Pilates. I looked through the window of the studio and shuddered with apprehension. Those machines looked terrifying with their straps, springs, and handles. I entertained visions of myself upside down tangled in various devices with my shirt over my head and firemen rushing through the front door to save me. Despite this fear and my wild imagination, I walked through the front door.
At first Pilates seemed like just another exercise routine, but it has revealed the bubble of limited thinking that has shrouded me. When I look at the instructor contorted in a pose that I am then supposed to duplicate, my first reaction is, "yeah, right, there is no way I can do that without snapping my bones." But thanks to peer pressure of not wanting to look like a complete idiot, I give it a try and always surprise myself by twisting my limbs correctly. It is as if my body is rebelling against my mind's verbal abuse and I hear myself laughing in disbelief.
Pushing beyond my comfort zone used to be the norm for me. I am not sure when it changed, but somewhere along the way I started thinking in terms of limits. It doesn't really matter when it changed; all that concerns me now is breaking free of that pattern, breaking free of the fear that held me back from fully expressing myself.
And that's what I am getting at: the initial fear that creeps up right before I do something I really, really want to do. Once I push past that fear, the world greets me with open arms. And I am doing it! That's good news. Every day I become more like my true self again instead of the "also known as" version of Amber that has taken over for a few years.
Most people don't know that I could not write creatively after my husband died. It was as if all of the energy I used to create had rerouted itself into daily survival mode. Talk about an identity crisis! I thought, "great, my creativity died with Sean and being a writer is all that I know." It took over 2 years before it started coming back and an injury earlier this year created another hurdle on the road back to normal. Now I am interacting with fellow writers again, am back to freelancing, have written more manuscripts and am participating in National Novel Writing Month. I was terrified of getting back in the game because I was afraid I had lost "it", but am so damn grateful to be in the flow again.
After Sean's death, I allowed fear to whisper in my ear about all of the things I wouldn't be able to do anymore. Traveling with my kids out of the country was one of fear's constant echos in my head. But I rejected that voice. I travel out of the country alone with my kids and don't think twice about it anymore. Adventure did not die with my husband. Our first trip as a threesome rather than a foursome was to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico that first Thanksgiving after Sean's death. I admit I had some trepidation when the plane landed and the reality of being a single mom traveling in Mexico with a 7 and 9 year old set in; but that fear quickly passed as we walked into the tropical air. It ended up being one of the best vacations we have ever had and there have been plenty since that one. Thank God I didn't let fear limit me.
Limits creep up on a person and create an invisible shield against possibility. Each day I poke through a layer of limited thinking I hadn't known existed. Each day I bend a little further and my mind expands to allow a new perspective. Each day I surprise myself by conquering a new challenge. I don't know how long it will take to erase the limits or if that is even possible, but simply trying is freeing me in ways I never imagined.
Back to Pilates. Three months later, I am still walking through that studio door four times a week. I love it. Each class gets more challenging and I still have moments of thinking, "I don't think my body bends that way". Guess what? My body does bend that way...and my mind expands each time with the thought, "wow, I learned something new about myself. Again."
About Moxie Girl Musings
Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com