Giving Myself Over

Almost every time I walk into Women’s Self-Defense class, I’m dealing emotionally with whatever the day served me — usually a cocktail of fear, disappointment, maybe some grief or mental or physical pain, often a racing mind that just doesn’t want to calm down. Sometimes I don’t want to face whatever will be served up in class — but what can I say? I kind of have to be there. So unless I’m contagious or injured I show up and start preparing. I decide to set aside everything that doesn’t have to do with class for the next hour or so.

Relaxing Into The Fall

I really think this can be a metaphor for our lives. There’s so much we think we can control. But there really is so little we actually do control. All we can do is relax into things and let them happen. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fight when we need to. I’m certainly not saying we should be passive. But when things are going out of control and there’s nothing we can do about it, instead of freaking out, getting upset, or throwing a fit, we should relax into it and let things happen as they will.

Snap Out of It, Dunham! A Moment of Self-Catharsis

Ah, yes, that moment of crisis that leads to decision making. The one where you have to just lay down and let that rock roll right over you, or get back up and keep pushing. If a 5-ton rock rolls over you, that can’t be good, right? Or maybe it’s good to get life over with and move on? Perhaps less dramatic, like throwing my hands in the air and saying “I give up, God — You do it” will stop this crazy cycle of pushing and pushing and pushing. After all, He’s big enough and strong enough to pick that rock right up and take it where it belongs. But why would He do that when making me do the work is much better and good? At least according to Him.

It Still Applies

Suddenly I was gripped around the neck, choking in a rear-naked hold. I was instantly a little girl again, helpless and scared. I wanted to cry. Rushing in then was a NO you WON’T and it was like I tucked the little girl behind me as warrior me emerged. I tucked my chin, dropped down, stepped on her foot and dug my thumb into the back of her hand, peeling it off. The next thing I knew she was on the floor. I stopped her. I actually defended myself.

The Importance Of Self-Care

I think the toughest concept to understand is how coddling oneself isn’t self- care. It’s actually destructive. We think indulging ourselves means we love ourselves. Society even encourages this behavior. The general consensus is, “If it feels good, do it.” But with no limits, doing what feels good to you can destroy you. That’s how addictions are born. Anything we do, particularly coddling behaviors, can become unbalanced.

Yes, You Can.

I’m a firm believer that in most cases anybody can learn to do anything given enough time, space, and creativity in both learning and teaching. When I encounter women who say “Oh, I could never do THAT,” what they are really saying is “I don’t have enough belief or confidence in myself to even try.” Getting people over that hump is my greatest task as teacher. I’ve seen the fear in the eyes of my partners as I’ve taken them through learning to grapple, hit each other (in sparring), taking throws, experiencing pain in techniques, and the falling techniques. I had to inspire belief in their own minds and hearts. I had to gain their trust and show them the way.

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