Category Archives: Yoga

Gremlins of Fear

I’ve been contemplating fear lately.  Rolling it around inside me, reading about it, turning it this way and that like a prism.  Trying to come through the backdoor of my perceptions – my preconceptions.  Trying to sneak up on my already made up mind in order to nudge a shift, or learn anew.  It’s not easy; this ego mind of mine is so very good at dodging and blocking and building walls.

I’ve been stepping into my fear consciously and consistently for almost ten years now.  Pushing against and into my set in cement boundaries to grow and learn and evolve.  To become someone more, or other, or further, than simply being a wife and a mother.  To simply Be.

I sit at my simple, old, wooden desk and look out the window at the incessant rain drumming down.  At the dance of water that drips from the blue incandescent Christmas lights still clipped to the leaf clogged eaves troughs.  At the many hues of green that gives promise that Spring is here despite the grey skies, chilly air and wet, soggy ground.

Inside and outside Inspirations

I pull my gaze inside the room and see the words of inspiration that lay propped just in front of me, leaning against the window.  They have become cliché’s but remain as true and motivating as the day they were written.

It is never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Elliot

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you’ve imagined. ~ Thoreau

Do the thing you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Stand in the space and know you are there. ~ anonymous

I began taking tiny small steps into my fear when I ventured back into the world of acting with my first class nine years ago, impersonating the confidence I didn’t feel in the slightest.  Ten years and many steps later I am doing what I once only dreamed of doing.  I’ve learned that a dream realized doesn’t mean the end of the rainbow, the dream just grows and changes, always needing more and more steps into the fear.

My BlackBerry chirps on the desk beside my laptop, singing to me that I have a new text message.  I take a sip of my hint of chocolate tea and read what my friend has written,  “Just beginning step #4: Make a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Ourselves.  Must write down all hurts and resentments in my life honestly.”

I glance to the bookcase on my right and my eyes find the picture of the two of us together.  I hear the conversation she and I had on the phone yesterday when she spoke of the path she was taking and the fear through which she was bravely swimming.  Although not an alcoholic, she is working through the twelve-steps with the help, support and guidance of a trusted friend and counselor.  At a time in her life when she often told me “it is too late,” and she is “too old”, my friend is finding amazing change and awareness and a growing consciousness with each courageous step.  The strong chains of fear that keep her bound to the past are growing brittle and falling away with each new awakening.

An image pops into my mind and I smile.  Another friend who is shining the light into her own dark alleyway of fear on her blog, Bespoken.   Although Marlene and I met only briefly over a year ago at the Deepak Chopra Foundation’s Sages and Scientists Symposium, I still remember our connection and conversations.  Every once in a while a person appears who I am sure has been with me on many life journeys, a familiarity and kinship is felt at once.  We don’t email or talk on the phone, but her presence is there nonetheless,

Just as I began a more formal research and examination of fear, I read a couple posts by Marlene ~ There’s Nothing to Fear Except Yourself and Resistance is Futile.  Synchronicity.  She writes about fear and relationships and ends with words that I will read many times over.

Nothing can fill the emptiness because the fear of being hurt or exposed or out of control becomes the dam that keeps you from experiencing love. And love is what we came here for. That’s our true purpose. Not money, not ambition, not fame, not passion, not success, not status, not video games, not gossip. Only love. Everything else is a distraction.  

I am once again suspended upside down against the wall in my yoga class.  My elbows form a triangle with the crown of my head suspended just above the floor, my fingers laced together and my pinky fingers stretched straight along the floor.  My forearms hold most of the weight of my body and with each breath I bring space and strength to the cavity of my armpits to help keep my shoulders from collapsing and keeping my heart centre open.  I slowly slide my feet tall up along the wall until my legs are straight.  I practice one-nostril breathing in order to bring relaxation in to my assisted headstand and to breath fear out.

