Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Positives and Negatives

Positive:

I was walking down the street with my 15 year old son. We were coming up to a fenced yard that contained within it a large dog. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that the gate of the fence was open, and that the dog was running towards it to come and attack us. My arm calmly, quickly, and exactly reached out, grasped the top of the gate, and had pulled it closed before the dog had moved less than 2 feet. The dog crashed into the closed gate barking, and showing teeth.

I kept walking on calmly. My son looked at me with a face filled with AWE "Mom! That was so COOL! You are so SENSEI - like. You just did that so quickly, so relaxed.. like it was nothing. I didn't even see your arm move. "

I just smiled at him and said "When you are alert to your environment, it's easy to react quickly."

"That's just what a Sensei would say, Mom! You are a real black belt!" He answered. He was still walking with stars in his eyes from that moment all the way to our destination.

Negative:

Terror. Total heart stopping fear that makes you pace up and down in the room for minutes before you have to face that moment again. Panic.. telling yourself out loud "I can do this.. I can do this.. I must.. it's o.k... I won't get hurt.. Nothing bad will happen.. I WILL do this!" Then you get into position, and.. just stay there.. fear freezing your every breath. Thinking "I have to do this.. I chose to do this.. I'm going to do this.. all I need is to move.. come on.. one foot.. just one more time.. and then you've done it for today.. "

What am I talking about? What has brought me to the point of phobia?

Inverting upside down. Yep.. doing a head stand. No one else in my dojo is brought to tears by this exercise, but each successive time that I do it, the moment is worse for me. I have learned something though. I learned that when you are crying, and you are upside down, your nose feels stuffy like as if you have a cold. I didn't know that before.

It's part of my next belt rank test. I have to be able to hold a handstand for 3 minutes. HANDSTAND! I barely can get into the HEADstand position without panic. My stomach sinks as I watch the others doing it. My heart races.. and then me... me... oh gosh.. not me.

I turned to others asking for advice as to how to progress into inversion.. baby steps.. But I was told that there aren't any.. you just DO it. One minute you are normal, the next you are upside down. That's it. TERROR!

Inversion is actually very good for you, I researched it on the internet. Alot of yoga positions are upside down. Lots of health benefits.. This knowledge did NOT stop the panic though.

I won't fall down, and hurt myself. I'm only a couple of feet away from the ground, I can easilly catch myself, and control the descent. I even have my husband holding my knees so that I can land softly. Did this stop the fear? NOPE.. just as strong.. even building up each time that I practice at home. Blind hidden inner panic that starts as soon as even the suggestion of inverting is introduced.

AARGH! The stupid awful hidden fears within that just show up and make life unbearable for nonsense. Real fears that just control your mind, heart, and body for things that really have no dangerous aspect to them. I can't shake the fear.. I've faced it day after day, week after week, fought it, forced it, and hoped that through constant exposure it would die down and allow me to invert in peace. But NO! It strengthens.

The fear will not win. I have fought my fear of water, and I have won. I have fought my fear of elevators, and I have won. I have fought my fear of dentists, and I have won. I have fought my fear of sparring, and I have won. I will continue fighting this fear of inversion, and it's going down. For some reason it is a stronger opponent than all the other previous ones combined, but that will not stop me.

There is a song that I listen to which helps me in these moments. It is a contemporary Christian song called "The Voice of Truth". Seeing that in Kyokushin, I strive to live up to the "Ultimate Truth", this song really speaks to me. Here are the lyrics for those of you that might be interested:

"Voice of Truth"

Oh what I would do to have The kind of faith it takes To climb out of this boat I'm in on to the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is And He's holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name And they laugh at me Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed The waves they keep on telling me Time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

Chorus:
But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story The Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for My glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

Oh what I would do to have The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors Shaking in their armor Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand But the giant's calling out my name And he laughs at me Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed The giant keeps on telling me Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

Chorus:
But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story The Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for My glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

But the stone was just the right size To put the giant on the ground And the waves they don't seem so high
On top of them lookin' down I soar with the wings of eagles When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

Chorus:
But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story The Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for My glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe- I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

(Written, and performed by Casting Crowns)

7 comments:

Stephen Irwin said...

Nice posting.

Another angle:

They are both illusions created by the mind.

[Mat] said...

I hope that fears gets a knockout.

:)

John Vesia said...

Handstand? For nidan? You've gotta be kidding me. Why?

I understand that being in shape is a big part of the martial arts. A nearby school has a 3 mile run for its black belt candidates. Breaking is a requirement in some styles. For any belt exam, some calisthenics is called for.

But handstands? I wish I knew what to tell you. At any rate, good luck to you with this. In the meantime, in addition to your handstand regimen, you should start doing some seated overhead shoulder presses with dumbbells, twice a week. This routine will strengthen your deltoids, triceps, and trapezius muscles - all responsible for doing a good handstand.

supergroup7 said...

I like that different angle of thought sji.... It's so true that both are "perceptions" of the mind. Yet, the fear feels real.. just as real as if I was facing death, or torture... and my son's attitude of pride was very uplifting. It's really rare to gain the admiration of your teenaged child so easilly.

supergroup7 said...

No need to hope, Mat, I'm telling you.. that fear doesn't have a hope, it's going down. It may not be today, or tomorrow.. but it's not going to control my life. I will be the victor.

supergroup7 said...

The handstand is not for my Nidan test.. sorry about the confusion, John. I train in two different Karate styles: Shotokan, and Kyokushin.

The handstand requirement is for my Kyokushin rank test. We have to do a certain amount of physical requirements: push ups, sit ups, jump rope, etc. before we are allowed to do our rank test. I believe that Tae Kwon Do has similar expectations.

I've been doing some upper body weight lifting with dumbbells. I do a laying down shoulder press, and an angled shoulder press.. I didn't even think of doing a seated overhead shoulder press.. Thank you.. I can see how that would help me immensely.

Ruth said...

I find the topic of phobias and anxieties a fascinating one (probably because I have suffered from them, and still do but to a lesser extent than in the past). It is wonderful when you conquer a fear - almost worth having the fear in the first place, just for the satisfaction of defeating it. I had a dental phobia for years. I have conquered that (6 years ago) - in fact I went this morning and, yes, I was nervous but I DID IT! It doesn't matter what the fear is, if someone has a phobia, then conquering that phobia is a major achievement. No amount of reading, preparation, counselling or therapy can take you away from the fact that, at the end of the day, YOU have to come face to face with IT. I think that it becomes all about accepting reality: enduring what is real about that situation, for the period of time that it requires. I wonder whether there are two lessons that we all need to learn in life: one is how to accept and deal with reality; the second is how to cope with loss.

Thank you once again for inspiring me to think. This is one blog that will never be removed from my "list of favourites".

Best wishes to you.