Or walking through fears that create a physical tension within a new experience
I noticed tension upon having to be learning to drive, it is one of those things where of course I’m not at all used to it therefore the initial fear that comes with it manifests as a form of tension in my body where after some 40 minutes of holding the wheel my hand was quite sore for a moment, which made me realize how tense I was while learning the whole thing in my first day, today after having completed the second day of driving it was already quite less, but I made sure to write the following blog yesterday so that I could become aware of all of these points while having to practice again today.
I’m also learning to embrace these initial fears and have a clear idea on how the only way to transcend these fears that I had created about driving – and the plethora of possible scenarios – are only in my mind and that when one is ‘at the wheel’ all that is here is myself/my body having to follow specific steps that require my focus and attention on every single thing that happens in every moment. What I mean by embracing the initial fears is specifically related to not wanting to deny, suppress or make myself appear ‘stronger’ than this fear that manifests as a tension, otherwise my whole attention would go ‘up there’ in the mind, wanting to ‘fight the fears’ and I would then end up not being fully present in physical reality in the moment when I was having to be paying full attention to the guy giving me the instructions, which actually happened for a few times yesterday and a little bit less today, but still made the same mistakes which I’ll outline here.
I noticed how I wasn’t listening to him at first, but instead I was using ‘tension’ in my body as a form of control, when in fact that only makes it all much harder and physically draining – and even now several hours after such exercise yesterday, I had a mild headache – which is something familiar to me whenever I get too tense about something that I am trying to control through fear, instead of focusing on self-control as in remaining stable, present, calm which translates into more of an ease at a physical level. Today I noticed the tension and deliberately would make the change to hold the wheel in a different manner to be more aware of how my back was doing, practicing stability throughout the whole thing which worked quite well.
There were moments while standing in the red lights or when not having to be coordinating the various steps to drive where I could manage to loosen up a bit, but I interestingly enough found myself sticking out my tongue tip and touching my upper lip, which is something that I would do as a child in fact when having a ‘superior’ as a teacher showing me to do something and where I by default would take that ‘inferior’ position of being ‘the student’ within a certain experience of ‘I can mess up many times and it can be ok’ or diminishing the mistakes with a bit of goofiness, which sure can be done the initial times, but I liked the approach of the teacher on identifying the mistakes so that I could become aware of them and not repeat them.
So what I did was voicing out the corrections, repeating the steps with my own voice because I realized how listening to him was not enough when being doing the steps myself, I would try and control the whole thing with ‘doing things quickly’ which doesn’t really work in this case, and I in fact had to slow down more and be ok with not doing it ‘fast’ right away considering that I am doing this for the first time, lol, there goes ‘Marlen’s exigency’ there with ‘speed’.
In a way this whole episode of learning to drive brought me back to my relationship to learning with or from teachers and how many times I simply would not hear them and ‘do things my own way’ which of course in some contexts might have worked for me, but in this context, the specific instructions and steps to learn this are there for a reason, which is something I fortunately realized early on in the first lesson so that I could in fact pay more attention to what he was saying – nonetheless this initial approach of ‘believing I know’ and then doing it my way of course didn’t result at all, because I then repeated the same mistakes.
Interestingly enough I witnessed a bit of the beginning of the next lesson with another woman and I noticed how she was in fact listening to the instructions and doing things much more slower which was quite apt in this case – whereas I kind of went a bit ahead of myself and due to the fear/tension I got somewhat clumsy in terms of the steps to take, which fortunately enough were only at the beginning and the rest were better, which was the result of the teacher letting me know I wasn’t listening and that I had to listen to get it done right.
It’s kind of funny though because it is so that it reveals a lot about myself and all the times that I have wanted to ‘rebel’ and ‘do things my way’ when it comes to teachers, in a way holding this ingrained belief that they are ‘holding me back’ from doing it some other faster and more accurate way, but! I realized this was not the case and that I was only kind of acting out some of my previous relationships to learning and specifically within the context of ‘teacher-student’ relationship so, it was cool to redefine it in the moment and in fact be able to recognize where I was ‘coming from’ in my initial moves, so that I can then become humble, slow myself down and in fact listen to him, which worked a lot better for both of us of course, as well as continuing voicing the steps for myself too.
I also noticed how any form of judgment created in the moment of doing what can be deemed as the ‘tricky’ or ‘difficult parts’ and repeating these ‘tenseness’ during those specific steps can lead me to eventually create a dislike, resist or create a whole polarity of ‘the good/fun/chilled parts vs. the tense/difficult/bad parts’ of driving, or creating a preference on things where I then start fearing having to ‘do’ certain things, or fearing having to confront certain situations like being on the front line of a row of cars and not being ‘fast enough’ to step on gas and get the car moving or having to get the hang out of going up a slope etc. – I would notice the tendencies to be kind of immediately judging some parts as ‘nice and comfortable’ and others as ‘difficult, tough’ which I had to also in the moment let go of and rather in a way living the word ‘embracing’ as in realizing ‘it’s all part of it’ and so seeing that creating a preference would only become a hindrance and eventual problem for me to earn and imprint within me the driving process in a stable, precise and comfortable manner, with all its parts/aspects involved.
And I have known how upon repeating those same judgments for a long time can eventually lead me to in fact resist doing something, all because of the many times I allowed myself to judge something, to fear something and feed those thoughts every single moment that this same ‘step’ or point would emerge in my reality – so, this time I let go of it and rather decided to practice to get comfortable in doing it.
