On Sunday I bought a pair of used inline skates. I hadn't planned on practicing the same day, but the seller met me in the parking lot of a mall that was largely empty, so I thought it would be best to begin practicing since I've never skated (other than a couple of embarrassing attempts).
With more body awareness I thought it would be easier this time, but it was the same as always: standing up shaking, putting the weight on heels, almost falling backwards, etc. Then I thought: there must be something in all the body work I've done these years that will help me get at ease on skates, so I tried finding my center of gravity, and I understood I had to lean forward a little bit so that my feet wouldn't end up flying and my butt on the ground.
That day I crossed the parking lot, went into a park, and then did a couple of laps around a skate park.
The second day, after yoga, I put on my skates on the road that flanks the old port. I was a little bit more afraid of skating here, not because of obstacles or anything physical, but because there were a lot of people and practicing something you don't know how to do in public is always an embarrassing proposition. But I was able to go back and forth on the skates with a little bit more of ease and grace than the first time.
Today was the third day I practiced skating. I just came back home from yoga on my skates. This time I put my skates on the old port and skated along the Lachine channel. It was drizzling rain and not many people were using the bike path, so I thought it was a good time to practice.
The guy who sold the skates also gave knee, elbow and hand protections. I thought "pfffft these are for kids" and left them home. As I was contemplating a slope that went under a bridge, I sorely missed my protections. I reasoned that my bodily awareness is enough to know how to roll in the case of fall, but looking at the meanacing slope made me wish I was armored to the highest degree possible.
The sensation of fear was the same as I experienced when I wanted to join the dancefloor on Saturday, and it was around the same intensity, fear for the slope caused me a certain kind of excitement, whereas social situations cause me dread.
I've always thought I have a healthy relationship with fear, except when it's about social situations. Fear has a sort of sweet spot: if you lack fear you will get hurt, if you are too fearful you will stay stuck and do nothing. As I contemplated the slope I thought about how convenient it would be to have the same reaction to social fear.
I let gravity do it's work and I accelerated beyond my comfort zone, breathing deeply. I passed uneven pavement by planting the skates firm on the ground, as I reasoned that if I tried to hop over them the chances of falling were much greater, and I sped under the bridge like pro. I came through the other side, unharmed and victorious, and I appreciated how much fear makes us feel alive.
Something inside me is daring me to face my fears. It's like my soul is becoming bigger than the cage of the ego, and it's looking for space to grow. The only places remaining to grow are those into which I don't go because I'm afraid. Lean into things you are afraid and you will be rewarded with great treasures.