We were in Texas all week last week on a business trip / family vacation, and since we had plenty of time to kill during our trip, we got pretty adventurous with our undertakings.
On our first day in Houston, we drove by an indoor skydiving place and decided to try it out, without really knowing what it was or what to expect.
All three of us took a turn in the wind tunnel, and despite how different the experience was from what we were expecting, we all took something from it that would prompt us to want to go back.
When I tell people about things like my indoor skydiving or other random adventures I engage in, they occasionally point out how scared they would be and how “brave” I am for taking the leap.
The truth is that I don’t think taking the plunge and doing things I am NOT afraid of makes me any braver than the next guy. Bravery is action in the face of fear, as opposed the absence of it. It is not brave to do things other people would be afraid of – it’s only brave to do things I am afraid of, despite my fear.
And I’m still afraid. Not of indoor skydiving or of making mistakes or talking to strangers – things I do openly and without hesitation – but of other things I don’t even have the courage to discuss on this blog.
While I was in Texas, I met up with my friend A.T. (who incidentally, was also the person who introduced me to yoga) and we had one of our good, long, completely transparent chats. The kind you only have with people who are so close to your same wavelength that you have no fear of judgment or repercussions.
I was telling her about my teacher training and how vocal and “open” I was during my first weekend, but how really I was only more open in comparison to most people, but really not that open at all. I committed during the training to be more vulnerable – fully vulnerable in the face of situations that scare me.
My fellow trainees and instructors may not realize this, but I failed to keep my commitment, despite how much I shared and vocal I was. I did very little that frightened me, and in fact, fell easily into old fear patterns that this time around I am determined to break.
I don’t think it was any kind of a coincidence that in my last post I was talking about how you can’t be “good” or “bad” at yoga. Yoga is about progress. There is ALWAYS somewhere else to go, even when you’ve gotten to a more advance version of the pose. If you can touch your knee with your nose, then the next step is to put your leg behind your head. Not because it looks cool, but because that is the next place where you are uncomfortable.
For next weekend’s teacher training session, I need to keep that in mind. I may be putting my face squarely between my knees, but if that feels comfortable, I need to move on to the next level. Both physically and emotionally.
Otherwise what is the point?