Fake It 'Till You Make It
The most important lessons that we learn on our journey are sometimes hard won. Not that they have to be. Difficulty seems to sweeten the medicine, as if we've somehow won a victory over ignorance, and the right to advance one step forward.
This pattern of learning is our modus-operandi, our method of behaving, and we use it until we no longer have a need. As always, it is our choice, to learn the hard way, or flow easily with the tides of life.
As a mid-rank Tae Kwon Do-ist, I strived to be as good as my body, mind, and soul could allow me. I had many limitations. Frustrating restrictions that caused more stress than they should have. This, of course, is all part of learning the martial arts. It is not the restrictions of the body, but of the mind that limit us.
Sparring was especially difficult for me. It was my greatest teacher. As in all healing, pain is released in increments, as deeply held injuries leave scars that are sloughed off in layers. The action of controlled physical contact with a training partner activated the vast amount of stored anger, resentment, frustration, and fear that I had held in my cells for years.
One of my life's lessons was to learn self-acceptance, to esteem who I am, and to be able to confront and defend myself against anyone that would deny me the right to exist completely in my truth.
My lesson began in the form of an abusive relationship while in my 20's. What is buried alive remains alive until it is unearthed and dissolved. The fears returned, and they were ugly. Memories of abuse and trauma caused conflicting fight or flight responses during training. I could be a ferocious she devil, or a timid as a baby bunny. It depended upon the level of trust for my partner, or our skill levels which defense mechanism would arise.
My partner on this particular occasion was a young man of the same belt rank. He was much better physically than I was, but that is not why I performed badly against him during prior matches. It was my lack of confidence that defeated me. I believed in my fear and my inferiority, allowing it to intimidate me into captivity.
In order for growth, we are sometimes placed into situations that, like the new butterfly who must use the act of breaking free of the cocoon in order to build its muscle strength or it will not survive, cause us to push against our own resistance. This was such a situation.
This student was my nemesis. Large ego, physically the best in the school, he used others as his own personal uke (practice dummy). He was well used by the Universe for my learning, as hopefully, I was for him.
My instructor knew my plight, how I feared sparring this man. I had been injured by him physically many times. She saw the light leave my body. If I couldn't leave physically, I certainly did in spirit! Standing behind me, she leaned forward to whisper in my ear, "Fake it 'till you make it". I turned, our eyes met, she with a knowing smirk on her face, gave a nod to commence the bout.
As the words sunk into my being, a transformation took place. I let go of the fear, of the outcome, of the investment I had placed in this moment in time. Pain is temporary, how much have I lived through before this and survived? Fear, once a paralyzer, became an advantage. Mushen (mind no mind) embraced me for the first time. If I couldn't believe I was every bit as good as this student, I most certainly could PRETEND as if I were.
The match took on a decidedly different tone and pace from our usual. In peace, I easily avoided his techniques, saw openings, and connected with my intended targets. Stunned, he could not wrap his mind around this change, which occupied him like a computer given too many commands. I took full advantage of his confusion.
I knew our relationship had forever changed. I knew I had changed. I had let go of the tiger and become the dragon. As my confidence grew, I was able to engage mushen at will. This was my lesson. When you rise on the backs of others you will fall when they stand. This was his to learn.
Learning how to behave like the person I seek to become , with integrity and truthfulness, I am confident in new situations. Charisma will only open the door, however, after that you'd better know your stuff! I adopt desired behaviors as true for me, and am assured that in whatever I choose, as I focus my intent, the faking becomes reality- with none the wiser.