Thursday, 26 November 2009

Breaking Through

Recently, I embarked on a residential with quite a few of the young people we're working with at the moment. As part of the fun activities with a bit of deeper meaning, we had enrolled Dragon Dynamics to run an afternoon session, which culminated in Board Breaking. You know what I'm talking about, the karate style chopping of a piece of wood? Right?

Oh, I was burning to do it. Very much unlike the Fire Walk, where I was reluctant and not at all sure if I wanted, should, could, would, ought to do it. Nonono, I've been waiting for this opportunity for a long long time. You may not know this about me, but I used to do kick boxing. And I loved it. In fact, I miss it, that mad outlet of energy, the opportunity to totally exert yourself, test your physical limits, feel the power of your own body, the total focus and presence of mind required (because otherwise you get hurt. Badly).

But of course, it's not just about the board breaking. The board is a metaphor for what hold you back in life, holds you back from doing things you know you should be doing, from making changes, from getting off your backside, from realising your dreams, getting out of a situation that doesn't work for you. It represents the fear that's holding you back, the barriers that you need to push through to make things happen.

Part of the preparation for the board breaking is about identifying these barriers and physically writing them on the board. As you attempt to break the board, you are most literally breaking through your own very personal barrier that's between yourself and realising your goal.

My barrier appeared in a lightbulb moment in the fullest clarity you could hope. And mine was not the only lightbulb moment. There were many, realisations of how communication works and how to take ownership, how to face one's own demons, and the realisation how the metaphor of breaking boards applies to each individual's life, and the importance it place on the breaking of one's very own board. I don't want to go into details - confidentiality and the respect for the young people and their extremely moving realisations tell me this is not the right place for elaborating any further on their realisations.

My very own barrier was significant enough: There was no question about what it would be, it presented itself with all it's impact. There is a fear that is holding me back, and which, so often makes me withdraw in intertia or choose to remain silent when I burn to speak out. It is the fear of not being taken seriously. Maybe this is partly why I blog - my semi-anonymous little bubble is a safe space where it's not about being taken seriously. However, this has changed because my blog is no longer as anonymous as it use to be, I've sort of come out and yes, I'm starting to feel ever so slightly uncomfortable.

I've been thinking about this barrier ever since, and still believe I've truly pinpointed something. It fits, I can find endless examples. While as a younger person, there was lack of confidence holding me back, this has now changed to the fear of not being taken seriously.

So, when I decided it was my turn, I was determined. There was no way it would take me two attempts to break through. This board had to go with a bang.
And a bruise.


Zoe said...

My experience is that you always blog with such integrity and honesty (without revealing everything) that you, you posts are (taken) serious(ly), are meaty, thought provoking and engaging. (with room for play of course).

Littlemummy said...

I love these kind of posts, they make me reflect on myself and my life. In fact I may have to write a post...

Mwa said...

I take you very seriously.

So you came out about your blog and it didn't turn out that great? I'd love to hear more about that if you're happy to talk about it. If not on here, maybe email me? I'm seriously considering being out and proud, but something is holding me back, so hearing how it affected you may help me make up my mind.


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of that, though I think I'd need several boards. It must have been a very powerful experience for the young people (I always feel so awkward writing 'young people', as though they're a different species. But what else can we call them?) attending.

cartside said...

Zoe, (blush)

dadwhowrites, oh I'm sure I could do with another few boards too, just this one came so natural it felt very right.

Mwa, I've linked the blog to my facebook page so all my friends now get updates, whereas before, my audience was more anonymous. It's not a bad thing, I've never kept this blog a secret anyway, but I'm very aware of people possibly reading it now which I wasn't before - it's exciting but also a bit scary, and there's no negative feedback at all. Or maybe my pals aren't interested and not actually reading ;) Oh, and I just used my blog as a current examnple, it doesn't bother me that much.

Erica, I think it's a great exercise to identify those fears that keep oneself from doing things, and assess if they're based on reality or on perception. I do believe my fear is not real, I'm sure many people do take me seriously (thanks Zoe and Mwa for confirming!), so realising that it's not real is the first step of controlling the fear and overcoming it.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post-I'd take you very seriously.
It's added a bit more encouragement to face my fears too. Thank you



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