I love this time of year, as spring makes her first appearances and the crocuses and daffodils, which not so long ago existed only as roots buried in the soil, burst forth, expressing their fullness and their beauty.
It can be all too easy, I find, to want to stay cocooned within the safe embrace of the earth, so to speak. I am someone who by nature gravitates more towards my comfort zone rather than being one of life’s daredevils or risk takers!
A few weeks ago I decided to try out something new: a 5 Rhythms dance class. There was not exactly a big risk involved with this. And yet, on the day of the class, I found myself coming up with all sorts of excuses as to why I shouldn’t go: it was a bitterly cold night; I was exhausted; I’d had an osteopathic treatment for a minor back injury the previous day so surely it wasn’t a good idea to jump around barefoot on a hard floor (even though my osteopath had said it would be fine).
Despite my excuses, I made it there. And yes, I did feel a touch uncomfortable entering a room full of strangers, many of whom seemed to know one another. And I did feel somewhat awkward each time we were told to find a partner to dance with, particularly the time no-one picked me and I was the only one moving solo in a space filled with duos. But what far exceeded those moments of discomfort was the sheer joy of being invited to inhabit my body with such a total freedom of expression. I came away exhilarated.
This experience reminded me of how hard our minds will work to try and protect us. There’ve been many times in my life I've resisted delving into the unknown - teaching my first public yoga class, joining a writers’ group and signing up for Internet dating are just a few examples that come to mind. But almost without exception, I’ve been so grateful I did take the plunge and enabled the growth and expansion I would otherwise have missed out on.
I keep having to re-learn that when the voice of fear arises, while I can offer it compassion, it’s actually more often than not a sign that I need to do the exact opposite of what it tells me. For if we did always pay heed to it, we’d remain cosseted away somewhere secure, like the roots of those spring flowers, and never get to experience the full majesty and potential of what our lives can be.