At the beginning of last week, I finally broke in kickboxing. Something had happened at home the day before and the emotion emerged in my Tuesday morning class when I just couldn't get the moves.
The instructor, of course, thought I was upset because of the kickboxing and gave me extra encouragement for the rest of the class.
It was the first time I hadn't enjoyed kickboxing.
Over the next few days I found myself reluctant to return to the dojo. I let the days pass. I kept telling myself I'd go the next day but didn't. I told myself it was because I was busy getting everything in the flat ready for my imminent departure. I made excuses to myself and did my best to believe my own lies.
But I knew they were lies. Excuses. I knew, actually, a little seed of fear had been planted and I was scared to go back to class.
Scared to see my classmates.
Scared to see my instructor.
Scared I might cry again.
Afraid they thought I was a weak, pathetic idiot.
So I let the days go by. And I thought about maybe not going back at all. I only have a week left in London now so what difference would it make if I stopped going a week early?
Physically, not much.
But mentally? Mentally, not going back would have been huge and I knew it. I knew not going back would mean that seed of fear inside me would only grow stronger and become a 'thing'. It would become another story in my head that prevented me from doing similar things in the future.
So yesterday, finally, I got my stuff ready and headed out of the house. Even whilst on the tube on the way there I thought about turning around and coming home. But I didn't. I went. I did the class.
And it was hard. I was surprised at how much that story and fear had already taken hold. I could feel how nervous and unsteady I was on my feet. I could feel my arms and hands physically shaking as I held them up to my face.
But it got easier as the class went on and by the end I was sweaty and happy just like I have been at all the previous classes. And now I'm ready to go back again and again and again.
Failure? It's a certainty.
Screwing up? It's a certainty.
Things not going according to plan? It's a certainty.
Crying in your kickboxing class? Well, if you're me, it's a certainty.
And every time these things happen, there's a choice to be made. Do you let it become a thing? Do you let it stop you moving forward? Do you let it take root as a fear that'll only get stronger over time?
Or do you get back to it? Get back on the horse? Crush that seed of fear? Re-programme your brain with a new experience?
Every time life throws things like this at you it's either shrink back or move forward. Fear or courage. Contraction or expansion.
It takes guts to keep moving forward when life keeps knocking you back. It takes courage to keep getting back on the horse when you're not sure how smooth or bumpy the ride's going to be. It takes heart to keep showing up when showing up is painful.
But you do it anyway. You do it because you're committed to your growth. You do it because you refuse to live controlled by your fears. You do it because you know that on the other side of crappy is something better, even if it takes a while to show up.
A lot of life is getting knocked down.
And you know the best thing about that?
There's a never ending stream of opportunities for you to find the strength to get back up. And that right there? The finding the strength and getting back up and moving forwards? That's growth.
And in case you haven't already heard me say it (and I do say it pretty much ALL the time), growth is what you're here for.
Find your horse. Get back on it.
Love and courage,