I was standing in a dark space and I could feel something around me. It felt dark and black and evil. I felt my heart begin to race as my fear turned to panic and I saw this huge dark cloud move towards me. I turned on my heel and began to run as if I was running away from a giant snowball hurtling down a mountain gaining speed, depth and intensity. My heart was thumping in my chest and my belly was heaving. I was going to be sick. As I turned my head to see where "IT" was, I saw it was closing in on me and there was no escape. It was going to get me. I screamed and woke up. I felt my stomach heave and before I could get myself to the bathroom I vomited over my bed. The tears came and I began calling for my Mammy. I was six and this was a recurring dream I had from the age of about three. When the dream came it always ended with my waking and being sick. The terror was immense and overwhelming. It was too much. I couldn't handle it and I couldn't cope.
I hadn't thought about this dream for a long time so when it popped into my mind last week while on a training, I was surprised. The memory was very vivid and underneath this there was a sense of overwhelm that felt really familiar. The week prior to heading away for training was intense with a feeling of there being no way out. It was as though life had spun out of control. I had so many balls in the air and I was failing miserably at juggling them. It was all too much. Life was too much. I couldn't do this anymore. I was tired, so tired of feeling it was all down to me and there was no one around that had my back or to tell me, "It's okay, I've got you".
Arriving to a training feeling this way was, in hindsight, a good thing. It meant the shields that I normally have to work on bringing down were closer to the surface and the only way through them was to allow myself to surrender to the process.
TRUST THE PROCESS!
Three simple words that I have heard numerous times over my yoga and coaching trainings and although I resist it, when I trust things begin to happen. So the first step is to breathe deeply and connect to my diaphragm, my solar plexus and my belly. I began to stalk this terror that had stalked me in my dreams as a child. It wasn't pretty... there were tears, there were deep angry lions breaths, there was a feeling of being full but empty at the same time, followed by a lot of belching and retching as though I held this stuff in the depths of my being for so long now I couldn't release it. But I kept going and in my minds eye I saw that little girl in the dream with the darkness bearing down on her. I called in my guides and I stood beside her. We stood together and faced it, we looked at it and we said; "You are no longer welcome. We are not afraid of you anymore." And it disappeared. I felt hollow and sad. I lay on my mat and as one of my mentors stroked my back and my hair, I felt a wave of gentleness hit me and I sobbed. I cried for the little girl who could never quite face it, I cried for the way my fellow teacher, held and comforted me and how it had been so long since that had happened for me. I cried for how bored I am of telling the same story and slipping into victim mode, how sick I am of always doing the work and feeling like I get nowhere and I cried for the woman I am who has found it so hard to treat herself gently and to trust and allow others to do the same.
To be treated with kindness and gentleness is not an easy thing for me. I am used to being strong and I save my softer side for my family, my students and my friends but not really for myself. This week I learned that I also need to do it for me, for the little girl inside and for the woman I am. The more gentle and kind I am to me, the more I attract this energy into my life. Choosing to lie on my mat during a class while my fellow trainees were continuing to practice around me and allowing myself to be supported in a gentle way was more powerful than any class where I have pushed through and kept going.
Stepping into gentleness is scary for me. In relationships, I am the strong one, the one that doesn't want to be seen to need, that's willing to walk away so as not to make a scene, and the one that will not show the hurt or my vulnerability for fear of it being too much. So this new step is a tentative one, but it's also time. Time to move within the fear, to track it, to view it as an ally and see the possibility in studying it, whilst taking the time to allow this new sense of gentleness in to simply be with it, learn what it looks like, grow into it and embrace it. Just like getting on our mats every day, it takes practice and no doubt I will falter along the way. For now I am like a child beginning to walk in the world. I feel lighter after the training. I feel open, grounded and empowered. These hesitant new steps show a vulnerability and an unclear path ahead but there is also a freedom in allowing myself to not always have to be strong, to push forward and to constantly need to have all the answers.
Stalking your fear is such a brave-hearted task. It is an act of courage, which transmutes the shame by giving you the chance to take actions that make you proud of yourself, building your self-esteem. You step onto the warrior path, the hunter path, instead of the victim path, of being prey. That is something to be proud of!
Ana T. Forrest
This is new. It feels different and it's time. Time to see fear as my ally and more importantly it's time for me to surrender into gentleness, into compassion, into kindness and into unconditional love for myself with all that that invites into living my full life.
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