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Opening Fear – Reaching for Sky

The thing about fear (the not-in-a-life-threatening-situation variety) is this:

We don’t have to pretend it isn’t there. We don’t have to “fake it ’til we make it.” We don’t have to stuff it into a corner…

All we have to do is remember that we have a center. All we have to do is push our heels and the balls of our feet a little more firmly into the floor. All we have to do is lengthen our spines a little bit taller toward the ceiling. All we have to do is remember what a tree looks like when it reaches toward the sky. We center. We stretch. And suddenly, we can do whatever it is we need to because, even though part of us has fear, the rest of us remembers what it feels like to stand tall. We can do this thing, because we have a center from which to move, or in which to remain firm.

Don’t pretend you aren’t uncertain, or scared, or lonely: find instead this feeling in your body that says, “I am alive.”

I did this just this morning. Over the weekend, my mild repetitive stress injury in my arm acted up so badly while leading a drum meditation that my left arm became almost useless. Through some energy work and the ministrations of a couple of kind and skilled healers, it was feeling much better by Monday, but Tuesday, when I went to do my handstands something in me gave a strong “No!” So I didn’t, sensing that my body needed more time to mend.

This morning, however, I felt warmed up enough and stretched out enough to try. As I stood facing the wall, breathing and preparing, there was a niggling fear that did not want me to try. Could the tendons in that arm really stretch and hold me up? Would I hurt myself again? None of this was actual dialog, mind you, but a sense that was creeping out to suffuse my body. I breathed again. Found my center, allowed my feet to sink and open, and my spine to reach and rise. Then I moved into one of the best handstands I’ve ever done: light, strong, lifted. I barely needed the wall at all, just barely touching it with my feet before my core lifted me up and away, standing free.

I want to remember this feeling when I have to face the next daunting task, or difficult conversation, or take another big risk in order to move forward, following the flow of life’s expansion. I want to recall the difference between fear that gives me good information and fear that needs to be breathed with, opened, and allowed to reach with the rest of me.

I hope we all can do this, finding a way through the difficulties we may face, remembering that the earth herself supports us, and the sky is always open to our reaching arms.

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