Lean Into It

Did you know that if you’re afraid of getting kicked by a cow or horse, you need to actually close the distance between you? The closer you are, the less likely you are to get hurt.

Similarly, if you run across fear or resistance, lean into it. See if you can’t get a little more intimate with it.

Sometimes, leaning into it makes it disappear. Sometimes, it gives you valuable information, sometimes, (like with cows) at least if you are kicked, the kick hasn’t got a lot of force behind it. Whereas hanging out where you think you’re safe means that the hoof has a lot of momentum behind it. And hurts more. And catches you off-guard. And did I mention you thought you were safe?

No downside here. But you do have to be brave enough to do the foolhardy thing. And lean into it.


5 thoughts on “Lean Into It”

  1. mmmmm. I mean that as in yummy, not pensive.

    mostly because I love the feel of being on a motorcycle – like flying. that leaning in feeling – I crave it in my blood. And it’s easy enough to get for my body – with crazy stunts and my general dare devilessness.

    Emotionally and life-wise I don’t always clue in right away so I make sure to have people around me to point out what I am leaning away from – the way my aerial coach will do – the Safer way to hold your body isn’t entirely intuitive – letting go, straightening – the *Scariest* way is usually the safer way. But if there wasn’t a coach on the ground telling me that I was curling up or tensing I might not even know it. And if she wasn’t there to tell me that I’m more balanced and secure than I could ever personally feel before letting go – someone who can be very calm and very sure in the precise moment when I can’t be – I probably wouldn’t do it, either.

    One of best lessons was how that kind of bravery doesn’t usually happen in isolation.

    and i’m all for encouraging more intimacy in the face of resistance and fear – and for riding on motorcycles!


    1. hmm. This is all good food for thought. I just thought about it as noticing when you feel like moving away from something, and doing the counterintuitive thing and getting closer.

      For instance, I make a conscious effort to do that with criticism, or of people telling me things about myself that might or might not be true. I notice that my immediate reaction is to withdraw, and so I pause, and see if I can get a little closer and more intimate.

      I think ties into this thought exercise that I always take as a truism: “There is nothing that you can like or hate about another that you do not like or hate about yourself”

      So for me to feel repulsed or fearful about something, there has to be some seed of… I don’t know, there’s something important there, like navigating all the boobytraps to get to the treasure in the heart of the temple. It’s a challenge, and it also lets you know you’re on the right track, or there’d be no charge in it for you.

      So you took my thought down a completely different track. Thank you!

  2. I first learned about the thing you’re talking about from a book by debbie ford – dark side of the light chasers. she had a couple different exercises in there – one involved listing three people you hated and three you admired and then listing three characteristics for each person that explained why you hated or admired them – and then further resonating those descriptions with yourself – not just intellectually accepting that they described you too, but really *feeling* the truth of them.

    Another exercise was asking three people you trusted to tell you three words they would use to describe you honestly – and i’m sure there was some qualifier about making sure they didn’t feel they had to be complimentary.

    That exercise scared me so bad. It was just some words on a page – but i’d *tremble* whenever I thought about putting them into action. It was all in the privacy in my own head – no one else was holdign me accountable to the exercises, but because I knew my resistance to doing it meant something important and I couldn’t pretend it was just a fun ‘get to know yourself better’ game, I was stuck in this limbo of not quite doing and not quite resisting.

    I was so sure everyone could see a monster in me I wasn’t going to be able to accept or handle and it was best to just avoid the whole damn thing. Except I couldn’t quite do that either – in a way, I had *already* leaned in and got closer.

    It’s amazing to remember that now – because I eventually got to the place where I would willingly go into circumstances where the *point* was for people to tell you things about yourself. I still quivered and my heart would flutter desperately against my ribcage – but there was never a monster – and the words were usually ones I already knew – and the truth was, hearing that you might be selfish from someone who is still your friend anyway even though they clearly know this about you sort of takes the punch out of it.

    Now I lean into uncomfortable things like that for a living – and lap it up – the chest fluttering feeling doesn’t mean i might die any minute like it did then, now it means something real is about to happen and i’m leaning into it…

  3. Well, your comment really made me think too. I’m kind of independent. Not as a reaction to anything, it just doesn’t really occur to me to *ask*. So off the top of my head, I can’t think of more than a handful of pivotal moments where someone was holding my hand. If there was someone there, it was usually due to the fact that they made a passing comment that triggered it, and I leaned into it to find out why I reacted.

    But I am getting really good at surrounding myself, and asking for input from, people who are prone to seeing things clearly. I call that a win.

  4. interesting…

    It didn’t occur to me to *ask* either – definitely not to start. It was more like wandering the forest and running across a wizened old witch to tell me something cryptic but that eventually opens my eyes more deeply.

    Eventually I realized how much those moments had made a difference so I *started* asking – but by then I’d created a collection of wise and insightful people worth asking. It was one of my markers of having ‘made it’ that I had such great people to get guidance from. I could actually feel the shift from tensing and resisting to leaning into whatever it is happen over the course of a conversation – without conversation it would be so much less discernable. and maybe take much longer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *