Saturday, October 1, 2011

Funny Business

So there I was in downward-facing-dog at my favorite yoga class revving up for a panic attack, feeling that familiar adrenaline rush creep into the solitary space of my yoga mat. That's what happens when I stand still after running myself in circles with my “to do” list. Or maybe it was the fact that this was the first week in a long time that I was able to get lost in my own space. And that freedom caused panic to set in.

Taking the advice of my yoga teacher to listen to my body, I curled up into child's pose and started to ground myself using the mediation techniques I learned in my pyschic mediation classes. Heart-rate still rising—fighting the fight-or-flight response that I was having to myself—it hit me. What if I didn't fight the panic, but gave in? What if I stopped resisting? Could it be any worse than my fear of losing it? 

So I decided to do it. Go ahead, panic, I told myself. Go ahead and jump into your fear, I urged myself. I dare you to feel what you're afraid of. And then things got funny. I expected a cold sweat, hyperventilation, or at the very least, some tears. But it didn't happen.

Photo by Shawn Keagy
There was something rising up slowly from inside, but it wasn't panic. It had a loopy feeling—like when I haven't had enough sleep and get slap-happy. Laughter approaching! part of me announced, the ends of my mouth rising up and my head turning side-to-side in disbelief. The short, rhythmic exhales of a chuckle arrived next. I put the perfect picture of myself as a woman with discipline and self-control into an imaginative bubble and popped it, watching the bits of its soapy circle splash out into the air.

So serious, that voice inside whispered with a wink. Not anymore, I told myself.

My Father always said that the greatest thing I could learn was to laugh at myself. I'll take that one better, Daddy. I don't want to be outside looking in at myself with laughter. I want laughter to be my essence. I could say that I knew this as a child, but I was a very serious child--carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. Over the last few years I have unloaded much of that weight I was carrying, but the habit of strain and pain endures. It's time to rescue my amusement.  

Anyone up for a game of “Ha!”?

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