This morning in yoga class, the teacher approached me during wheel pose and told me to hold his ankles, that he was going to help me go deeper. He had informed the class just before this that we would be doing three backbends, one bridge (the easier pose) and then the students could choose to keep doing bridge pose, or do the next two wheels, or any combination. I have fear around wheel. Wheel is a deep backbend and I am always concerned about not pushing myself too far so that I don’t get injured. But I think it’s really a psychological fear more than a true fear of injury. It’s intense being upside and kind of hard to breathe. So I usually do one bridge, one wheel, and then one more bridge. I have a story that one wheel is enough—one wheel is plenty.
So given that I had already done one bridge and one wheel pose when he approached, I considered telling him that I did not want an assist, I did not want to be pushed to go deeper. I am usually thrilled to get any assist from the teacher (assuming I trust him/her). But as soon as he said that to me, my defenses went up. My inner protector said, “Nobody else gets to decide when I go deeper but me.” And yet, here was the universe offering me another opportunity to surrender, to go deeper into discomfort. So I did it. He coached me through it, and I felt supported and strong. Not only did I go deeper into the bend than I would have on my own, I also stayed in it longer.
There is a clear parallel with my life. I want progress and change but I also like to feel safe and be comfortable. I shy away from things that feel like “too much” and too much is always a story I’ve created in my head. I have many undefined fears that I let stop me, especially from traveling. I have a fair amount of anxiety about this solar eclipse festival I’m planning to go to in Oregon in August. But I get to keep working with my fears and not let them stop me from going and having what I’m fairly certain will be a wonderful experience. Hence, I’m excited to do this “fear setting” workshop (which I think should really be called fear defining, as fear setting makes it sound like your choosing new fears to take on).
On a lighter note, this weekend I’m going to an adult summer camp and I’m super excited. I have a few memories of being bullied at my sleepaway camp that I often let overshadow my memories of that time. But if I am really honest with myself, I loved camp. I love sports, activities, singing, playing jacks, trading stationary, all of it. I actually have many wonderful memories from camp. My intention this weekend is to embrace the care-freeness of a child with no attachment to what it looks like. I get to be present and playful, authentic and open. And I get to take those opportunities to surrender and love myself every step of the way.
I am brave.