Standing on My Hands: Persistence, Balance and Frustration Pays Off

Throughout my life, I’d spent a few moments here and there thinking about being able to stand on my hands, especially whenever I’d see someone do a cartwheel! Then the moment would pass.

Recently, however, the moment got stuck. “I want to do that!” I thought, then: “Am I destined to go my life without being able to?” I knew if I got some instruction and then practiced, it would happen. But I’d never before taken even a baby step in that direction.

At my local Gold’s Gym, Adam, a bright young guy who worked the front desk on Saturdays, seemed my ticket. Always in the midst of doing something creative-sketching, drawing, break dancing, studying Zuma–Adam surely could show me how. I just knew it.

I was afraid to ask him though, knowing that once I did, I’d be off in a new, uncontrollable, scary direction. I might fail too, so was I up for that? I wasn’t sure.

Many weeks went by and one Saturday I knew it was time. Caught unawares at first when I asked Adam about it, he nonetheless responded as I’d expected him to: “Sure, I can teach you that. Why do you ask?”

“I’ve been thinking about it all my life,” I said. “The time has finally come!” He seemed reluctant at first, perhaps wondering how serious I was but he jumped up and walked me to a spare spot on the gym wall. Plunking himself down into a headstand, he then smoothly pushed his arms up. Voila! A perfect handstand!

“Now you try,” he said, bounding back up.

A headstand I actually could do, having taught myself years before. It came right back to me, like riding the proverbial bike. But I couldn’t replicate what Adam had done. Though an amateur weightlifter for 20 years, I couldn’t push myself up.

“It’s not about strength but balance,” Adam explained. “Get your body in the right alignment, then simply lift yourself up.” He got down, showed me again. It looked so easy.

He pulled over a floor mat to protect me from slamming down, then left me to practice. This though led only to more frustration as I could not so much as budge myself off my head.

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