So You've Faced Your Fears... Now What?
Face your fear. Feel your fear. Conquer your fear. Boom, well there you go! Sometimes I wish it were so easy in real life. Yet in a way it is, especially with a little help and support. And from a lifetime of creating habits of encountering fears as they arise or come up in ones' life; becoming aware of one's patterns of holding onto fears and of dealing with them through facing, feeling emotions and stepping through the invisible wall of "I can't" into the land of "I am doing".
Yesterday I became aware of a new fear which had slowly gained steam and grown in my mind. I had suffered a shoulder injury a few months ago from a combination of different activities I was doing: yoga with new advanced harder balance poses, my regular exuberant dance and weekly weight work with the intent to strengthen the shoulder. Well, somehow these plans were not in accordance with my shoulder's best interests. I had to back off for longer than I wanted to. Being an athlete, older now, with years of believing I have a rapidly healing body, I have experienced that this belief is not always true and that my lovely body has LIMITS. I must exercise really good judgement healing from an injury by ceasing or modifying some activities for weeks, maybe as in this case, months. It means more time in the careful return to regular routines through modifications in yoga and for awhile only small hand weights instead of the machines with stronger levers.
I dug deep into my yoga lessons about patience and holding a strong course of care. I revisited this lesson more than I had hoped to do, but with great rewards. My shoulder healed; more slowly than I had hoped. Yet, by honoring my need to back off I could feel improvement in lessening of pain, increased weight-bearing and range of painfree motion. I needed fewer modifications. The couple pounds I gained from pulling back have gone. I am back to my spinning class in the gym. Here, I used to go to the weightroom for my cross-training. Yesterday in a wild, intense spinning class I realized that I was very afraid of going into the weightroom and beginning to build my weight work back up. Very afraid. This fear arose on its own; initially good judgment kept me from this endeavor. It has been months, now since the injury. Healing is almost complete. I hadn't realized I had been going to spinning the last few weeks and rushing out of the gym.
Now, a self-limiting fear exposed, what do I do? Oh, yeah, "just do it!" It felt impossible to just finish my class and walk calmly into the weightroom, to adjust weights and begin a simple shoulder strength routine. I write about motivation! I had just told a friend to face and move through a difficult task with my help. Who am I if I tell others to do these things without doing so myself? I wrestled a few,"no, I can'ts", I began to imagine myself walking to the room and entering through the frozen invisible wall of fear. Over and over. Strapped on my bike, spinning away I had a perfect container to aliven my mind to blast through that strange imposing wall. I decided that by doing this my friend would also be helped in his challenge. By breaking a wall of fear, all fear walls would be weakened for anyone hesitating, needing that little help.
Spinning class ended; I cleaned my bike and entered the imagined stride right into the weightroom, almost hesitating at the door and then I was in the room sitting on the first machine reaching to make adjustments! I was in! Years of habit of weight adjustment, simple sets, careful alignment took over and my goal of entering, using 4 machines gently with simple sets was met. Jubliance! For a moment a fleeting thought, "that was easy!" And yet it was not so easy until I became aware of the fear, acknowledged it and used skills and tools which are always available from my yoga and motivation bag of tricks and tools.
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