Yesterday I also noticed how I was breathing more deeply in an attempt to ‘relax’ myself but the fact is that I can see where I can instead prevent creating a build up, a tension that then goes into a ‘loosen up’ and relaxation, which I have created based on the way I had experienced some points within a positive and negative experience; so that’s when I decided to not give into these perceptions and instead, see the physicality of the moves, focus on the steps, the method and taking it as is, devoid of ‘extra adjectives’ or judgments I may create in my head.
Therefore this time today it was much better in terms of my physical body, I don’t feel as tense as I did before after the driving lesson. I was focusing on the street, the car, the wheel, the feet and hands etc. – which for now still came through with a tension at a physical body level, but I did notice that I didn’t allow myself to run amok with fears in my mind, even though I could see my propensity to create them, I simply decided to ‘not go there’ as in ‘into them’ and keep focusing on reality and continuing practicing listening to the teacher.
One day after learning some theory and basics on getting the car going and going straight into the traffic was quite unexpected to me, but I went for it and ‘did my best’ in the ways that I’ve explained here, from changing my relationship to being told exactly what to do and initially sort of reacting to it from the past memories of ‘learning’ from others to actually seeing how it was in fact important to Hear and do things step by step as intended – lol – and slowing down. I also realized my own foolishness of how in wanting to ‘figure it out myself’ I can imprint the whole basics in a clumsy manner, which is not the point here.
I also noticed how I have a lot of memories of an aunt of mine that would pick my cousins and I from school and she usually would drive a manual car. I was at the time very judgmental about her driving, believing it was too clumsy, too slow, too unaware and now in a way I got to place myself in her shoes and so realized as well how sometimes what it takes is literally ‘placing ourselves in their position’ to then understand why it could have been something difficult for her to do and in a way also learn from those mistakes to correct them within me, I had not even realized to what extent her driving skills had created an impact on me to the point where her driving and memories of me driving in the backseat with her were coming up quite frequently while I was at the wheel, fascinating – maybe only a little bit from my sister that also drove a manual, but I got to also realize how these fears about driving a manual would come from what I perceived back then were there many ‘close to crashing’ times I had with my aunt, lol.
Therefore tomorrow I can continue reminding myself to keep an eye on my body, my hands, my legs to see ways to loosen up the ‘ingrained fears’ so that the tension at a physical body can be relieved with practice and developing an eventual comfort with it, which is why for now I can’t judge myself and my tension because it is ‘normal’ in a way at the beginning of learning to drive, and saw that yes it is something we are not entirely ‘prepared’ for, but we sometimes cannot be; sometimes we can only be ‘as ready as we can ever be’ and take the situation as it comes while knowing that whatever comes, we can take responsibility for it, we can ‘respond’ to it, we can find ways to solve it.
For now I have to practice slowing down, because I have tended to be too ‘considerate’ of others and rush the whole thing because of not wanting to ‘waste the other driver’s time’ which is the reason why in rushing, I’d end up making a mistake and not listen to my teacher, because I was more focused on the one behind me that on my own. Man, I’ve made this same anxiety/consideration towards others even in supermarkets with trolleys, lol so I definitely know this pattern and that means I have to give myself the space to slow the fuck down, seriously. No one started doing things perfectly so, here also the drivers that start honking, I’m sure they also at some point learned to drive and probably have forgotten to be considerate towards newbies like me.
What I’m practically learning is to not judge the mistakes, realize it’s a start, it’s a learning process and rather being careful enough with the outside environment as well as within my physical body, wherein I definitely want to be able to breathe and loosen up a bit every moment that I can.
Interestingly enough what I have noticed however after these three days of lessons is myself slowing down in relation to walking and interacting with cars as a pedestrian. I have explained many times how much I judged drivers and kind of expected ‘them’ to consider ‘me’ but now upon knowing how much there is to be aware of while driving, I am now being the considerate one and developing a lot of patience when crossing the streets, not risking it, not going by ‘impulse’ so again, this ‘placing yourself in the shoes of another’ led me to truly consider the position that people are at behind the wheel and be able to consider them a lot more than I used to, which is cool and safer for me considering that ‘speed’ is quite a tendency for me, so, lol I have to truly slow down, that’s what’s best for all for sure.
Walking through fears in a physical manner is definitely only possible by actually doing it. I’ve done the same with riding a bike which I still don’t do on a regular basis after a massive fall I had some 9 years ago, and the few times I’ve taken a bike were also steps to test myself, to see how I do with riding a bike and sometimes my whole body would go into shaking mode, and the memories of the gruesome situation would come up again, but that’s where ‘moving’ myself to make a change comes in the way of Not participating within those ‘flashbacks’ and simply keeping focused and stable and breathing as a point of physical awareness that brings stability and focus for me.
I am also thankful to fellow Destonians because I’ve been aware of how some have walked through the same fears and read their self-forgiveness on it, where I could see that the way to correct the whole experience is to be present, here, be focused on one’s body, one’s reality and practice, practice, practice, as well as being ready to face whatever challenges may come in self-responsibility.
I share here then some material that can be supportive for others learning to do the same which has been supportive for me, as well as a fresh video that talks about comparison but interestingly enough also sharing a very real situation of ‘learning to do something for the first time’ and the physical process it in fact takes to do so in a comfortable manner.
· The Design of Powerlessness and Disempowerment – Principled Living Cerise and Joe sharing first hand experiences on fearing driving and how they overcome it.
· Day 298 – EQAFE Fears and Phobias of car accidents: my experience by Talamon
· The Trap of Comparison by Sunette
Thanks for reading!
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