I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately. Well I’m not really thinking about it as much as feeling it. It reared it’s head yesterday as I ventured to a Barre 3 class with my friends Julie and Marykay. I won’t say “reared it’s ugly head” because I just don’t think that fear is really ugly. I think every emotion serves its purpose – is there for a reason. The sooner we tune in to what that emotion is trying to show us, the sooner its job is done and it will dissipate. For as Rilke says, “No emotion is final”.
My whole body is responding, finding it’s place after my mastectomy. It’s figuring out how to move, how to align, how to be strong and whole again after this great disruption. My back and shoulders are having a hay day. I have an old shoulder injury that has been re-triggered. No surprise – my entire chest is pulling everything forward, creating stress at the very site of my old injury. And then there is pain. And pain changes everything. My sleep is upset, and we all know what happens when we are running on fumes. We don’t then have the energy to repair and heal…the very thing that need to happen. Ironic.
So I have worked diligently on connecting with my new body – although sometimes painful – to find out what it needs to heal. I have been dancing, taking walks in the woods, doing physical therapy, MELTing (which is using a soft foam roller and rubber balls to move the connective tissue), breathing, and sensing…and at the current moment my body feels ok, more aligned and connected and the pain is gone.
But the fear of it returning is always right there.
I can feel the tenuousness of my body – one wrong twist or bend – and everything will be back where it was. So that is the fear that showed up yesterday in Barre and what has showed up in moments this week at Nia. I am used to dancing almost every day. I am used to dancing so freely. I am used to mobility and flexibility and strength.
And now that fear is speaking to me, just below the surface of my movement, it says,
“move carefully. Move slowly. Sense what you are doing.”
That voice can so frustrate me at times. I want to tell it to “f— off”. But in my clearer moments, I honor its wisdom. I thank my fear for showing me the path back to my wholeness. And by acknowledging, listening, and honoring its message, I know I will grow stronger and more fluid, I know that my body will get back to the dance of freedom so that my fear no longer has to rear its head.
For that I say thank you fear. Thank you body.