Blocks

I go to a local adult ballet class three times a week and absolutely love it, most of it. The one thing I cannot abide is being asked to move from one corner of the room to the other whilst spinning like a top. Argh! There is a fancy French word for this, but I can’t remember it as I go into a mindless panic as soon as twirling is on the agenda.

I hate turning because:

a) It makes me feel dizzy and a bit sick.

b) I cannot think straight when I am spinning and barely know what planet I am on let alone what my arms and legs are doing.

c) I am afraid of falling over.

d) I am afraid of looking foolish.

Yesterday, a fellow classmate turned to me and said ‘You do this thing. When you think you can’t do something, you switch off and don’t bother.’

Her words struck a chord. That is exactly what I do. It is a familiar feeling – one of frustration and then anger, which I turn inwards and say things to myself like ‘You are useless, stupid…etc.’

Why am I telling you this story? Because I am writing about my spiritual journey and a huge part of this is a willingness to get to know myself and the limiting beliefs that stop me from getting where I want to be. I am the mistress of my own destiny and if I don’t like every aspect of this life I am living, it is nobody’s fault but my own.

The feeling I have in ballet when I am asked to do turns is EXACTLY the same feeling I get when I am in a spin about money and my ability to earn enough of it. Interesting. It struck me that I need to find out where this comes from so I asked myself the question. I do this a lot these days and answers rarely pop up immediately – this one came to me as I was running through a local Royal Park this morning.

I had a vivid memory of a maths lessons when I was six. The teacher, Mrs Siggs, was using wooden blocks to show us how fractions worked. So for example, the block that represented the number 1 would be the same length as two blocks that represented a half. Or four quarters etc. The idea is, you lined up the fraction blocks against the whole number blocks to see how the concept works.

Sat there, staring at bits of wood of varying lengths, I could feel tears sting my eyes. I’d been asked to solve a simple sum involving fractions and could not do it. All the other children had done the task with ease and were out in the sunshine playing with hoola hoops and swinging from monkey bars (this was the era before health and safety), so I was sat there alone, paralysed with fear as Mrs Siggs loomed over me clicking her pen.

I can’t remember exactly what she said, but I took those words on board and felt incredibly stupid. Eventually, she showed me the solution. I remember thinking how ridiculously easy it was. How could I have been so dumb? Panic had clearly stopped me from thinking straight, although I didn’t see that at the time.

From that moment on, I hated maths lessons. I failed the GCSE 5 times, getting three U’s and two E’s. I told myself I was useless with numbers and then 21-years later, I read an article in The Mirror about how most adults couldn’t pass a GCSE maths paper.

‘That’s me. I can’t do maths,’ I told my husband.

He disagreed and said it was all in the teaching. He then showed me how to do a simple equation and I was astonished at how easy it was. I promptly signed up for maths classes and passed the GCSE a year later with a grade B. I wasn’t hopeless at maths after all, it was simply a story I told myself.

I thought I was over the whole maths thing, but I see now that the emotional block laid down in Mrs Siggs’ class all those years ago is still affecting me to this day. How mad is that? We all do it. Nobody is immune. Everybody carries limiting beliefs that were laid down in the past.

What do I do now? Well, I said the H’oponopono Prayer and forgave Mrs Siggs and now that I have identified the feeling, I am hoping it won’t have such a hold on me. The real test will be when I am next asked to do turns in ballet. The chances are, I will mess up, but rather than tell myself I’m rubbish, I’ll say: “It’s okay, you did your best, next time it will be better.” There are professional dancers in my ballet class who spin so quickly they flash past in a blur. I am never going to be able to match them, but that’s okay. It’s about doing my best and not giving up before I get there.

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