Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A love note to the shadows

Dear sweet Fear,

Why are you so hard to break up with? Where is it that you dwell and hide? And why do you sneak around and pop up when we seem to be in our brightest moments?

Oh sweet fear... arising out of Winter's contemplative days. You demand that we face you in order to move forward. You are a mirror and a tool.

Ugh, fear... seriously. Sometimes I do not want to deal with you or recognize that you exist in me. But you are there, silently waiting to be recognized. To be dealt with. To be embraced and conquered.

For some time now I have been thinking about inversions and balancing poses. These, for me, are the most difficult although I know I have the physical strength to do them... making it even more of a frustrating puzzle for me. As my practice increases I am faced with these challenges everyday. Almost everyday I try and go up into headstand - I am almost there on my own. I have the action down, I have positioning and the strength and control. Then why do I feel like a shaky tower swaying in the breeze? Why am I still afraid to fall? Every practice I approach wide legged stretches with resistance - these ask that we move weight out of our heels and lean forward, our fragile heads to the ground. And every practice arm balances both intrigue and frustrate me. I try, I want to fly into them and feel my body held aloft by my own strength. My energetic body is already doing it - but my physical one cannot seem to let myself sit back on my arms, and lean weight out of my strong parts and into the unknown.

All of this has led me down the path of contemplating what holds me back - not just in yoga but in all areas of life. What am I resisting? What is in me that needs the support of another to hold me up? And what can I let go of so that I find the strength within myself to balance on impossible perches? What am I holding onto from the past that is feeding my fear and where is it residing in my body? And how can I use this to serve me - to learn - to let go of fear and serve from a higher place? What is my deliciously clumsy arm balance teaching me? And how can I shift my resistance to surrender...

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