Pigeon Tales (Vol. IV): Pain, Fear, Acceptance

Pigeon Tales is a “special edition” of this blog, coming at you hot off the mat from yep, you guessed it…Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (known to most of us as Pigeon Pose).  As most yoga teachers will tell you while you try to find and maintain stillness in this intense pose, pigeon has a unique ability to tap into your emotional memories and bring up some pretty juicy- and often introspective- stuff.  Each edition of Pigeon Tales comes in a pure and spontaneous manner, dissecting the thoughts that cross my mind while in I give in to the release of the foundation-based chakras…those thoughts I want to share, anyway.  This is, in effect, my dream journal of those deep pigeony places.  I encourage you to try doing the same!

I don’t exactly know why, I’ve had a lot of trouble getting into a good pigeon pose lately.  I just can’t seem to get comfortable, and even modifications are increasingly intense.  The intensity has brought one thought to my mind, and one only: Pain.

I look around, and I see a lot of pain.  It’s everywhere.  Everyone is fighting their own silent battle.  It is so rare for us to come across someone that is genuinely free of pain.  How sad is that?!  It makes me wonder why pain is so prevalent, and further, how we can counteract it.  I’ve always felt that pain is just the early onset, physical manifestation of fear.  So, as I’ve been feeling more and more pain, I wonder what it is that I am so afraid of.


I wrote the previous two paragraphs about two months ago, and left them hanging.  I read them through a few times, each time deciding they were accurate but not ready to be unpacked.  I didn’t have the courage to look at myself and accept that I have moments of pain too.  Happy people aren’t afraid of things, and I’m happy.

Wrong.  Happiness is not the absence of fear, but rather the acknowledgment and acceptance of it.  Most people fear their own fear too much to let it surface.  They bury it, ignore it, and hope it dissipates into the magical abyss of the universe.  Sound about right?  For a long time I was under the impression that carrying fear (…or pain, or guilt) in some way diminished the happiness I created along the way.  Consequently, I convinced myself that the fear wasn’t there, ignoring it diligently until I began to understand the manifestation of physical pain and tension in my body.  As in-tune with myself as I thought I was, the calls of my body fell on deaf ears until I opened my mind a bit and began to listen to fear had to say.

So, back to that pigeon.  What was I so afraid of?  Yes, afraid of watching the news at night.  Yes, afraid of not living up to expectations of success (that’s another story…).  Yes, afraid of a rogue asteroid.  But that wasn’t what I needed to confront.  What I needed to face was the fear of fear itself.  To stare it down, feel it, and lean into it.  To allow it to be present, but not louder than my spirit.  Rather than spending my energy suppressing fears, I work each day to create a space where they are welcome to surface and (sometimes) burn out.  We all hold fear somewhere, and getting in touch with your body can help you find your own.  Only then can we re-purpose the energy holding it to melt into it, feel it, and accept it.

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