I would like to start this post by saying that I really hate sport. I don’t play it. I don’t watch it. I don’t really understand why people do. I see the benefits that it gives you, and the way it encourages working with others – but its not really my cup of tea. I have never been great at playing with others, as most of my school reports will attest, and I just can’t really see the point of running after a ball with others in some kind of short covering on my bottom half.
My one-and-only time I was put on a netball court shows what sort of a sportsperson I am. I was tall, so was put near the goal-thing. I was told that some other player would come up with a ball, and try and get it in the hoop. My job was to stop her. Those were my instructions. So I was left in some silly brightly-coloured top thing, and the game starts. Sure enough, someone came up with the ball, and looked like she was going to throw it in the hoop-thing. Just as she was about to, I stamped on her foot. Job done, I figured.
But no. That wasn’t the right thing to do. I wasn’t meant to touch her, apparently. This had been left out of my instructions. I was sent off. I think it was meant to be in disgrace. I was just relieved, actually. Needless to say, netball and I aren’t great friends.
So it came as a great surprise to me how much I liked yoga. I now go to this excellent studio just around the corner from me. I love it. I’ve learnt a great deal about my body, and the teaching is really fabulous. (Most teachers appreciate good teaching when they see it – and I am no exception here.) This year, I’ve embarked on an in-depth course at the centre. It started last month, and will go until the middle of next year. And I decided that if I was going to do this thing, I was going to do it as best as I could. So I’m also going to a few scary weekly classes, where I feel totally out-of-my-depth. My comfort zone and I do not meet at any point in these classes. I decided that I would try everything to the best of my physical ability, and do it with a smile on my face, if I could.
Well, yesterday I was tested. I was asked to balance on my forearms and kick up backwards onto a chair and hold myself there. This, basically. It involved me supporting all my not-inconsiderable weight on my not-very-strong-yet arms, and doing a big backbend onto something I couldn’t really see. I know I am prone to exaggeration. But this next sentence is not. I was terrified. My whole body started shaking. I do not do physical stuff like this. I play the cello and teach music. This crazy stuff is not something I do, or have ever done.
The teacher (who has totally sussed me out) came over. ‘I will help you kick up’ he said. ‘I am frightened.’ I said (Big believer in admitting to fright.). ‘I will help you’ he repeated. ‘Get ready.’
Now, I’m writing this at my desk, so you’ll surmise that I survived this crazy pose. Actually, I did it twice. And the second time I didn’t shake. And it got me realising how many times I think I can’t do something, and yet actually, I could. And here’s another interesting thing – my cello playing has gotten very free and risk-takey (ok – not a word, but you get it).
So if you’ve made it to the end of this post (does anyone?) – here’s my thought for the day. Do something that frightens you today. Don’t be crazy about it, like jump off a cliff, or something like that – but do something that you don’t normally do. And then see what else happens. Did anything else change? It’s a good experiment, I think.