Thanks to Eleanor Roosevelt for: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I consider this sentiment my personal mantra. (Yogis: Please excuse my corruption of the term “mantra”.) As a fearful person by nature, I know I need to push myself through my hesitation. Sometimes I don’t even have time to recover from the last challenge before I’m faced with a new one. Cancer has been a crash course in confronting fear. Last week alone, I talked about my cancer journey with strangers in front of a camera, and I managed the bone marrow procedure (with the help of a pill). Then I feared what doctors would find for a week, only to learn there are more answers than questions in my malfunctioning body. The next night, because of circumstances only partly of my own doing, I arrived very late for a meeting I had committed to. I HATE showing up late.
So yesterday, I decided to ditch my mantra. I skipped my beloved yoga class because the icy roads felt too daunting. As much as I love my favourite yoga teacher, I don’t feel all that relaxed by the end of class if I have to fight heavy morning traffic on a snowy day to get there. I am first to admit I totally copped out. And I spent the hour I would have been in yoga wishing I’d gone.
Skipping yoga is a big deal to me. I love yoga. It’s been a constant in my life since long before cancer. I’m inflexible and clumsy and every class is hard. I do what I can, which isn’t much some days, but I’m always glad I’ve gone.
Instead of driving to yoga, I walked to the dog park, where the sheer ice that had been building all week was barely covered by a skiff of fresh snow. I used all four limbs to make it up the first hill, and tread carefully the rest of the way to avert falls. So much for taking the day off fear. When I went for a drive later that morning, I realized I was at higher risk of injury at the dog park than I would have been on the roads.
I don’t have a choice but to tackle the many frightful challenges cancer throws my way. If I don’t deal with them head on, I’ll be letting the illness rule my life. Some days I face these challenges more successfully than others. But every so often I just need a break. I can’t skip having cancer, but there are other things I can say no to if I feel the need. Maybe not yoga, though, because yoga makes me happy.
So I’ll keep doing one thing every day that scares me, just not today. I’ve exceeded my fear quota in recent weeks, and I’ve decided I deserve a break. I’ll be hanging out at home until a special yoga workshop this evening. And my dear friend with snow tires is driving. I can’t wait.