“Move your arms closer to the wall, Terri.” Chris speaks across the room to me.  I slowly shift my arms back and then lower my head to the floor, allowing some of my weight to now flow down through my neck and the crown of my head into the floor.  Chris walks over to me and helps to move the straps from around my feet until the only thing assisting me is the wall against with I’m gently resting.  I keep my pelvic floor and core zipped tight and my awareness on my breath.  Release, release, release, I silently chant on my out breath.

“Okay,” says Chris, “lower yourself to the floor.”

A spike of fear.  Irrational images and thoughts of broken necks flash through my mind.  I take a breath in and with my exhale I slowly lower one leg…..and it stops, suspended halfway to the floor.  “Oh-oh,” my ego mind says.  Out loud I say, “I can’t reach the floor!”

“Just lower the other leg,” encourages the red-haired woman to my left.

I resist, not saying anything.

“Lower your other leg and you’ll automatically find the floor.”  Chris echoes, standing close enough to catch me if I crumble.

Fear rises in me like a red-scaled dragon.  I haven’t been in a headstand in so many years that I can’t find a memory to re-member.  Perhaps the fear grown from a head and back injury two years ago has walled me in so tight I can’t feel the childhood joy and body awareness in this inverted pose.  I can feel the sharp barbs on the wire as the fear wraps around me and threatens to pull even tighter.

I hear and feel the encouragement and support from Chris and Eve and allow my trust in them and in myself to move my second leg.  I feel the energy from the earth flow up through the crown of my head, along my spine and extend back down through my toes as my legs gently and softly lower to my mat.  As I lean back into child’s pose a warm wash of empowerment flows through my body.  I push up to a kneeling position, grinning in pure joy at the delight of fear conquered.

I’m finding new ways to melt away the contraints of fear, to breath away the suffocating confinement that stops me from learning and growing.  I close my eyes and sit in Namaste gratitude and listen for the stillness within.

Who am I?

I am a mother.  I am a writer.  I am an actor.  I am a seeker.  I am creative….female….

I listen to the wisdom of my body and go deeper, beyond the level of names and labels and physical form.  I breath in the stillness of the Source.  The wisdom of the Realm of Possibilty.

Who am I?

I am light.  I am darkness.  I am you.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.  There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence liberates others. ~~ Marianne Williamson


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My Yoga Truth

I gently lower myself until I’m hanging upside down suspended in the sling and tilt my pelvis to slide my butt up the wall until I feel the solid surface against my back.  My knees are deeply bent open and my feet are wound around the straps to stop me from falling onto my head, although it almost brushes my mat on the floor.  I’m nearing the end of my Tuesday morning 90-minute hatha class with Chris and challenging my fear and changing my perspective with inversion poses – with the help of straps, sling and the wall.

My mind's picture! 🙂

I’ve practiced yoga off and on for over ten years but have never succeeded in establishing anything close to a regular practice.  I have a hard time explaining why I haven’t or even figuring it out myself.  I’ve tried many times, many places and spaces but nothing stuck.  The classes were always too late or too early or too something.  Or they conflicted with my practice of choice – pilates.

So I was pleasantly surprised to recognize recently that not only did I want a regular yoga practice but actually yearned for one.  I tip toed into the concept carefully, ever so slightly concerned that if I spoke too loudly, questioned too closely or walked too quickly, I would scare away the yen.

I suspect it points back to a long held-dream realized that awakened and stirred something deep inside me.  After a year and a half of preparation, strong intention and even stronger commitment and work my Theatre of Infinity birthed it’s first production earlier this year – Daniel McIvor’s Marion Bridge.  At the same time I followed Annie Q’s (@so_you_know) wondrous writing about her deepening yoga practice with Marco Rojas.

It’s amazing what strong intention and commitment can create.  For me it brought an emerging awareness that I wanted to cultivate a more contemplative life.  That it was necessary in order to do the writing I was feeling more and more compelled to do.  Bringing forth the truth with compassion takes compassion and it begins with myself.

This time around my yoga practice is simply a result of my growing spiritual practice.  My classes with Chris have prepared me for my nascent home practice with Marianne Elliott (@zenpeacekeeper).  Complimentary.  I practice with compassion and gratitude and sometimes with just a bit of fear.  But I practice!

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