What are you afraid of?
Why are you afraid?
“I’m not afraid of falling, I’m afraid of getting hurt”
Uttering these words to Sammy moments before dropping back and catching was an astounding moment of clarity and confronting my fears on more levels than I was consciously aware. While I was explaining this to Sammy on a physical level, not wanting to hurt my back, it brought to light what I am coping with on an emotional realm. As always, my asana guides me to a deeper understanding of myself, both mentally and physically.
First, I was scared to tell Sammy that I was scared. I have a fear of showing others anything less than my happy emotions. And the even bigger issue is a fear of admitting them to myself. And allowing myself to feel pain because I am afraid and because I am ashamed.
“Straight arms, strong legs, crawl.”
As I backbend more and more deeply, I am forced to go beyond the surface of comfort. I am taken into a realm where things arise that I don’t know how to control. I panic. My body tenses and I try to grab on my own, rather than trusting my strength to come into the posture slowly. Clinging onto control, I reach for my ankles on my own. I have to let go. I have to trust someone else. Despite how much I trust Sammy, I don’t trust the consequences of my reactions and expressing my emotions to someone else.
I am not afraid of failure. I know that I can overcome it. I know that it makes me stronger. I always find myself thriving after those moments of loss and chaos. What I don’t know how to truly do is feel pain. I don’t feel it. I push it away. I use it to motivate me. I push past it. But I don’t honor it. I don’t feel it. And while I mask it to the best of my ability, it is never going to go away until I learn how to be with it. Until I learn how to feel the things that I am ashamed to feel. The things that I hate myself for feeling. Feeling the things that mean I am not in control.
“Straight arms, strong legs, breathe. “
All of those emotions and anxieties I have towards fear demonstrate attachment to those darker emotions. I have built them up in my head. I have created this demonizing idea of them, when that is not necessarily the reality, but rather my perception of what the experience might be. I need to admit my emotions to myself. And then, be with them. Don’t try to mask them as something else. Let go of my attachments to how I think they may feel and what they mean. Let go of being in control. Inhale, and bend into them. Exhale, go deeper than I know how. Deeper than I am in control.
I am learning to let go and surrender to my emotions.
My past was all about being in control of my emotions. If I wasn’t, really bad things were going to happen. If I wasn’t in control of my emotions, he was going to hurt himself. I am so scared of feeling what is really there because of what the consequences of allowing myself to feel and express that might be and what they mean. I am scared of letting go of control of my emotion because of their consequences.
But I am scared of letting go of controlling my emotions because that puts him in control of my emotions. I allowed him to control how I felt. My mood was dependent on him. I hated myself for that. So when we broke up, I refused to let him be in control of me anymore. I refused to let him make me feel less than myself. I couldn’t control anything in the situation except for myself. It was the only power I had, and I clung to it. But the great irony is, in this fight to regain and maintain control of my emotions, I haven’t had control at all. I have been so busy trying to feel like I was in control of what I felt or didn’t feel, that I wasn’t actually feeling what was there.
As I bend back, opening my heart, using my strength, and pushing past the surface of comfort, I surrender. I surrender to myself. I surrender to my practice. And I trust. I trust my strength, I trust my teacher, and I trust myself. I go to the places beyond my comfort and control. And I don’t know. I don’t know where it will take me. But I surrender. And in this letting go, I am free to see what is really there. To see my true self. And rather than being ashamed, I learn to love. Love every part of myself, even the dark and twisty parts that I don’t control and am just welcoming through the door.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhav Antu.
May all beings be happy and free.