Why Men Climb Mountains…er…Maybe…

August 5, 2009

Like I frequently do, yesterday, I had a bit of a moment…

They happen with such frequency and pace here that my life is rarely (if ever) truly dull or monotonous…even when Tuesday afternoons string themselves together in hideous blocks of time…

Usually, there is always something I inevitably end up hurling myself into, and work has provided so many opportunities for this. In particular, having to swallow my anxiety and relate to new people is something I have struggled with. I don’t come off as particularly shy but I really find it quite difficult to talk to new people…My mind loops a familiar audio and panic rises from behind my solarplexis filling my throat  and stomach. It’s ridiculous…it’s a massive part of my job…having to be genki and friendly and I was foolish in many ways for choosing a career that would make me so anxious, all of the time. 

 I wonder if that panic and anxiety has anything to do with my physical condition? Weight gain, acne – they are all symptoms associated with stress and I was very stressed for a very long time.

 However, duress forces us to change. And to a large extent, I have. I’m learning to listen to the panic but not be consumed by it… I used to die with the weight of my whole body screaming “I can’t; I can’t; I can’t!”,  but this past year, I had to … and eventually I did and that has opened me up to  phenomenal change. Being forced to do things that are utterly abhorrent to you is something that is very, very good for you. I firmly and wholly believe that. Life has to get choppy,  I need that pressure and force of change in order to quietly and gently relax into growth. And it has to be both…ugly fissures appear in who I am if I forget to relax into it…The pressure is too great if you push back; kicking and screaming, saying  “No!” until you are red-faced and heartbroken.

Learning to fall into the soft-darkness where you have nothing and yet know that is enough in itself, is half of the art of change. That space, located somewhere amongst the instincts to fight and those which tell us to give up, is tough to find in those moments of pressure…but important nonetheless and I don’t think I would have a clue where to find it if it wasn’t from practicing meditation and yoga with such frequency.

So – what has all this to do with my day yesterday? Where, as  usual, I had a daft-hippy moment of “enlightenment”. Well, in reality it wasn’t a moment per se but nevertheless yesterday I had to do something horrible. A trainer came from my companies’ head-office and watched all my classes and evaluated me.

It was shit.

I can’t believe I was chosen to do this job because seriously, I don’t have half the ego needed to survive the evaluations put upon teachers in general and when I was in England I was even more shy and nervous than I am now. Being watched, observed and judged is my idea of of HELL.  HELL. So why they chose to give me this job is BEYOND me.

Anyway,  I dreamt about the visit the night before – my whole body was on edge. In the dream I was yelling and kicking and screaming and it was more of a nightmare really. Like I said, I have vivid dreams when I am stressed but sometimes I have nightmares too. This was a nightmare…I woke up shaking, I tried to eat breakfast and couldn’t, I went out for coffee and dropped all my change on the floor my hands were shaking so much… I came back to my apartment and lay on my vinyl floor in a pool of sunlight, riding waves of nausea and staring at the white ceiling. I felt awful. And all the while in the back of my mind an angry resentful voice kept saying “You weren’t meant to do this on your own…he was supposed to be here and he’s not”Pouting, like the small child that voice is, she yelled “That’s not fair!”. Oh small voice…it’s OK, you’re stuck being a child and you always will be a child so I can hardly become angry with you. But you are becoming increasingly redundant in my life and even yesterday, even though you wouldn’t stop screaming, a stronger, harder, woodier core was decidedly more focused on the task at hand. I had to do it. And I did it. Fuck me I was sweating blood by the end, I don’t think I managed to eat once throughout the course of the day but the weight of her eyes on my every move was as transformative as I thought it might be. And afterwards…I sort of   proud. I did it. I went home, made a banging supper and then rocked my way through a mad crazy workout. And i didn’t feel like crowing, or like showing off…not at all. There was just this steady knowledge that I had done it and would do it again. All of it. The nausea…the anxiety…that voice would scream and yell but eventually, as a result I would grow a little more. It was like all my stomach muscles were in contraction, pulling me into myself. I could feel that the matrix of air particles around me was more drawn together and I could glimpse the outline of myself and it felt rather good :)

So that is why, I have come to believe that not getting your own way, not having fun and being disappointed are some of the most important feelings I’ve experienced since moving to Japan. If you slog it out – all of it – you end up with a vision of something quite reassuring.

Right, that’s enough bloody mooning about now, off for a practically minded shower, thoroughly a-thiestic coffee and a logic sandwhich. Far too much high faluting nonsense for one day :)

Love loads,

Oh, P.S – To follow  – more Pictures from the Beach…Whitney let me play with her camera and spanky new Lensbaby Lenses and it was SO much fun!




* A visit from an ex-friend fell through…you see.


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