Meet Fear with Courage
The year was 2003.
I had just married my sweetie, left corporate accounting and was full force ready to pursue teaching yoga. My study and practice of yoga in college and beyond was with Iyengar teachers - very alignment focused - but when flow yoga came on the scene, I jumped. A yoga practice that could be exercise? Kill two birds with one stone? Get sweaty and be spiritual? Yep, count me in.
The problems with this was two-fold: 1. I kept injuring myself. My wrists, my shoulders, my low back. You name it, I injured it. Yes, doing yoga. 2. Trying to make yoga be my exercise amped up the anxiety I was working to dampen. I would often leave yoga classes feeling less in my body than before I got there.
So here I was, desperately wanting to train to be a flow yoga teacher with a body that was clearly not cooperating with my envisioned future. I had to look at a different option.
I explored gentler forms of yoga teacher trainings.
I was totally turned off by every single one I explored. One in particular horrified me. It totally scared me and yet, I couldn't stop coming back to their site and pouring over the details. Kripalu. As I was making my decision, I knew the time was ripe to go to teacher training. I didn't want to wait, so I decided to sign up for Kripalu, the one that scared me most, that I had the most resistance toward.
Why? Because I had learned that the places that scare me most are where I will find the most gold when it comes to the work I'm here to do.
Fear is a good indicator that something is worth doing.
In creative pursuits, job changes, growing your business, taking the training, saying I love you, having a baby, writing the book, claiming the title - there will most likely be fear. Knowing that, I've devised a not-so-secret attitude toward doing the thing that scares me.
Instead of being overwhelmed by fear, or deciding that I need to be free of fear or understand my fear before I begin, I celebrate it. I recognize fear as a form of resistance and a great indicator that I'm on the right path.
So far, this has served me well.
- I've learned I am, indeed, CPA material and that I don't have to be a CPA (thank god).
- Leaving alcohol behind for a future I couldn't see or envision has literally paved the way for everything good in my life.
- Kripalu was, hands down, the best place I could have gone to learn to teach yoga and to have the first inklings of how slowing down and moving with more gentleness is profoundly healing.
- That guy I met and said "I do" to 6-months later? 13 years later we are still happily married and in love.
- Home birth? Yes. Absolutely worth every bit of push back and harassment I got to have Clara at home. Talk about physically empowering.
- Deciding to go with the non-ICF approved coaching program to become a life coach and a master life coach? Oh hell yes.
- Saying yes to moving to Africa with my husband? Totally worth it. Even though we haven't gone (yet) there has been so much gold in that decision.
Simple strategies for fear.
Maybe you are a woman who feels restless. Maybe you know what you want, but you feel fear. Maybe you are letting fear get the best of you and you are distracting yourself through staying busy with something that isn't your true work, or you are overeating, or somehow life just keeps getting more chaotic and prevents you from taking action toward what you really want. Or maybe you are waiting for your fear to evaporate.
I often feel fear, and I will tell you what I tell myself:
- It's not about being fearless, it's about being courageous. You can do difficult things.
- When you are afraid, get curious. "I wonder what's on the other side of this fear? I can't wait to find out."
- When you are afraid to move forward toward your dreams, when you find yourself turning toward your favorite forms of distraction, you can remind yourself that most everything good in life happens because you don't let fear stop you.
- Take action. Say yes. Do the thing that scares you.
This is guaranteed to serve you well.
It doesn't guarantee success by external measures, but you will finish what you start and you will be in the rarified air of those who do the work they are here to do, in the field of gold that exists beyond the fear. When you follow the impulse of your heart and soul, when you commit to moving through and beyond the fear, you will be rewarded with more opportunity, more creative genius, more capacity for failure and success as well as more personal feelings of mastery.
May you meet fear with courage, sister.
"Fear is excitement without the breath." -Fritz Perls
Let your fear lead you forward. Breath into your fear and let it move you, turning into excitement for the future you are walking toward. Move into action not despite your fears, but because of them. Have courage. May this serve you, and your heart's desires, in ways currently beyond your wildest, abundant imaginings.
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