By Tammy Parkinson, CPT, ACSM, NASM, Nutritionist, Body Firm Personal Training & Nutrition
A few weeks ago I flew out of town to visit my Mom. To give you a little background, she’s an avid Seahawks fan and I’m true to the 49ers. Well, when the two teams played each other, we made a bet…if the Seahawks won, I had to do whatever she wanted the next time I flew to Washington…and if the 49ers won, she would go to a gentle restorative yoga class with me (note…she is 85). Well, we all know who won that bet!
I went to church with her 🙂
On a cold rainy Sunday, we drove off to her church and spent what I thought might be a very long 4 hours (yes, we went for 4 hours). This was a church I grew up in, so I “thought” I knew what to expect and would brave it out to be by her side. I mean, I needed to honor my word on our bet.
The first hour I hunkered down, put my arm around my Mom and thought “this is all about her.” Little did I know, I’d end up being completely inspired by ALL of the speakers! The woman who inspired me the most had been through much tragedy over the past year. She had gone through a divorce after 20+ years to the love of her life, needed to move, both her parents got life threatening illnesses, found out her son was shot at and injured in the Seal’s program, was attacked by a bear, and had to bury her beloved dog. She was asked to speak on the topic “one has to lose themselves to be found.” She thought “Are you kidding me? I am so lost, I will never be found and don’t even ask me to put a positive spin on my life.” However, in talking about her journey, she expressed how the past year she blossomed (after nearly dying on the vine) into a new person she never knew existed. She tried to tell her story by comparing herself to 2 pieces of food…corn on the cob and a coconut. In her past (before the tragic year) she was like an ear of corn…just peel back the husk easily, and there she was, sweet, ready to go, full of energy. She liked being the corn. However the corn didn’t have a lot of substance, it was so easy, nothing much had to be done to it. She didn’t need to work hard, life was easy, she was happy. She was all surface.
Then the year of doubt came. She was the coconut. The coconut was hard…so hard, you could drop it from a roof and it wouldn’t crack. So tough that if you used a kitchen knife to cut it, nothing could get through. However, with the right kind of patience and a good machete, you could get through the outer layer. There you would find an inner layer…similar to a corn husk. It was still protective, but needed to be peeled. This inner layer still needed some work to get through, patience and perseverance, which was unlike the corn husk which only needed one hand to peel. The inner layer of the coconut was still tough. However, through this determination, one can get through the inner layer…and when you get to the middle after much hard work, you find the sweetest coconut juice and meat. The best. This part of the coconut is raw and wonderful. It’s rare and unusual. For most, better than the corn and worth the effort and time.
She was now the coconut. She had gotten so lost over the past year, she felt she needed to build this outer shell (or two) just to survive. She had gotten so lost…that when she looked in the mirror, she didn’t recognize herself. She had gotten so lost, she needed to find herself again and when she was able to, she was different, raw, and wonderful. What mattered to her was entirely different and what she wanted to show the world was unusual and a delicacy.
These transformations take a great amount of effort. They take strength, courage and unimaginable faith, but worth it once you are found…or at least on the path to be found.
Many of us have gone through tragic times or might even be going through one now. We get lost, we want to give up. We just wish to be the “corn” again. In truth, if we can allow ourselves to get lost, give in, give up the control, we can find out who we are and what we are meant to become. Maybe it’s the “meat of the coconut.” Maybe it’s the “lotus flower,” or maybe it’s the best of your own self.
Go ahead, get lost!