Being brave.

5 brave* things I’ve done within the last 6 months:

1. Slept by myself outside in the middle of nowhere** in my tiny tent near the sea (I could hear it!), the forest, a cave, and lots of unknown noises.

I could also feel mice moving under my body. Quick moving and surprisingly fat mice. I don’t fear mice at all, I used to save them from our cats at home. The noises they made though… And then the wind. How it moved the tent, how it moved everything around. The darkness and even worse, the semi-darkness, the half-light, the shadows. But also: the Milky Way above. The Southern Cross, the Scorpion. The short but unforgettable moments without fear, full of freedom.

2. Swam in the deep cold ocean with wild, wild dolphins.

Big dolphins actually. Did you know how big they are? Well… bigger than me. I was worried about getting seasick, hypothermia, drowning and most of all losing control. Although I can swim now (thanks again, M. for showing me!) wavy water scares me. The dolphins, however, were – and I really didn’t expect that – the friendliest creatures ever. I was singing for them. Nonstop singing, underwater sing-humming. I liked my under water voice, they adored my underwater voice. We were swimming in endless circles around each other. I was singing the first melody that came into my mind and I just didn’t stop. The melody was – my friend Marco told me that horse-laughing on the way back – the German national anthem.

3. Went to a Vipassana meditation course where for 10 days I didn’t communicate with anyone but myself.***

The noble silence (that’s what they call it) itself didn’t scare me. What could show up in that silence – that scared me. The deeply suppressed shit, you know? Wake up bell at 4 o’clock, 10 hours and 15 minutes of meditation every day. I was scared of my mind, of my feelings, of whom I could meet in that silence. I was scared of myself.
What I experienced then was scary. It was more fascinating though. I discovered the genderless side of myself (again). My posture changed, my bearing changed. Expanded hips, legs, chest. I was less woman, more human.****
I rediscovered my monkey mind. Chatting all the time all that shitty nonsense. embarrassing shitty nonsense. Shut up. SHUT UP! Please, shut up just for one moment, just a second, please shut up, please.
I learned that I can control my mind. That I can – I really can – control not only my behaviour but also my feelings and my thoughts. I hated it. So much responsibility. No more excuses why I act like this and think and feel like that. Uncomfortable responsible grown-up shit now. I was about to quit.
But I stayed. I discovered that I’m craving things I don’t want to crave and repelling things – well, let’s face it, not things but feelings – I should accept.
I learned that everything I experience is immediately connected to a sensation in my body. So when I’m craving something, I’m actually craving pleasant body sensations and when I’m repelling something I’m repelling unpleasant body sensations.
With my newly focused mind I could feel these sensations. Everywhere, on and under my skin. On the part between my nostrils. On the part between my toes. In the space between the bones of the skull I had when I was a baby. The sensations I could feel have always been there. Biochemical processes and reactions every single moment. I scanned my body over and over.
I realised that every sensation will pass. No matter if it’s a tickling, prickling, pulsing, painful or a very pleasant sensation (Oh God, very pleasant indeed), sooner or later – and sometimes quite a long while later but always – it will pass. I realised that every feeling, thought and experience will pass. I one day, will pass too.
I learned that there is a difference between understanding all that and believing in it or experiencing it. Understanding and believing is nice, it just doesn’t change anything. Experiencing is hard, painful, overwhelming satisfying and… changes something.

4. Joined the Acrobatics & Circus Club.

Man, that was real hard! I heard about the club quite late, I arrived at the third class and that meant: meeting strangers who already know each other AND only speak English AND already had practised together.
I was standing outside, staring through the window into the hall. No worries, I told myself, you have a good connection to your body, you can’t do a handstand, that’s right, not even on the wall, right, you’re not good at stretching either, you’re not very flexible, true, but remember the connection!
I opened the door, said hello to the people, paid 5 dollars (for the whole semester, that’s a good price) and then: watched, listened, practised, fell on my butt, got a shiny bruise that lasted for three weeks, practised again, trusted, put my hands into someone elses outstretched hands, my head between his high outstretched feet and jumped up, did a handheadstand on this guy, quite high, my feet to the sky, very straight and only then dared to open my eyes. Back on the ground I laughed like a maniac.
(I fell again two weeks later, landed on my head, got a concussion. I learned that I can trust, that I can exceed boundaries and that I can’t be careless.)

5. Let someone come close again. Physically. Emotionally.

I’m good at connecting with people, that’s not the problem. The problem is I’m too good at it. I tend to lose myself. I become “we” too much rather than staying with me. I tend to fulfill others needs. I want them to like me. Subconscious routines, hard to break. I’m still practising.

5 is a good number. No need to add a 6th thing. 6 brave things I’ve done – I mean, that doesn’t sound round, that sounds a bit weird, that sounds unbalanced, in fact. 5 is alright, 5 is 5 fingers, one hand. High 5 – bam!

The 6th thing though – in case I’d like to have 6 things – would be:

6. Shared the link to this blog.

* Brave because I was scared. You can’t be brave without fear cause then it’s not braveness.

** It was along the Hillary Trail in case someone is interested. Up-to-date information here (about closure etc.), German information (with pictures) here.

*** Except from talking to the teacher for up to 5 minutes every day because I felt so sad/angry/confused/outraged – and on the last day – thankful.

**** No bra for 10 days. No need to appear in a nice way to someone else. Before the course I thought I wouldn’t care that much about my (female) appearance but in fact I did. And then: I loved my wild eyebrows, my androgynous angular face, my unwashed hair, my hairy body, my sloppy style. I. Was. So. Sexy. From the inside.

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New vocabulary: semi-darkness, half-light, drowning (I’ve already learned that, just can’t memorise it, probably some trauma…), wavy, creatures, humming, horse-laughing, national anthem, posture, bearing, expanded, repelling, space between the bones of the skull, tickling, overwhelming, stretching, shiny, outstretched, exceed boundaries, good at, good at, good at (not in!). So many new words. It’s working, I’m learning English!
That’s also a nice word collection for an insanely good poem. Well… maybe someone else could write that.