You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe

I’m in the middle of a yoga class, doing my best to relax into the pose (which isn’t that easy, seeing as it’s a challenging, not relaxing, pose) and the teacher shares this thought. “You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe,” he says, as we hold our reverse warrior pose. “You need to be grounded to shoot a cannon. Make sure you’re grounded in this pose.”

I smile, and feel my feet strongly on my mat. Visions of canoes flying backwards from a shooting cannonball dance through my brain, and I continue to root myself into the floor. To feel my toes gripping lightly. The “four corners of my feet” (as the yoga instructors like to say) sinking down. The strength of my thighs holding my body steady. I am grounded.

But the visual stays with me all day. You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe. I wonder how many times each day I’m “shooting” without grounding myself. How often do I move ahead, when I haven’t steadied myself? How often do I take an action or make a decision or just get up and do something, without strengthening my base? Without sinking the four corners of my feet, so to speak, into the floor? Without building a foundation strong enough to handle the shooting of my cannon?

Not that there’s anything wrong with a canoe. It’s just probably not the boat you’d want to shoot a cannon from. It’s the type of vessel you want when you’re paddling up an easy river, or lazing across a placid lake. But shooting a cannon? Not going to work.

This makes me wonder how prepared I get myself before I move ahead. I can be a shoot first, aim second, kind of person. I can decide something needs to be done and jump right in and do it without thinking it through. Without thinking at all. And sometimes this works. But sometimes my canoe is flying backwards, my body is crashing into the water, and I’m wondering what went wrong. I didn’t ground myself. I didn’t make sure I was ready for what I was doing. Ready, schmeady. I didn’t take the time and patience to shoot from the right boat, or to not shoot at all.

Does this play into my decision to go slower these days? To stop trying and doing so hard? Is it another reminder of my need to pause more? To rush less? To take my time and make sure the time is right? Do all roads lead to Rome and every comment made by my yoga instructors give me yet another chance to recommit to doing it a bit differently, at least sometimes? Yes, right now I think that they do. Which will most likely strengthen my resolve to try new ways. And hopefully remind me, over and over again, of my new resolve. I need every reminder I can get.

You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe. I’m going to learn how to shoot from the right boat, or to not shoot at all.

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