Writings

Nervosity


Tonight I am teaching a dance ws here in Amsterdam. Have to admit that I feel a bit nervous. It's been some time since I put my name to anything related to dance outside the comfort zone of The Algarvean wilderness.
Nervosity
Nervosity is one of those things that puts you right at the razors edge of practice, it's qualities are simultaneously awakening and paralyzing. It's very much up to you how it will all play out, the spectrum of heightened emotions and sensations requires you to find balance in a very real way and practicing right there in your very own emotional war zone is incredibly revealing. The antennas of awareness open fully in response to the semi fight or flight state and if you are able to remain equanimous in the midst of the battle between valuing and devaluing yourself, you are rewarded with a clearer, more sharply focused experience.

Years ago, when the stage was my field, nervosity was the indication of a great performance, the more bubbly I would feel beforehand, the sharper my focus had to be and as a natural result the ensuing performance would shine just a little brighter, probably in such a subtle manner that the audience could not really tell the difference, but from my perspective the heightened quality of experience was clearly felt. Presence is a mighty thing and the times you feel it, you really feel it and that was probably part of the reason why I fell in love with yoga when it came my way. It offered that same possibility of presence without needing the watcher.
The way I deal with nervosity and performance anxiety these days is rooted in trust. Not only trust in myself and my abilities, but trust that regardless of the outcome of what makes my belly buzz like a bottle of Perrier, all that is lived has equal value. 'Failures' although more negatively felt, are as important as the 'successes' we enjoy. Leading focus away from whether you will recive praise or blame, whether you'll be feeling pride or shame, to being present, focused and let whatever comes come, offers the experience you're after. That same feeling of satisfaction that you think is only possible through being valued favourably by others.

I once saw an episode of Oprah, where Pema Chödrön was her guest. Oprah asked Pema something along the lines of what she felt was important for kids to learn and Pema answered that we should be taught how to fail. Fail with a sense of humour. Not use it to erroneously equate failure with lesser value. Perhaps not the easiest practice coming from our dense Judeo-Christian history of guilt and mea culpa, but one that screams out in it's relevance. So many times the reason we don't do what we'd like to do, why we don't always move in the direction of our dreams, is because we're scared to fail. All truly is well, and things not going the way you planned gives room for creativity and courage and presence if you let it.
Nervosity is a ticklish invitation to go just a tiny bit beyond comfort and simultaneously the growing pain of exploration. I will try to keep those words in mind as I step on the dance floor tonight. Should be fun.

There will not be a 'Dhammalogue' this weekend, we're busy teaching tomorrow and Sunday, but our conversations will return again next week, from back in the comfort zone of waves and the warmth of the sun which I'm so looking forward to return to. There's simply no place like home or like we say in Sweden: 'Borta bra men hemma bäst.

 

Writings

Welcome to our writing where we will share our thoughts and practices with you.

Latest posts