lions and tigers and bears, oh my

It was an instant and easy answer for me, a simple “No, thank you”- a straightforward and poised response, informed by a deep and assured knowledge of self – my strengths, my energy, my needs, my preference, my fears, even. There was no lamenting, no deliberation, no anxiety. I was at ease in a way that I often am not in my more people-pleasing stature. I even joked that I was modeling resisting peer pressure.

And I was fine, for awhile, watching the others make choices different than my own. Being a witness without judgment – of self or the other – creeping in.

Of course, soon enough it slipped in that open door. Was there something wrong with me that I didn’t want to do this thing? Was there something wrong with them? Was there something wrong with what was being asked – some contrived measure of the human heart?  Was I merely defending my own weaknesses and failings with such judgments?

And without another person saying a word, I noticed in my chest and my belly the same sensations I do whenever I am feeling judged as unworthy, when I am feeling inadequate, when I am feeling alone and rejected, when I am feeling as if I have failed- in being a good woman, when I am second guessing myself and my choices, when I am feeling Shame. And, because the feelings were so familiar in me, I wondered if this is the same thing I do to myself whenever I say “no’, whenever I set a boundary that is simply right for me.

The invitation was intended to offer an opportunity to challenge oneself, to push one’s limits and, so, to learn something about the fear that holds you back, I suppose. And I suppose I became familiar with the face of my fear after all… without needing to strap on the harness, scale 50 feet, or jump.

It was a valuable experience after all (though I still maintain that it has the potential to be harmful to young persons, girls in particular, who may, no matter how carefully the proposition is offered, be made to feel isolated and ashamed of their own saying ‘no’) , a good connection to make, a new body-mind awareness. As I integrate the experience, as this particular self awareness takes root, might I recognize in this feeling in my gut when I am feeling shame for my own needs, preferences, and desires, my own choices, and my own right to say ‘no’.  This is a groundbreaking (speaking of taking root) body wisdom to discover for one such as me whose boundaries have been pummeled so that they are easily crossed.

Might I also learn to recognize where it is in my own body that I do the judging of myself as inadequate and so allow the crossing to occur? Then thank her for trying to protect me from whatever it is that she fears (Being alone? Rejected? Punished? Unwanted or unloved?) and reassure her that I will respond to her with Love. Just think how high I might climb ?


climbing tower

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