RISK OR POSSIBILITY?
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “risk” I often feel a physical reaction in my body. My stomach clamps down just a little, my breath stops or becomes shallow, and my shoulders and jaw tense.
Upon looking it up in Wikipedia I found there were two definitions that drew my attention:
1) “Risk is the potential of losing something of value. Values (such as physical health, social status, emotional well being or financial wealth) can be gained or lost when taking risk resulting from a given action, activity and/or inaction, foreseen or unforeseen.”
2) “Risk can also be defined as the intentional interaction with uncertainty.”
The first definition puts the emphasis on loss by the very first sentence. It makes up for it in the last sentence, but you are left with the overall feeling of potentially “losing something”.
The second definition makes it an effective action that you take with full attention and letting go, or surrendering, into the relationship with uncertainty. This could also be called trusting what is unfolding.
This last brings more spaciousness in the body, whereas the first one could provoke the reaction of clamping down preparing for “battle with the powers that be”. A relationship with uncertainty seems to exist every moment of our lives no matter how much we might wish to control things. It could be seen as the very nature of existence.
Having dedicated the 66th year of my life to “living fearlessly” during a ritual standing in the waters of the Pacific ocean in July, the ever present “risks” are now seen as a vehicle for opportunity and possibility. That isn’t to say that my old patterns of “security” and “survival” don’t show up, but at least they have a louder voice that I can hear versus the stealth maneuvers they have done in the past.
An example of this showed up this past Sunday morning during my Gentle Yoga with Keith at Dharma Yoga here in Austin. Now this class could be seen as a “risk” unto itself as one never quite knows what the focus of the class will be or what the practice will hold. Rather like life…..thank you Keith!
This day the class was focused on risk and exploring edges…. was definitely not all that gentle, and supplied a multitude of opportunities to choose to move into edges or “stay safe”.
The peak of the class for me was in a two partner assist where we were to choose between two poses to be assisted and supported in. One was something that I knew I could do easily and though may take me into some new territory, was definitely not a “risk”.
The other one was a pose that I hadn’t done for years as it takes upper body strength to push into from the floor, which I have let go of as I have aged. There was no going back and forth between the two in the decision making process.
I knew immediately that the assisted wheel (from standing into a backbend arch coming down with hands on the floor) was to be the one by the energy flow that moved through me when I considered them.
As I felt my two assistants attempt to support me in the best way they knew how I put my total attention on the movement of my spine and the breath. Suddenly there was another pair of hands assisting (my teacher Keith) which created spaciousness for me to celebrate coming into this pose with relative ease and mindful movement.
In those moments a space opened up within. It wasn’t only being in the pose, but the additional after effects from trusting the moment to moment movement of my body, the breath guiding me, and the hands and hearts assisting me.
The joy that I felt and the opening of spaces within spilled over to my assistants who greeted me with brilliant smiles as I came up out of the pose.
Now as some of you know I practice as a yoga teacher/therapist thus in this “risk” I was asked to move out of the “personal” (proving that I know what I am doing, the realm of good/bad, right/wrong, etc..) and instead trust that the unfolding would take me where I was to go.
Let’s just say that is a MUCH LARGER space to play and blossom in!
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Gaye Abbott, RYT assists individuals to dissolve the layers that cover the natural innate blueprint we came in with and reveal, through a combination of evolutionary energy work, Jin Shin Jyutsu, yoga therapy and breath re-patterning, the larger purpose and co-creative expression that we are here for.
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