Last night I sat in bed and felt myself rigid, closed and rough around the edges. Everything that day was a little harder than usual. Little things took twice as long, I felt irritated and on edge and yet I could feel an avalanche of tears ready to break through at any moment. Once everyone went to sleep, I lay down and just sat with the feeling. It was fear, but fear of what?
Underneath the fear, I felt sad. A nostalgic kind of sad. As I focused on the feelings more, I realized it was a story I was creating in my mind that the best part of my life was over. I was going over all of the good times in my career. I wanted my old body back, my youthfulness, my energy, the good old days.
As I tuned into the story I was creating in my mind, I realized there was another way to look at it. My suffering was from resisting life’s natural flow; I was trying to swim uphill, trying to resist and hold tight to something that doesn’t even exist anymore. Why? Couldn’t I believe there was something better, something as fulfilling and yet different?
I decided to tune into the feeling of deep appreciation. Deep appreciation for all of the people who over the years crossed my path and became my students, some for an hour and some for 20 years. I felt a deep appreciation for all of the people that had hired me, invited me to beautiful countries and great companies that sponsored me, or invited me to represent their products. My tears started to flow even more and I felt a sense of reverence for my past. A gratefulness I hadn’t tuned into before, that this was not just an end but an evolution, a new beginning and I am in a growth spurt.
Sometimes I just want to crawl back into my comfort zone, get on autopilot and let life be as it is so I don’t have to feel the feelings of fear or uncertainty, or what my teacher calls “groundlessness”. It’s like being at the top of the roller coaster and going down after a long, slow climb. Just like on the roller coaster, I know I will be ok, I have a seat belt on and I can either put my hands up in the air and feel the excitement or grip tight to the bar and scream and close my eyes. No matter what, things are changing.
And today I am deciding to face life as a warrior: someone who is gentle and fearless. Willing to be present fully with all of life. Welcoming it all with tender hearted bravery. As Chogyam Turngpa Rinpoche said, “to understand fearlessness, one has to understand fear itself.” So today I choose the path of the warrior, willing to be with all my fears, to explore them and to open my heart by feeling grateful to my past and open to what my future brings and how I can serve in new ways. I know this growth spurt will pass and once again I will start the uphill climb. But for today, I’ll take advantage of being able to understand fear itself.
So, where are you resisting life? Where are you creating a story in your life that the past was better? This is a great opportunity to know fear and choose the path of the warrior.