So much shifted for me since beginning training with Spiritwind Internal Arts, the Internal Martial Arts school I’m part of. One particular memory is forever seared into my mind…
It was a moment, soon after taking my first discipleship test. I was walking home through a park alone after dusk. And all of a sudden I realized, I WASN’T AFRAID.
Now this might not seem unusual for some of you, but for as long as I can remember, walking anywhere alone at night was always scary. I’ve been followed and harassed in my lifetime more times than I can count – both in broad daylight, and, more terrifyingly, at night. And from conversations with my female friends, this seems to have been the norm. Our mothers taught us, rightfully so, that we ought to be on guard, that we might be under attack at any time – especially as a woman, especially alone, especially at night. I recall running home so many times, my heart pounding like it was about to jump out of my chest, as someone lurked in the shadows behind me.
Well I’ll tell you, this moment of walking, without fear, was a total revelation. It was so unfamiliar that it felt crazy. I laughed out loud.
I felt free. I felt fully in my body. I could trust my body. I felt all my senses online and capable, instincts intact. I felt my animal body, ready and calm. I was on guard, alert, but relaxed so that I could listen and respond.
What a beautiful possibility, turned reality.
For a long time I thought this fearlessness came from having a couple tools in my kit – I was confident, and back then, in my youthful gloating, I felt like I could kick some ass if necessary.
But a new perspective has grown in more recent years, a more subtle awareness of a shift that has occurred over years of practice. The realization that this embodied practice has been steadily stripping away layers of fear and victimhood that I had internalized so early, so consistently, that I barely even realized how deep it was. This victim mentality was just there, part of the core, it felt like it was me. Internal Martial Arts training has shown me a way to take care of the victim part of me. I can see her a lot more clearly now. Being on this journey of training has taught me countless lessons but this has been the biggest one – building my inner strength and power slowly and steadily, like fanning a flame to tend a fire. With consistency it grows and then one day – wow, there is some new aspect of yourself that you have been cultivating. It is the result of your work and your commitment, the result of having proper guidance and support, and it shows you that the strength is IN YOU.
I’m passionate about sharing Internal Martial Arts with women, not just because learning tools for self-defence is an essential human birthright. But because the most healing thing we can do is uncover fear, rage, mistrust, and bring them from the shadows into the light so that there is more space for our inner power to shine.