“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal. Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” ~ Gail Devers
Like the beautiful 83 years young Betti Kalman (in this photo), says about her yoga practice of 40 years, she keeps young at heart because she loves to teach others about their incredible potential.
I was speaking at a University and one of my students mentioned to the audience that I could bend spikes with my hands. After my speech, one of the students asked, “Can we see a spike bend?”
Spike bending can be door-opening: inspiring others to reclaim confidence in themselves as to possibility, when you witness a feat that you previously thought impossible.
A professor passed around a spike so everyone had the opportunity to attempt to bend it. No one could budge the metal because they thought it was impossible (because they try to bend the spoon, for you “Matrix” movie buffs). Most pried it like they were breaking a piece of celery - thumbs pushing away in the middle with no leverage. “Bending” is neither a miracle, nor is it a gag. It is commitment of will to something deeper.
Strength is neurological efficiency, but this runs very deep. Intramuscular recruitment is really a matter of “faith” that you can do what you have not done before, elicited by your conviction to do it and focused by proper visualization on the true purpose for doing so.
Concentrating my anxiety, I imagined how much one of the spectators might need to see the spike bend, how indelible the event would impact their lives, as it had me when my coach did his spike bending demo and blew open the vault door of the “possible” in my mind.
The spike bent because the need of the audience to witness a previously conceived impossibility broken overcame the resistance of the obstacle to remain unbroken. How many times did we observe this recently in the Olympics in world record breaking performances falling like dominoes after the first; and then also the reverse with the string of epic mental failures following the psychological impact of public criticisms? What about the police officer, Brian Murphy, shot 9 times at the Sykh temple in Wisconsin last week, who told the medics to help the victims first? THAT was the motivation of morale!
Without proper motivation, “spikes” - the obstacles we perceive as impossible - in our lives remain unbent. Morale bends the spike. Our need to see our spikes bend must be greater than the strength of the spike’s resistance to being overcome.
The energy described by ancient martial arts, yoga, sufism, strongman feats, qigong, is just a metaphor for the true force: service to others. Like my teacher said to me long ago, “If you want to overcome perceived impossibility, serve others.” Energy is a metaphor for the by-product of the RELATIONSHIP between us: the love we have for serving each other.
Events like bending spikes must be a matter of imagined necessity to serve each other. If you don’t think you have much to live for, if you don’t love till it hurts, of course you lack energy. If you’re feeling low, lost, overwhelmed or under-equipped, then put your energy into serving others. From service, you will regain your strength, and overcome the obstacles you face, because WE NEED YOU TO, and that energy will infuse, envelop and empower you.
Is it any wonder that a world champion achieving the impossible, a survivor of a tragedy miraculously enduring, or the hero incredibly overcoming the overwhelming, expresses gratitude?
Like my coach told me, if you want to bend the spikes in your life, love more than you are.
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