March 20, 2012 is a day I'd choose to live again. It was a breakthrough day as several things came together for me. I've been working on some new behaviors/responses over the last several years and on this day I watched myself actively put them into practice. I was confident, yet teachable, present with the frustrating circumstance. I weighed choices, made some decisions and implemented them. I asked questions when I didn't understand, requested clarification, and repeat instructions when needed.
These behaviors have been very difficult for me especially when asking for help. Growing up I would push away my fears and "negative" emotions. I would move to a place of "observing and watching" overwhelmed and paralyzed by tension, yet not able to name or acknowledge the myriad of feelings.
Back in May 2009 I enrolled in Susannah Conway's eCourse, Unravelling: Ways of Seeing My Self, but did not finish. During Week Two on Reflections, I had a health scare. It turned out to be nothing, but the fear overwhelmed me, tormented my thoughts, and twisted up my emotions for several weeks. Facing the fear and "Unraveling" at the same time was too intense.
I wrote ferociously in my journal, sobbed buckets of tears, but during that time I faced the tormenting fear of receiving a life threatening diagnosis. I like to say that I faced DOWN the tormenting fear and learned I could be present in the fear without it overwhelming me. I learned that the fear came in waves, but would soon go back out. I learned I could get through each wave.
During lunch the next day with my dear friend, I shared the health news (still undiagnosed at the time). I asked where the fear comes from and why it comes. I was in tears and feeling the fear again...feeling each moment of the tormenting fear. But in the safety of her friendship I could acknowledge that the wave would not kill me. In that moment my feelings, thoughts and observations were integrated and "with me". I didn't push away the fear, but let it be present in the same room with my thoughts and observations.
This was a new behavior for me and brings me back to March 20th and why I am so proud of myself. I almost gave up something I enjoy very much, but in the discouragement and frustration I took some courage and asked for help. It seems kind of silly for it to be about snow skiing, but I'm okay with that.
I grew up skiing and skied regularly through college, but over the last several years (after a 15 year hiatus) I could only ski 3 to 4 hours a day. My thighs would be completely shot for the rest of the day. I blamed it on being out of shape (which is true), but recently something made me wonder if maybe my technique needed help especially since skis now days are shaped differently.
So on our most recent trip to Taos I decided to take a lesson. My ski instructor was wonderful and I could tell an immediate difference. I relearned how to turn, to allow the skis to do the work and not muscle each and every turn myself. I skied the full day and my last run was an absolute blast. With arms raised in sweet victory I finished my last run with a huge grin on my face.
I heard something revolutionary (at least to me) from a friend about ten years ago about emotions. She said we can pay attention to our emotions and understand the signals they send without being controlled by them. It's taken me some time, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.