Facing Fear Upside Down
(April 17th – April 23rd)

I was at the dance studio when suddenly I got scared and rushed out half way through a rehearsal. I was frightened but I didn’t know what scared me so much. As I rushed out and ran up the stairs, I saw a familiar face. I felt numb and afraid and began to back away and run down the stairs. Only to trip and fall.  As I lay at the bottom of the staircase, unable to move, I started to scream “HELP”. But no one heard me. And then I woke up.

This week’s lesson was all about facing fear. The dream I had last week reminded me of being scared and the desire of wanting to hide and run away from that fear rather than facing it.

This feeling of fear also reminded me of an experience I had in the Mayan Riveria in early 2010 when I went into a cenote (a deep water-filled sinkhole in limestone that is created when the roof of an underground cavern collapses) for the very first time.

I stood at the edge of the sinkhole with a towel wrapped around me.  I saw the clear blue water with fish circling around the swimmers.  Loud noise filled my ears. Noise that gave hints of joy and excitement.  I knew I wanted to be part of this experience but I remained still.  Fear had paralyzed me from moving any further.  The water seemed so deep.  Could I really do this?

I began to think about how I would feel if I didn’t jump in.  Would I get a second chance?  Would I regret this?

I knew at that moment that I needed to go in because living with regret was not something I could handle.  So with a lot of apprehension and much anticipation, I faced my fear and gave into the experience of it all.

The exhilaration of overcoming my fear is what I most remember from being in the cenote.  If I didn’t do this, then I wouldn’t have experienced the warm water or have the opportunity to swim with the fish.  If I didn’t do this, I would never have been able to share this experience of facing this fear with you.

This week was a continuation from last week’s challenges.  Last weeks events didn’t break me completely.  It showed me that I’m more vulnerable than I thought I was.  That I’m not immune to getting deeply hurt and that I would have to eventually decide how much of myself I should be giving away in the first place.   For being sensitive is a fear of mine.   Being vulnerable does scare me.  And it is something I’ve had to face.

When facing fear, I realized, it is sometimes important to give yourself some time.  Allow for clarity.  And seek out support from people you trust whenever or wherever possible.

But sometimes it takes even more than that.  That something extra that builds strength within and gives one confidence.  And that is when I decided to face some fears this week.

In order to become stronger, I needed to face fear from different points in my life.  Fear from my past, present and the fear of the unknown – my future.

And what better way to begin the process of facing fear but to do it upside down!

When I connected with Cirque Ability this week I didn’t know what I was thinking.  All I knew for sure was that my lifelong desire of doing a handstand or cartwheels was about to come true.  I was ofcourse scared.  I didn’t know what would happen once I was upside down.  And I was sure I would fall on my face a few hundred times.  And what if I didn’t succeed the first time around?  How will all of that make me feel?

Needless to say, I booked this workshop almost immediately after having faced some fear from my past.  I figured that I needed to balance this out –facing fear from my past and facing the unknown of being upside down could essentially create a new present.  A more hopeful and kind present.

I took out my big guns (yes my biceps!) and proceeded to Cirque Ability.  All the while finding ways I could get out of doing it.  My excuses of NOT going were as follows: 1) I was sick at that time.  2) I just faced some fear from my past, that should be good enough no?  3) I had a hard week last week so I really should take it easy.  4) There will always be another workshop so why not do this when I am more ready?

But then all the thoughts of not doing this rushed through my mind.  I knew I would regret it if I didn’t try doing this.  So as the excuses continued to take over my mind, and my heart started racing, my feet walked over to Cirque Ability.

I didn’t manage to do the handstand or cartwheel that day but I did develop new skills to help me get there.  And I was getting stronger. I went further than I did before. It gave me new confidence to being able to perfect doing a handstand and a cartwheel in the near future.

The biggest lesson though was that I faced a fear.  The fear of being upside down and not really knowing where I was going.  Just trying something new and allowing myself to fall when I needed to.  For isn’t that what life is all about?

Sometimes our greatest fears however don’t always involve jumping into a cenote or hanging upside down. Sometimes the biggest fear is following our hearts or making some tough decisions. The fear of facing reality or creating a new reality.

As a choreographer I’m constantly re-evaluating on what’s working and what’s not working while trying to stay true to my heart on what’s right and what’s wrong.  Sometimes it’s easy to make a decision and other times it’s hard. Scary even. Because what if I’m wrong? How do I know if the decision I’m making is the right one? And what are the consequences of making these decisions?

But with a whole lot of faith, some support and a clear direction in my mind, facing that fear becomes a bit easier. The fear of what is our present reality.

Ofcourse this is all easier said than done. And things change quite constantly in my world and thus, decisions also changes and a sometimes a fear gets crushed by itself or it is re-born into something new.

I think I’ve faced enough fear for one week however. Until next time, this is my confession.

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