It’s a weird thing writing a blog… with each new post I am never quite sure where it will take me. I usually write the title and then pray to the internet gods as my fingers fly that it will somehow all make sense. If I’m lucky it might make someone smile, and I can always count on making me dear mum cry… but she’s easy that way. Earlier in the day, I was pretty positive that I would be writing about my new favorite toy(thanks to my bro and the rents):(Doesn’t Luna look thrilled as I tell her she will be trained to ride on the front of this beauty????)
However, as the day wore on and life took its usual turns I found myself at my pad with a friend talking about the passing of her best friend; her father, in August. This conversation hit close to home for me as my father has been ill with heart disease since before I was born. He has survived three open heart surgeries and is now on permanent dialysis. I have lived in the shadow of fearing for his life for most of mine.
Not sure that I can write a post about skateboarding after a conversation of this nature. Or can I? There is certainly very little connection between the two. Ah, my but you learn quickly young grasshopper… as previously discussed… everything is connected. We are all but spokes in the wheel of life and at the beginning of each of us you will find the hub, the foundation that grounds us all. When I went out to my back alley to get on that skateboard for the first time today, I was literally frozen with fear. What if I can’t do it? What if I fall? What if I really really hurt myself? What if? What if? But what if… I’m brilliant? What if I have this crazy natural born instinct for skateboarding and it’s taken me all this time to find it?? I mean probably not, but what if!! I quickly realized that my fear was really about the UNKNOWN. If someone had said to me, “okay here’s how it goes; you fall to the left, hit your knee, scrape it up a bit and you’re back up on your way.” I’d be like HELLZ YEAH. It’s the same thing with my anxiety attacks. It’s the unknown that used to get me. There have been panic attacks where I literally thought I was dying. done. no air, can’t breathe, death. Until one day, someone explained to me that what happens is that you get a flight or fight response when there is no reason to go fisticuffs or flee the scene. So basically there’s an overproduction of adrenaline, you start hyperventilating and you feel like you can’t breathe. This makes everything start to go crazy ie; light-headedness, heart palpitations,chest pains, ie; BIG FAT PANIC ATTACK. Well, sheesh… once I knew what the hell was going on it made it much easier to tell myself to get a grip and slow down my damn breathing.
And then there’s death. The big daddy of the unknown. And the irony is that it is the one thing, the only thing, that we can be certain will happen in our lifetime. And yet many of us act as if we are in disbelief that it will. Newsflash: it’s life people, we’re not getting out of here alive. Aristotle said that “To die will be an awfully big adventure”. And what if it is? What if it is one big party?(I choose to believe YES. YES IT IS.) What if you arrive there and everyone who went before you is blitzed out of their minds, high on Cumulus Cloud ganja telling you that you’ve been missing a paaaaaaaaaaaaaartay!(and if that’s not your speed then reread the last sentence as “what if it’s one big sunset with a picnic and one of those really cute williams-sonoma fully stocked picnic baskets and the biggest most delicious homemade chocolate cake and every night you have your pick of a previously deceased genius famous person to share said cake with and there’s a jazz quartet and they know all your favorite tunes and… uh you get the point.) It certainly would be easier to send our loved ones off if we knew exactly where they were going. But if we knew that, then how would we live? Would anything really have meaning? Would memories hold the same weight? Would we take the people who matter to us for granted? Because of the unknown… we get to see the gift of everything in our life. Death highlights how fragile and transient life truly is. What’s even more amazing is the beauty that we can find in that fragility. And believe it or not, there is freedom in it too…
And this is where I bring it back to my skateboard…. Today in my meditation, I focused on letting my fear arise. Remember Franklin D. Roosevelt’s quote: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”? I’m not afraid of what could happen skateboarding… I am afraid of the fear. I’m afraid of the cold prickly dread that creeps up from my stomach and makes me feel nauseous. But it’s just a feeling, and I am not my feeling. And so I went in that back alley and I put my right foot on that board, and I pushed off with my left and away I went…. straight into the neighbor’s fence. But my lord, the feeling for those three seconds, cruising along, saying F-U to being afraid… worth every damn penny. And yeah, I crashed about a gazillion times, and probably will crash a gazillion more tomorrow. So be it. Embracing the unknown 🙂
I would love to hear about your own personal moments of embracing the unknown. In the meantime, I leave you all with my favorite quote from Tennessee Williams:
“Death is one moment, and life is so many of them.” xx