Part 2: Following, While Meditating, I Decided To Buy a Vibrator.
When we’re kids, we all want to grow up, be older, and be taken seriously for a change. Then we become adults, where we dream of a minute in time where we can just let ourselves go, be taken wherever the wind blows, lacking all responsibility, all control, all weight… and know that we will be lead back to our feet.
The other day, towards the end of dance rehearsal trying to perfect a show for its big opening, I found myself back to square one, not just as a dancer, but as a person. As I nervously struggled to “get” probably the simplest part in the damn piece, I found my outer adult battling my inner child (and winning) while asking myself, why are the simplest tasks so often the most difficult to master? What on earth is this pain in my ass? And, come on (outer adult), can I please have a drink?
The Awkward Walk
I walked around with blatant anticipation of my coming collapse, performing a painfully unnatural descent that looked more like I tripped over my own stick up my ass (SUMA, let’s call it, as we will be referring to it a lot) than anything else. As I resisted my partner’s help more and more each time, I embarrassingly shared the ride on the elephant in the room pondering how a body could be so graceful at times and at others, such an awkward anomaly.
(Bear with me for a short dance analogy… I promise it will make sense)
“I don’t know … It must be something emotional” I responded when my director asked what my problem was. It’s really the simplest thing, I walk around the floor side-by-side my partner and slowly let my weight lean and collapse, let him catch me and bring me back up to standing, and then repeat a few times. You don’t even have to be a dancer to do it.
In fact, I’m pretty sure everyone at some point in their lives has participated in this same physical interaction, as the only difference between it and a drunkard stumbling into the arms of his designated driver on the walk from the bar to the car is the absence of a few too many shots of whiskey.
In reality, I know he’s not going to let me fall, as he’s certainly strong and attentive enough to catch me, and even if he did, the floor is only 5 feet down and I’m sane enough to know that it sure isn’t goin’ anywhere! For some reason, though, I just could not let myself go… let myself fall.
About that time, a couple tears snuck their way out – Not because the embarrassment, or because of the rigors, the uncertainties, the losses in my life currently; Not because of my missing big toenail, my pulled hamstring, or the pressure in my lower-back; The perfectionist in me wasn’t even upset that I just couldn’t seem to get this simple part right. Though these all present some challenge, none accurately represented my inner conflict or accounted for my tears.
“Just give me just one cocktail and I’ll be able to do it just fine!” … I only half-jokingly thought to myself.
Well, despite the fact that I obviously knew I had to learn how to do this one on my own (without inebriation), I decided it was time to confront the real SUMA, as the one in rehearsal resembled pretty plainly the one I carried fashionably around with me the rest of my life.
It wasn’t long before I realized what the problem was. I realized that I wasn’t scared of my partner not catching me, instead I was scared to fall. In fact, I wasn’t even scared to fall down, I was actually scared to trust myself to fall in the first place. I was facing a power struggle with myself, where losing control seemed even scarier than possessing it.
I took the next few days to evaluate this strange phenomenon, noticing how the theme extended far outside of the studio, and far past me as an individual. This initiated a scary, at first, but life-changing shift in my consciousness (aka my inner-idiot-radar).
Bringing my awareness to it, I started noticing SUMA everywhere. As I started to become aware of all of all the people, places, and opportunities that I either resisted or clung to, purely out of fear of trusting them or trusting to let them go, a few days became a few weeks.
I was bombarded by the realization of how powerful my child-trained subconscious was at manifesting patterns in my life, and watched the same thing happening all around me, and not just with me. As much as I didn’t want to, I began to understand what I had heard a million times but had always brushed off, that trust is everything, and most importantly that you can’t possibly trust another if you can’t trust yourself.
I began to see how episodes of depression, withdrawal, attachment and avoidance, were really resistance of faith in the ability to participate in the ever-evolving environment, and trust that I was safe and secure in it. As I started to notice how it felt in my body, I even began to realize how often my own illnesses and injuries had been a direct result of this destructive trend. It’s amazing how the body really does speak the mind.
I started decoding the mystery of all of the unsatisfying and unsuccessful relationships I have experienced and observed that led to my pessimist (which I previously viewed rather as “realistic”) views of modern-day relationships, seeing that they were routed in trust as well.
I started to see that what was veiled as not trusting something – whether that be another person, an idea, or a system set in place – is routed not in the “trustworthiness” of an other, but in the lack of trust in oneself to authentically interact with that other; To fluidly and harmoniously give and receive support without force or resistance. Perhaps, trusting that we are both capable and worthy of such a thing, is what we are so often missing (excuse me for the generalization, but I don’t think that I am alone in this…).
I also connected, kind of humorously, as I walked into a home and garden store the other day where I noticed that there were more space being used for things trying to “control” plants (insecticides, pesticides, etc.) than there were plants themselves, that the more we try to control our environments, the more out of control they seem to get. The same goes for ourselves.
We’ve all heard so many times “the only thing you can control is yourself.” Sure, I believe that statement is true, but I also believe we should not be aspiring to master such a thing. I think that control and trust are exact opposites, and that if we re-defined that affirmation by replacing “control” with “trust,” our relationship to ourselves, and therefore our relationship to our environment (the world), would change tremendously.
Call me naïve, but talk about changing the world!
Getting It Out and Re-learning How to Walk
In our numerically expansive, yet spiritually suppressive culture, where we seem to be jumping on the separateness bandwagon going in every direction … it seems that we have completely abandoned the idea of such trustfulness, let alone the embodiment of it. I truthfully don’t think it is destined to stay that way, though.
I noticed, as I started to surrender my control, I began to see huge differences in my life, in the studio, yes, but in my life outside of it as well. Not only was I not scared to fall, but getting back to my feet was much more graceful. I could walk forward a lot easier (figuratively and literally), and my ass sure feels a lot better without a stick up it.
In our adulthood, this battle between our outer adult and inner child seems to be a common source of conflict. We reflect on our pasts and become resentful, at times, of the responsibility and the rigidity we have inherited as adults; while at others, become resentful of the habits and patterns that we inadvertently developed that we may not be proud of, and search for the appropriate parties to blame.
A new technique.
Though many of our SUMA’s may not be there by direct fault of our own, which is important to recognize, so is our responsibly to re-condition them (which God knows is not an easy feat!). I say, scratch the fear of that responsibility …I, for one, am quickly learning that by learning how to trust and commit to the process, the results seem to take care of themselves.
Rather than dwelling on her vulnerability, I’d like to use my inner child’s creativity, authenticity and excitability, to enhance the wisdom and resources I have acquired as an adult. I’d like to use little Ms. Madison to fuel the flame, rather than to suffocate it.
As we all learn either out of love or out of fear, we sculpt the patterns in our lives. Which route we take is our choice.
So, I challenge you to next time something seems like a pain in the ass, check in with your SUMA and see if it’s really just telling you to trust yourself. I know I plan on it. Seems to be the key to just about everything.
Oh and now, the difference between me and a drunkard is no longer the stick itself, but the ability to get it out with no shots required