Off the Cuff with Jacqueline Ross – April 2022
By Jacqueline Ross
About 10 years ago I used to attend a Bikram Yoga studio quite frequently. The lady who owned the studio, Helena, is an incredible person – a heart of gold and a kind soul. Her father, Sonny, taught classes at the studio as well. I loved taking his classes and appreciated the wisdom and comic relief he would share; especially during those gruelling, 90 minutes of class.
One thing that always stuck out in my mind was his warm smile and greeting when I would enter the studio. Instead of the standard salutation, “How are you doing?” he would ask the not-so-standard, “Hi, Jacqueline. How’s your heart doing today?” I was always caught off guard. I’d have to pause for a moment and think about my response.
I’d come back with the generic verbiage,”Ummm, good, I guess? It’s okay. What did you just ask me? Ahh, I’m not too sure.” Truthfully, in those years my heart wasn’t well for a very long time and I was too scared to confront myself and make the necessary changes.
When it comes to the heart it must be handled with care. As our lives depend on it, LITERALLY. From the lifestyle you choose to live and the thoughts you think, to how you eat, your mental health, as well as taking care of your physical health – it all matters. Your heart isn’t just responsible for pumping blood to deliver nutrients and oxygen throughout your entire body. It’s also the muscle one taps into in times of challenging situations to demonstrate acts of courage, determination, and fortitude. Traits we use every time we throw our leg over a dirt bike.
How does one acquire such characteristics? Are they for sale at Target? Can we get them here in a few days if we are Amazon Prime members?
Just because the heart is the hardest working muscle in our body doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee it’s going to work hard. We must tap in and strengthen the muscle by making better choices for our well being on a daily basis. Also, putting ourselves in those moments where we’re uncomfortable, scared, or maybe even terrified, yet we choose to push through. Those are the moments to be truly embraced.
I was just about finished with my column last week and I was about to submit it the other night, but a little hunch from within told me to hold. Well, I’m glad I listened!
As per usual, during a group training session I was so inspired by one of my lil homie’s performances. I quickly got home and started rewriting the last few paragraphs. His performance spoke so loudly and became the glue to bring this column together and make it even better.
Allow me to introduce, Ryder Palmer. Ryder is 7 years young and rides a Cobra 50. He always seems to be sporting a red Gatorade moustache with a snack pack of Goldfish Cheddar Crackers in hand. A little shy at first, yet his personality resembles the way he rides, wide open. Gotta be on the go, running around at the track barefoot. Why haven’t you worn those cowboy boots lately? He’s a character, yet one of the most well-mannered and respectful 7 year olds I’ve ever met.
During our weekly group training session, he rides with three other kids that all ride 65’s. What I’ve come to notice over the last few weeks, especially tonight, is I don’t even think Ryder realizes he’s on a 50. He just knows he wants to give it his best, continue to improve, and go fast. To him his bike may as well be a spaceship and he’s going to put that thing into orbit. That’s exactly what happened this evening. When I say you had to be there, I mean it.
The charge that Ryder was on, was just insane. Personally, I would’ve been a little nervous coming into a corner side by side with him. I believe he would’ve ran over someone’s grandma in order to get to the corner first or make it a point to come out of the corner with the lead.
The other crew members of the lil homie gang were riding great, but Ryder was riding with an unseen force, his heart. That was the difference. Bike CC’s no longer mattered at that point. It all came down to a few intangible gems: heart, courage, and desire. We can’t see them physically, but we can see them.
These gems are in each and every one of us. We all have the ability to access them if we honor the opportunity to dig deep and access the Authentic Power within. Thank you, Ryder, for demonstrating
what the word “heart” looks like and allowing me to accompany you on your journey into outer space.
I’ll close this out and carry on Sonny’s tradition…”How’s your heart doing today?”
Open, vibrant, and full of love,