Letting go of fear and looking ahead to Spring.
I’ve always felt I’m a fearful person.. in most situations I can upload my anxiety to dizzying heights. Whether that’s social meet ups, sharing my work, exploring alone in nature, worrying about my health, my son’s, my dog’s.. Perhaps if you’re reading this, you know how it goes. With the introduction of any adversity in my life, my default mode is anxiety.
In the summer of 2021 I randomly decided to start an adults gymnastics class as a beginner. It is hard work. In fact after the first session I couldn’t go for 4 weeks because I injured my back – I expect my spine is not used to bouncing and leaping! Or at least it wasn’t then. But I did go back.
To begin teaching me somersaults, my patient instructor asked me to do 3 bounces along the length of the trampoline culminating in a somersault on the third bounce.. onto a crash mat, over a very soft pit. Very safe for a novice like me. But I noticed as I reached the 2nd jump my legs would become all wobbly and my body would fill with the incapacitating feeling of fear. And then I’d have 1/2 a second to decide to either believe the fear and stop or to let it be there and jump anyway.
When I am able to jump anyway, despite the sabotaging sensation of fear, I notice a quiet fierce determination nudge a little of that fear away.
It led me to realise that one of the reasons I love wild ‘swimming’ (a more accurate description is a dip and a squeal) so much is because despite taking all the necessary safety precautions, as I enter the freezing water my body and mind are screaming GET OUT YOU FOOL! ‘Your heart will stop’, ‘You’ll faint’, etc etc.. But if I step forward anyway, deeper into the water.. my mind and body do continue to scream at me, but my heart keeps beating, I don’t faint and I never have in the 18 months I’ve been outdoor swimming.
Instead I get that lovely endorphin post swim high, or the achievement of my body learning something new (a somersault as I near my 40s!!). I think sometimes the presence of fear actually means the opposite.. don’t turn back as there is something to be gained here.
Recently I’ve noticed that after I swim I feel the most inspired to write. So thats where I am now, sitting on the rocks with a hot tea, watching the raging winter river, so full after the immense rain only Hebden Bridge gets so regularly. It’s early morning, the sky is blue and the sun is meandering his way through the valley, touching the tree tops. And I’m thinking of Spring and how she feels like a fresh start. The opportunity to let go of fear as we step forward into a new season. In Winter we reflect and in Spring we grow.
Winter once told me.
I can see fear in the wideness of your eyes.
In the way you hunch
trying to hide.
How you keep looking back yet never ahead.
Fear is here, would you like it to stay?
Maybe through Spring despite the promise she brings,
Into the flourish of summer,
hide in the shade of a tree.
Perhaps into Autumn,
shield your face from
of the leaves.
Returning to Winter.
Another year gone.
And Winter asks again, would you like it to stay?
I’ve made a small collection of these porcelain daffodil wall flowers. Perhaps the perfect gift for yourself or a friend as a reminder of Spring and the promise she brings. Leaving our fears behind for Winter to freeze, because we’re heading for the plentiful growth of Spring.