Friday, 18 November 2011

Risking my neck

13.  Scary stuff

OOOHHH!  Lucky 13 on a Friday.  This could go horribly wrong. 

You know that Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “Do something that scares you every day.”?  I have been thinking a lot about that idea for the last few weeks.  Ever since I participated in an online course about ‘finding your path’ in life.  I know, it’s a bit heavy, but it was an interesting exercise.  I didn’t learn too much I didn’t already know about myself, but I did come away with this idea of doing something that takes courage every day. 
I’m not talking about slaying dragons or jumping off cliffs, here.  Although if the opportunity presents itself and you’re mildly interested, go for it.  I’m talking about simple things that can sometimes feel monumental. 

Making the phone call you have been putting off.
Wearing the ‘too loud’ colour (even if it’s just around the house).
Attempting the impossible recipe.
Writing the long-shot application.
Wearing the red lipstick.
Declaring your occupation ‘Writer’ on the immigration form.
Hell, on some days just getting out of bed can feel impossible.   

Because you might fail or feel uncomfortable, but what if you don’t?  This is the part that I try to concentrate on, ‘What if I don’t fail?’  What if that burnt orange colour looks fabulous on me?  What if that application is noticed this time? 
Until recently I have been making decisions about my life in the opposite manner.  I would only attempt things I knew I could accomplish (or was too cocky to think I couldn’t).  And this served me well, but it also limited me and taught me to be a bit afraid of hard work. 
Don’t get me wrong, that bloody PhD was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I knew when I started it that I could do it. 

Yesterday, I went to a new yoga class.  I was a bit apprehensive.  I haven’t properly practiced in months and these ladies looked serious.  I mean they had all the gear and the outfits and the leader had arms like carved marble.  Within a few minutes I knew this was going to be a challenging class.  I started to freak out a bit.  Up until now, I have been one of the more ‘advanced’ students in all my yoga classes.  This was not going to be the case here.  I was behind in the sequence and my arms were already wobbling.  I kept breathing and moving and I began to feel a bit more calm.  I remembered that yoga isn’t about pushing into crazy poses, but listening to your body and finding its strengths or flexibilities.  It’s not about force. 
I don’t buy into most of the spiritual side of Yoga.  What can I say, I’m full up.  But I did find a freedom in not being the ‘advanced’ student.  I was able to concentrate on my own practice and body with the knowledge that no one was looking to me as an example.  I was able to take the posture further if I wanted, but could also take it easy if I wasn’t comfortable.  I really connected with what my body was capable of and also pushed it a bit. 
But apparently not far enough.  During a ‘camel’ sequence I was taking the easier pose (which to me felt difficult enough) when the instructor approached and gently suggested I go a bit further.  I was apprehensive and she could tell in my body, I tensed up.  But she also saw in my body that I could go further and when I started to freak out a bit (about falling on my head and cracking my neck in the process and then being paralysed and unable to return home….) she offered support, physically and verbally.  ‘I know you can do this, I can see it in your body. I got you.’  It was such a simple thing. 
And I did.  I did it fairly easily.  I was scared (in a mild sense) but I did it.  And it felt really good.  I remembered why I practice.  I didn’t push it and attempt the headstand, one potential neck injury is enough, thank you.  That one instance in that one posture was enough. 

Today I am thankful for the potentially scary stuff each day brings.  I don’t always succeed at tackling them, but I always learn something.  For example, I shouldn’t wear red lipstick. 

*still house-daughtering, not nearly as fun and rewarding as housewife-ing (see, scary stuff)


  1. This is the thing I need to remember for myself too. And well done on joining the scary class and doing the scary pose!

  2. THIS is exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you <3 And congrats for giving Fear the 'ol heave ho!