When I was young, I had an aversion to my feet leaving the ground. I wouldn't cartwheel. No sommersaults in the fresh cut grass for me. Jumping off of things, even not too far from the ground, was not something you'd catch me at. If an adult asked "if so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you follow them?" I just rolled my eyes and huffed that of course I wouldn't jump off a bridge. I couldn't even force myself to jump out of the swing at its apex just to feel that giddy flying feeling my friends were laughing about. My feet stayed where I thought they belonged...on the ground. Sensible.
As a teenager this sorely inhibited my skills as a dancer. The leaps and twirls and tricks I so wanted to master were not only difficult but frightening. My teacher patiently coaxed me to let go little by little over the years, but by the time I was in college I still was not where I could have been. "Relax and let go...Rachael shoulders DOWN".
This week I decided to attempt getting these responsible feet off the ground. I dabble in Yoga. I do it for strengthening and stretching but find it has the added benefit of calming my thoughts and giving me confidence in my abilities. Supported headstand...surely I could at least do it with my body relying on the wall. Last Monday I gave it my first try. I won't bore you with the preparatory steps (plenty online if you're curious). Let's just say I assumed the position, head down, hands clasped and then did a little hop up to the wall. Feet over head. For all of about ten seconds I was incredulous that I was completely upside down. It didn't take long for the discomfort to set in and I lowered (okay toppled) down to the ground again. Every day since, I have tried it again. The first few times I had to let my heels stay in contact with the wall no matter how hard I tried to balance away from it. A few days ago I pulled both away and was self supported for all of two seconds before teetering over. Wow, what a feeling! Two seconds! Okay so cut to yesterday and you'd find me not only self supported standing on my head but able to hold my own body that way as I counted to 45. I felt like I could stay there forever but I remind myself often that just because I can do something doesn't mean I should.
Maybe it's all the blood in my brain, but I can't help thinking about how the scary things we face in life are just like this. We might think we would never be able to do it, wouldn't even attempt it! Probably we wouldn't even like it so why should we try? The first time it will be uncomfortable. The second time it will still be difficult but maybe just a hint less. The third and fourth time you might lose some of your fear and start to find the sweet spot. It might take hundreds of starts and stops before you finally get there. Wouldn't it be worth it? I know one thing for sure, you won't know if you never try.