Friday, February 12, 2016


It's yet another example of on-the-mat experiences mirroring life experiences (or vice versa).  To imagine, you only need put yourself in a position.  A posture, a pose.  You settle into it as best you can, willing your muscles to relax, trying to let your body do what it will without your controlling it.  There's nothing overt stopping you from relaxing- no conscious contractions, no purposeful holding.  And from all appearances you are perfectly at ease.  But then someone comes along and says "relax your jaw" or "let your hip roll out" or "drop your head" and upon following this simple instruction you find an unknown pocket of extreme tension you didn't know was there.

Now imagine the same sensation- the same exact feeling.  Only this time it's an emotional one.  Your body may hold onto it in the same way (it usually does), but there's a distinctly different flavor.  Your thought process is tied up in it.  The way you react to... everything.  It's where the term "feeling emotional" comes from- it's a whole mess of reactions coming out, some of which make no damned sense.  But they're all from that same pocket of emotional tension you didn't know was there.

That's what I'm sensing at the moment.  It's a holding onto when I need to let go.  It's a bracing myself when I need to relax.  It's an incessant thought in the back of my mind that won't go away- I can drown it out with busy activity but it's still there.  In the pauses, the lulls, the dreams you have before you've quite woken up- that fear causes tension on an unconscious level.

I've been putting a lot of stock into the idea of fearlessness as I've been in this process of self change.  I champion the belief that you can do anything- truly anything- if you get out of your own way.  And yet here I am on the cusp of some major changes without the ability to let go of my fear.  It's there- holding back the edges, teetering to avoid a spill, bracing for the impact.

And I know I can't force it.  Just like in that physical posture, you can't force your body to relax what you don't know you're tensing.  I can't erase the emotion.  Even if I think I know what's causing it.  It's there, under the surface, beyond my ability to change it.

But I am learning some things on the mat.  It's the same lesson I've been so often repeating here.  When you can't change something, don't.  Don't fight it, don't berate yourself for not being able to change it, don't give up and back out of it.  Just be in it.  Feel it- in all those tense muscles, all those not-quite-relaxed postures, all those aches and pains.  Just be there, completely aware of it.  Without judgement, without pressure to fix it.  Just be in it.  A skill they call "tracking" on the mat.  The idea being that your greatest self discoveries will come in this state.

And there is a very important difference between tracking and wallowing.  One is quiet observation without judgement.  The other is, forgive the term, being a drama queen about it.  My pain serves no one other than me if I can't learn from it first.

So I'm here, way deep down into the discomfort.  Noticing the sensations- the pulls and pains and stuck points.  Sensing myself bracing for the impact of what I haven't done yet but know I will have to.  And I'm not backing out it.

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