Hello, my name is Sara and I’m afraid.
As I understand it, one of the first steps towards any recovery begins with that statement. You’ve said it. You’ve taken your first step. You start at the bottom, at the foundations and begin building back up – brick by brick. I am. I am. I am. I’m.
I’m afraid of snakes. The shivers towards this particular slithering reptile began in kindergarten with the alphabet when “S” like in “Sara” was commonly illustrated with the “S” as in “snake.” I’m afraid of deeper darker things too, but it’s not the time to delve into those now.
Hello, my name is Sara and I’m afraid to go upside down.
I’ve been learning forearm balance, a yoga pose where – yes, you guessed it – the only part of you connected to the earth is from your elbow to the palm of your hand. The first part to master is kicking your legs up so that they hit the wall behind you for some extra stability. When you’re really good, you won’t need the wall because, as the anti-yogi says in my head: the wall is for losers. On the other hand, the zen yogi comprehends this non-judgmental statement: if using the wall is where you’re at in this practice, then honor yourself and what you can do today. Namaste.
My first attempt at forearm balance happened two summers ago. I didn’t even want to try, but I wasn’t given much of a choice. The instructor was there to help me kick up, an expectant look upon her face. With my nose hovering dangerously mere inches above the floor, I panicked, convinced that my neck would break or I’d sever my spinal cord. Born a breech baby, even in utero I’d decided that I was adverse to standing on my head.
Old habits die hard.
Now here’s yoga imitating life. I’m ignorant and blind to my own power and strength. It’s a lot of leg to kick up and my kick is still weak and uncertain. I’m afraid of letting myself down, or worse – crashing into other yogis and them falling like dominos. Then, there’s that wall. The wall – my future successes I might dare to achieve – is so far away. I’m trying, but I’m afraid. I make a few small steps towards a breakthrough, but it still hasn’t happened yet.
What happens if I succeed? Will I think differently of this world when I see it topsy-turvy? Isn’t this world already askew, even looking at it right side up? After all, when you ignore the “this side up” label, it’s quite possible that those contents inside may no longer be intact or the same ever again.