Do you remember what it was like going to the roller skating rink as a t(w)een (call out to my Midwestern roots peeps here!)?
The Friday night anticipation - planning what clothes to wear that glow during the "black light" songs, who you might skate with during the moonlight? Ahh, the memories.
One of the things that sticks out to me about those memories from junior high was how at some point in the evening, there was going to be a group effort to get me to kiss the guy I was dating. Now, this was such a mix - exhilaration, dread, embarrassment. . . What it meant for me to date someone in junior high, was that I no longer spoke to them, and my interactions with them were limited to weekend prank calls (with my girlfriends listening, of course). While I'm sure this was a relief to my parents, had they known, it was quite awkward on my end. This awkwardness was at its worst when the countdown to "kissing in the cloak room" came around. The dread would rise, I would avoid all eye contact, and wish to fall through a crack in the skating rink floor.
I bring this up because I recently went roller skating after a 30+ year hiatus!! It was a blast AND it was awkward, it was disjointed, I felt like a "newbie", I couldn't remember where the brake on the skate was, I kept picturing myself falling on my face, I felt self conscious . . . . all until . . . I FOUND MY FLOW!! I tuned all of that other stuff out, and focused on how I could glide around the rink, how I only needed to push off with one skate and just let the wheels roll. Then push off and let the wheels roll. Push off and let the wheels roll. I started noticing the (slight) breeze in my hair, the way my arms wanted to move in that same flow, how I couldn't help but smile and admire the other skaters - no matter their skill level.
We were all out there finding our flow.
This is the perfect analogy for life and trying new things.
Anytime we step into the new - we bring all the old stuff along (fear, vulnerability, awkwardness, memories of how it's gone down in the past, the what if's, the dread of falling on our face). It's just the way it goes at first. Pretty soon we gain more awareness of the old stuff and how it it's like our shadow - there - and yet depending on where we focus, we don't always see it. What if we used that old shadow stuff as fuel and guidance - affirmation that we're moving into new territory - into places that feel vulnerable? Our "stuff" rearing its head lets us know we're going the right way! And what if we weren't surprised by it, but thanked it for being there in all its glory, and kept moving into the new?
Because here's the thing about being in our flow - we usually have to go through a tight place in order to expand into flow. That tight place is fear, and when we get more experience with facing that fear and skating through it (or eeking through it, doesn't matter, just don't slow your roll), that fear doesn't have so much hold on us. We start to get how being in the new is worth it because it feels REAL, VITAL and ALIVE!
So strap on your roller skates, and meet me out on the rink. I'll be the one with a neon OP (Ocean Pacific, duh) shirt on, with butterflies in my belly and a big smile on my face, finding my roll, one push at a time!!