04 September, 2012

Shift happens

Today was 90 minutes of Power Vinyasa with Carley.

This day began with the question to self: "What new ground is there to break?"

There was a bit of a letdown, having achieved the 100 day goal. I even found myself thinking that I didn't really feel like going to yoga today.

Earlier in the day, I had been talking with a friend about fears I have regarding taking on the kind of big, messy commitments that tend to have the greatest rewards in life. In yoga practice, I have been trying to recognize the parallels between situations on the mat and experiences off the mat. And it isn't difficult to see that this fear in life manifests itself in an aversion to doing any kind of inversion, or balance where I might end up taking a fall. Not only am I afraid, but I simply won't do them. I told my friend today, plainly, that I'm not good with having my world turned upside-down.

In class, inversions are typically an optional addition to poses like splits or Crow, and it's easy to just skip the modification. Today, after a pretty intense opening 30-40 minutes of flow, Carley tells us to move our mats to the walls because we are going to spend some time working on headstands.

And there it is. Simple as that. An opportunity to meet the fear head on, so to speak. And how much more apropos could it be than on Day 101, searching for a purpose, and with the thoughts of how I will learn to stop being afraid of having my world turned upside-down fresh on my mind.

I told Carley that I was sort of terrified. But when I actually did it, there was no fear. I've felt more adrenaline just trying to tolerate the heat during a tough class. And I did it. And it wasn't bad.

So I have to ask myself, "What does it mean to think you're terrified, without actually experiencing feelings of fear?"

It reminds me of something Cassandra said the other day. It was something Baron Baptiste had said to her. After she told him something painful about her life, he asked "Are you getting tired of that story yet?" And it makes me realize, we keep basing our lives and our choices and beliefs on the old stories, the old lessons, many of which no longer apply. But to move forward, there has to be that "shift" where we discover the story isn't working anymore.

Near the end of class today, Carley did a reading from "Journey into the Heart." It talked about earthquakes, as a metaphor for the various kinds of shifts that happen inside us, reshaping us in all kinds of ways. Sometimes the shifts occur slowly, as in showing up on our mat every day and practicing. Sometimes they are abrupt. We are working at being both aware of, and receptive to these shifts as they present themselves to us.

Today I discovered that, instead of repeating to myself the question "What am I afraid of?" perhaps I should be asking the question "What am I not afraid of anymore?"

You learn something new every day.

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