Hello my wonderful Yogis! So here it is, I'm starting a blog. I've been wanting to write a blog for awhile now but something was holding me back. I've been worried that if I start a blog no one will read it. That's fear, butting it's way into my brain and trying to prevent me from doing anything that might lead to vulnerability or failure. Well screw that. I don't need to give a crap about how people will respond to my thoughts and ideas. I have things I want to say so that's exactly what I'm going to do. I want you to know that I'm not writing this blog for likes, popularity or notoriety. I've somehow been blessed with the courage to open up and pour my vulnerable little heart out on to a page and the only reason I'm doing it is because I want to inspire YOU to do the same. If I can do it, anyone can.
Here goes nothing. I think I'll start with FEAR...
I'm not talking about scary movies here, we're not about to cuddle up with some popcorn and increase our heart rates for 90 minutes for no apparent reason. What I want to talk about is that deep dark hidden fear that we all have within us. The fear that we can't even bring ourselves to talk about because that might make it feel more real. You know what I mean, we all have it. So what are the things that you fear most?
I worked in corporate america for over 8 years, plugging away day in and day out, selling my soul to the devil that is corporate insurance brokerage. I would day dream everyday about a different life, a new career that would give me the nourishment and connection to my community that I so desperately longed for. But for 8 years I convinced myself that money and stability were king. Only a complete moron would leave a solid, secure, six figure paying job to pursue their "passion", right? Well, I eventually became that moron, and I am now the happiest moron around. It takes a lot to face our fears. Our society teaches us to go through life "numbing" ourselves from our fears and anxieties. We fall into these endless cycles of working, drinking, eating, watching tv and endless other unhealthy habits that distract us from the present moment and prevent us from living up to our full potential. Obviously this shift from a lifestyle of numbing and avoidance is not going to be an over night transformation, it took me over three years from the day I decided I wanted to become a yoga teacher to actual find the courage and energy to do it, so don't be hard on yourself if you feel overwhelmed or hopeless, I'm telling you right now, there is hope!
It all begins with mindfulness.
The first step towards facing our fears is bringing awareness to them. This will probably feel like walking into a black hole at first, unpleasant and unfamiliar, but you can do it. Just taking a few minutes a day to sit down and breath, especially at times when you might be feeling scared or anxious, will eventually allow you to sit with your fears. We don't need to do anything else but sit with them, and breath. Slowly you'll begin to familiarize yourself with your fear, you can give it a name "failure", "in-security", "instability", "uncertainty". Now you know, this is what I fear, this is what's holding me back from pursuing my full potential. The turning point for me in my transition to becoming a yoga teacher was time. After years of plugging away at a job that did not serve me, I began to resent myself for the fact that I hadn't had the courage or willpower to try something new. It got to a point where I felt like I was holding my breath for 8 hours a day, I hated my job so much that I couldn't be present while I was working, I couldn't be me. I was living so inauthentically to my true nature that it began to impact my physical and emotional state. That's when I was able to bring awareness to it. When I would think about leaving my corporate job to pursue a career teaching yoga I was terrified of giving up the lifestyle that my corporate job afforded me, the uncertainty of what my life would look like as a yoga teacher, would people like me? will I be able to make ends meet? will I be a good yoga teacher? Jack Kornfield says that "Fear is the membrane between what we know and what we don't know". I was scared of the unknown. It was when I realized exactly what was holding me back, fear of the unknown, that my fear began to soften.
Separating ourselves from our fear is the key to freedom
So without even realizing it, by bringing awareness to your fears, you've now separated your mind from your fears. Once we can acknowledge something with present moment awareness, we can begin to separate ourselves from our fear. You're no longer identifying with your fear if you have the ability to observe it and give it a name. You've now been able to take a step outside of the mind and become the observer of your mind. We can begin to communicate with our fear as it arises "hello fear, I know you and you are temporary and therefore you have no power over me", after a few breaths of this recognition, your fear will begin to soften. This is the work, we must continue to observe and bring awareness to our fear. Eventually, fear becomes neutralized by the mind. We accept it's presence in the mind with the same reaction as we would joy or happiness, and this is when we can take action.
Become the fear warrior
Let this new found awareness of your fear empower you to overcome it. You are a warrior and fear is your battle ground. This will be a long and bloody battle but you'll have many victories along the way that will motivate you to keep marching on. Putting the energy out into the universe that I was ready to stand up to fear was the first step in my transition. I decided one day that this was not my life, and I was ready to seek a deeper existence. Within a few days of having this energy circulating within me, my friend asked if I wanted to audition to teach a class at the studio she worked at, I was terrified but I said yes. This audition was the first time I was putting myself out there, it was short and sweet and they offered me a class. Just like that! So I started teaching a public yoga class, I was so nervous and freaked out every week I had to go up there, but I slowly became more comfortable and students began giving me quality feedback. After a few weeks, I felt it inside me. I can do this. I can make this work, I can quit my job. After a few weeks of getting my finances in order and tying up lose ends at work, I went in to work on a typical Friday morning. With sweaty palms and excited electricity coursing through my veins, I did it. I quit my job. I took a leap of faith into the unknown. The day I walked out of that office for the last time, was unbelievably liberating. I never thought that I could be someone that does something like this. I always heard stories about people that made these drastic career changes and envied them, thinking it would never be me. I've been teaching full time now for almost a year and it has been the most satisfying year of my life. I wake up in the morning and know that I am choosing to do what I do because it serves me, I'm not doing it to fit in to the norms of society or to make a paycheck. I'm doing it for me, and I'm doing it for you. Facing our fears is messy, it's complicated, it's a very personal and exposing experience. It's so easy to want to fall back into our own patterns of safety and numbing, but do you want to be that rat on a wheel for the rest of your days, living your life on autopilot, shut off from truly connecting to your true nature? Or do you want to break through all of this nonsense and live a life that fills you up, that challenges you, and that connects you to the coolest, most inspiring and soul satisfying experience, Authenticity. That's what it's all about guys.
Face your fears, live the life your were meant to and be authentic doing it.
Love you tons