & motivation