My words are strangled by the plumber’s snake that has wrenched it’s way down my vocal chords choking out any semblance of thought. Words strung like a pearly necklace leaving students hitched forward on their yoga pillows does not happen. Fragments, unfinished thoughts spewed out in five different directions leaving me here at the keyboard proving my worth and standing in my voice. My voice was choked in the circle of souls that awaited my story.
Earlier that evening, I ran a play by play on how my first night of yoga school would go. There would be introductions of some sort, the panic began to pervade within. What am I going to say about myself? I of course, former drama and writing teacher aka shadow artist, run through my intro a few times before class. Fast forward hours later, our teacher shares her story that is delivered with poise and panache. Sharing starts to the right, “Oh gosh I’m second,” I follow someone young and beautiful. Intense heat floods my throat and my neck and between my shoulder blades. I am not in my body, I am running inside my head trying to talk about myself, and I don’t know what to say. This aint no Disney story.
Had I been teaching a class, doing something I’m good at, I may have said my journey is like one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost where he says:“And if you’re lost enough to find yourself by now, pull in your ladder road behind you and put a sign up CLOSED to all but me. . . But I don’t say that. I don’t even know what I say. Too much of everything, a lot of half thought. No clear beginning, middle, or end. Chalk my intro to self as it up as a hot mess! Finally, my turn is over and the plumber’s snake leaves me wriggling with shame as it worms its way out of my throat. Class continues to a close and during the breathing exercise on the floor, I hear, “What are you doing here, get out of here, get out of here.” As my breath finally brought me into the body, my fear was trying to force me out physically. We get up to leave, and as I grab my winter coat I make fun of myself to another student. I bully my voice.
I get in my car, go home. What in the hell happened to me in there? Why did I have a vice around my throat. I was being me. But I had to share my story. I’m not my story. I am love. I am compassionate action. I am the wind that whips you into direction. I am becoming, and I am here. I am vulnerable. I am fierce. I am you. I am me.
Working with energies all day, puts me in a position to unfurl the root of this fear of having the spotlight on who I am. As a former actress and theater teacher, I loved playing a part or being a character. I realized my first night in yoga school uprooted a deep anxiety of being beheld by strangers. I’d rather behold another. As everyone talked I did. I could feel their story, washing up against me stirring emotions in my heart, feeling connected. But my story, I couldn’t share. My deep childhood shyness emerged and I felt small and afraid, surprised at how fear snatched my words to the world.
Later in the evening the shame and incredulousness visit. I know better than to entertain these bitches. I thank them for knocking on the door, but I don’t let those girls in. I know better. I know I am not small, nor am I afraid. I slay fear daily. I am a warrior on the battlefield of life, and my ego wonders how it can prove it later to the group, so I’m not dubbed the class dummy. I laugh at my own mind’s dramas and wash away the evening in a crystal bath, grateful at the opportunity life provides us to release fears that bind us back.