Well, the funny thing about life is that the universe tends to provide you with lessons as you go along. For example, I thought I had made such awesome progress this month! I'd singled out several things that snagged me and was learning to let them go, I was breaking old agreements, I was winning at life!
Then something happens.
At aikido last Monday night, I sprained my ankle. I went to attack someone (with their permission of course), I heard a loud popping sound, and BAM. I hit the mat like a brick. At first I was just shocked. Then the pain came. Then the anger. And then the fear...which lead me to several realizations:
1. I have a fear of mortality.I think anyone who has ever read the Jesse Sullivan books will know that I'm constantly trying to make death funny, probably to lighten my own terror of it. But actually, what this experience taught me was that it isn't death itself that scares me most. It's weakness, immobility, getting old and no being able to get around on my own. I know this makes me sound like an ungrateful twat to elderly people, but it's scary! And having a sprained ankle awakened all that. My mobility is limited, I'm worried about healing poorly and having problems later. What happens if I can't walk when I'm 80, or 70, or...
2. I am still extremely hard on myself.
While it is true that I've become more patient, more kind, and more loving to the people around me, I can't seem to do that for myself yet. When I sprained my ankle, my interior dialogue was brutal: "God this is all my fault! I'm so stupid! Who hurts themself when attacking someone?! I'm the worst ninja in the world! Who am I kidding, I was never a ninja to begin with! My blackbelt days are behind me. I'm not half the fighter I used to be--and I probably wasn't even a good one to begin with!"
And on and on it went. It didn't matter that sprained ankles are extremely common or that it happens to almost everyone who does any kind of athletic stuff. I forgot all of that as I beat the hell out of myself.
3. I'm not okay with physical weakness.
This is obvious to me and kind of mixed up with 1 and 2. But it comes down to the fact that in my past I was taken advantage of for being small and weak (yes, abuse) and so now if I even register pain I'm horribly hard on myself. Partly because being in pain is too closely related with tolerating abuse. YES, YES, YES, I know this isn't true. But you can't make the irrational fears sensible even to the knows-better mind.
So bottom line, hurting my ankle showed me that I still have a long way to go with "letting go" and that work will probably extend far beyond the month of January.