This last week on the second day of the new lunar cycle (Wed 11th August) I dropped back on my own 3 times. 9 months ago I was really struggling with this – You can read all about it here.
Overcoming the fear of dropping back is without a doubt the most difficult obstacle I’ve had to embrace and work through in my practice. In fact if you’d have said to me 4 years ago that I’d be able to drop back unassisted I’d have laughed at you. About a year ago teachers started telling me I was ready to do it but after a few attempts (landing on my head) I seemed to get stuck. I simply didn’t believe that I’d ever have the flexibility to do this seemingly impossible feat.
Recently my teacher Sarah has been gradually increasing the pressure, weaning me off the assisted drop back and only breaking my descent at the last second. Finally this week on Wed we were standing toe to toe and she gave me an encouraging little pep talk, telling me that I’d done the work and that I wouldn’t hurt myself. I didn’t feel I had an option to not at least attempt to drop back – even if just to prove her wrong by landing on my head… But to my surprise I didn’t. Sarah let out an excited whoop when she’d helped me back to standing. I was quite stunned. Then I did it two more times. I just did it without thinking.
Now, one of my fears about dropping back is that I would be able to do it once and somehow not be able to repeat it. So I was a little nervous the next day at practice. I also wanted to be sure that I could do it on my own without having my teacher’s support. In a way I felt like I didn’t quite trust or believe what had happened and that I still couldn’t do it without a teacher standing right next to me. But again I did it without any assistance 3 times. I began to feel a little more confident. Maybe, just maybe I thought, I can actually drop back now!
It was really after this second morning that I began to allow myself a sense of achievement. Of course successfully dropping back means that I’m now faced with learning how to come back up again on my own! But right now I don’t care. Nor am I a better person because I’ve dropped back unassisted, but right now I’m just damn proud of myself that I’ve persisted when I felt a seemingly insurmountable task lay ahead.
So a big thank you to all the teachers that have encouraged me along the way – Sarah, Shari, Nick & Hamish. But most of all a big dollop of gratitude must go to my partner Hannah who has patiently put up with my almost daily complaining for over a year.