I’m sure you’ve probably done the limbo dance before, that kids (or often drunken) party game where you try to bend your knees and your body low and backwards to scrape under the limbo pole or broomstick.
Progressively the pole is lowered until only the most flexible (and often shortest) partygoers in the limbo line remain, able to backbend and contort themselves like the rest of us can’t possibly.
Miss Yin always wins limbo games. She’s like a rubber band.
Miss Yin is young and small and has been contorting herself in gymnastic or dance movements since she was three years old. She’s never had a chance to become inflexible (at least not when it comes to any kind of awkward manoeuvre, with the exception of cleaning her room, which seems to be very uncomfortable for her, and which she most rigidly tries to avoid).
I must admit that backbends are amongst the most challenging yoga postures for me – you have to trust yourself that you won’t tip backwards and hit your head, while thrusting your hips and your heart forward like you are opening yourself up to the universe. You feel very vulnerable.
Backbends are about surrendering and overcoming fears at the same time.
The saying ‘bending over backwards’ means making yourself uncomfortable, putting yourself in an awkward position, usually to please someone.
It’s not easy to bend over backwards, just as its not easy to win a limbo game.
The limbo game makes it harder and harder each time the bar is lowered – it brings you to your knees, literally, until eventually everyone else gives up and there is a winner.
In the meantime it’s like being in limbo – stuck in that indeterminate place where you don’t know if you are moving forward or falling backwards.
It’s awkward, painful even.
In Roman Catholic theology, limbo is a place of everlasting ‘oblivion’. According to the doctrine it is a place where the souls of unbaptised children must reside, never condemned to hell, but never able to enter heaven. I suspect it may even be worse than purgatory – that place where were people are supposed to suffer after they die to atone for their sins before they can go to heaven. The only thing worse is hell.
Limbo feels a lot like hell, at least it did when I was stuck in that place between positive and negative, waiting out the last two weeks of an IVF cycle.
I’m in limbo now, waiting (although it’s not quite as dramatic). I’ve had plenty of practice with patience but it isn’t helping much now.
But I’m trying to reflect on lessons from limbo land and here are a few tips to get you through:
1. Think of how far you’ve come – celebrate the steps that got you to where you are now
2. Don’t look back – don’t beat yourself up over what you would have done differently
3. Try to find gratitude for the place of possibility you are in – if you can’t muster gratitude then at least accept where you are, remember the Zen saying ‘this too shall pass’
4. Be optimistic – there’s no point spending your time in limbo thinking the worst, which may never happen
5. Surrender control – the universe has decided the time and place, your job is to put yourself in the position you need to be, be flexible and trust
Love to know your survival tips for Limbo Land.