“The problem is we think we exist,” says Natalie Goldberg — author of Writing Down the Bones. Her point is that we should write and not worry about what other people might think of what we say. We are not what we think and yet that is how we see ourselves. As though our existence is established by our thoughts.
We are carried in many directions by our “thoughts.” There’s much internal bravado—created, of course, to mask the barrenness in our lives. We feel strange and alone. At least I do. And what’s weird is that I feel this way even when, on the outside, I’m calm and content. I feel this way even when I don’t notice it. But, sometimes, like someone strolling in the park during an ominous movie scene, all I see is the blur of something ducking behind a tree. That’s when I pick up a deep-seated discomfort. I have read enough to know that this phenomenon is fairly common — but also that few people even realize what’s happening, much less are able to admit it.
Just keep the hand moving says Natalie. And so I do. Waiting to see if I catch a glimpse of the furtive figure. Sometimes during yoga I catch a glimpse. Usually one at the end of my series, when I’m upside down doing a headstand. The headstand has been a major challenge for me. At first I spent most of my energy being worried that I would fall. And at first I did fall. A lot. But now I rarely fall.
And yet I’m still afraid of falling.
The other day something interesting happened during headstand as I was upside down, completely calm and totally relaxed. I caught a glimpse of fear. What fear? That’s what I asked myself. Suddenly I realized that the 'fear of falling' is not really my biggest fear; it’s that the fear is that things will change too suddenly. As I challenge myself I feel like things are changing. The change that’s coming is good, and I would like to be open to it. But I can’t quite get past this weird fear. Why? Because I'm afraid it will feel like falling, but in a much more frightening way. Weird, isn’t it?
I guess I need to understand my fears better.