For the last several months, fear has been ignited within me.
When I was in my early and mid twenties, fear was the main lense with which I viewed my reality. On the heels of a childhood in which I learned more about the external application of love and approval than I did about the inherent value of self, fear of not being loved seems somewhat obvious. Tragic for sure, but also not so surpirsing. My bigger fear though, or at least the one that I was more consciously consumed by at the time, was the fear that the energies that were waking up and coming to life inside of me were really and truly going to kill me. Like fucking end me. Mostly, this manifested on my yoga mat. Ha. Even the memory of this seems a little bit absurd. I remember seeking council from my asana teachers as well as my meditation teachers in varying states of bright eyed panic and over and over again choking out a feeble "Help! This shit is gonna kill me!" It was during this period that I was introduced for the first time to the practical application of prayer. I was instructed to talk to the energy, to the Shakti, and ask her to both ease up and show me the way.
At the time, I was living in Tucson, and 3 times a week the teachers at YO would meet for the 2 hours before Darren's classes to practice together. There was a sizable and steady group of us that would convene with a lot of regularity and occasionally work on the same practice but more often than not do our own thing. And let me just tell you, there were some able bodied people in there. I was at the very beginning of my life as a practitioner and not only was I intimidated by what others were doing on their mats, I also felt like I had something to prove with what I was doing on mine. And I was laced with fear. It pumped through my veins and came out on my breath. I was scared that not only would I look like the total and utter charleton that I am, but that I would hurt myself so severely that it would kill me. Like literally. Kill me.
For many months I would practice right next to Darren and Noah. This was over 10 years ago and the two of them were like gods to me. In part, because they are both just incredible humans who I continue to hold in very high regard and from whom I have learned a great deal- not just in the yoga room. But also, this was during a time when we were all involved in a method in which a particular type of ability was showcased and held up as the aim, independent of any other virtues or abilities. I know I held myself to a false standard and that that feeling of lack and of not adding up was a strong generator for my feelings of fear and low self worth. On one particular day, I was working on putting my legs into lotus while balancing on my forarms. I would get almost all of the way there and then realize where I was and just collapse. Topple. They asked me at one point what was wrong, and I replied that I was drowning in a puddle of fear. D looked up at me and said: "A puddle? Well that's not so bad".
For real. A puddle. When we are talking about a river or a lake or good god the sea? A puddle is nothing. In that moment I became both very small, and very still and it all became quite relative. And I was so much bigger than whatever that fear was that I had been telling myself was going to kill me.
While that moment has stayed with me for all of these many years in between, it was not until I birthed my first child that I fully shed my fear skin and stepped forward into my power as a grown woman. I think for me it took an initiation into the life cycle to begin to get any sense of perspective and humility around the most essential truth of our nature. We are each of us born, and we will each of us die, and most likely my death and even my real big hurts in this lifetime are not going to take place on my yoga mat. I was so blissed out after Maple was born. Ecstatic. Higher, and more full of confidence and authentic vulnerability than I had imagined possible. I had given birth to this perfect and sublime baby girl and no matter how hard I loved her and how well I parented her she, like the rest of us, is on the uncertain and sacred march to her death day. That shit rocked me. And it rocks me still. And all of the fears that I was swimming in in my practice were now only significant in whatever ways that they touch that underlying truth.
So I got a lot less scared. And I got a lot more real. At least in my perspective. But a few years later when Eider was born and he came in as my easy and tranquil and gentle baby, in sharp contrast to his sister who has always been fierce and dramatic and dynamic, I felt a new fear rise up. I have never had such an easy and straightforward yet profoundly deep relationship with anyone in my life. So, it must be flawed, right? It must not last, something is gonna give, something has gotta break. I feared that something unseen would rise up and take him from me. That I would only get to love him in the here and now for a short time, because how could something so good and so easy ever last?
Over time though, as Eider came in to his own, he did become difficult in his own way and the feeling did fade a bit. Thank god. You know, he got bigger and more and more autonomous and assertive of his own will and agenda. He started digging his heels in and growing up. It has been some years since I felt the accuteness of my fear of loosing him.
Until this summer. When I lost another. Another, who I did not know and had not spent years caring for and building relationship with. So, I started to get scared again. But when the fear woke up I saw that it had grown in scope and in power during its years of slumber. I felt it rise up and lay claim to my diapragm, lungs and wind-pipe. I started to play out all of the worst-case scripts in my imagination of how it would unfold and consume my kids, especially my boy.
Alright, so I was in the cave with all of this shit, but because my moto right now is: "Keeping it Real One Day at a Time", I asked for help. I told the truth about what was alive in me and got real vulnerable in the way that I am learning all hearts long for. So my scared heart way buoyed by the hearts of those who love me and they offered up prayers. One of my friends who has gotten tangled in fear a time or 2, offered me a prayer from AA that she calls upon when her heart needs settling. Another of my friends offered me a prayer from the Christian tradition that she calls upon when she is up at night spinning tales of her worst fears.
This has helped. But I also really needed to take Eider to our doctor to check in with what was appearing to be a very real decrease in energy. Avoiding it because I was scared of it was really not going to be the answer. Getting him tested for Lyme and a few other things was. Having an earnest conversation with our care provider about irrational fears coupled with the great uncertainty that we all exist within was too. He does not have Lyme. But he does have incredibly low Vitamin D levels. And so we are taking care. I am taking care. Of him and of myself in physical and in psychic ways. As for the fear, I am breathing into it. I am giving thanks for all of the bounty that I cannot imagine living without, even though one day I may. And I am full of prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.