Originally written for Down Under's Voice's Blog
Something I have noticed in my relatively short time on this planet is how so many people live in fear and in resistance to letting go. Let me be clear: I am included in this observation of humans who live this way. We are pumped full of contradictory advice, and unrealistic expectations of how we are supposed to be, and when we're supposed to "have it all figured out." It's easy to be scared. Scared of failing, scared of change, scared of letting go for fear of the unknown.
Many of you know, (and many of you don't) that what brought me to my yoga mat for the first time almost 17 years ago, was a life of gymnastics and ballet, i.e injury and anorexia. I now consider the tumultuous times of physical and emotional pain, to be my biggest blessing and teacher, because ultimately it's what got me on the path to healing myself and being able to hold a healing space for others. I knew after my very first yoga class that I found my "thing." When I love someone or something, I won't let go. Some call it stubborn; I call it loyal and dedicated. When I love, I love with my whole being and you get all of me. Yoga received all of me just as I was (and continues to do so) and allowed me to heal, grow, be vulnerable and see a clear path for myself.
Somewhere along the journey of life, I got married and had a couple of babies. Becoming a mother has shaped me more than anything has in my 33 years here. Children are little mirrors and can be the littlest, biggest teachers on this planet if we let them be. That's not always easy though. It's often very challenging and unpleasant to be faced with seeing all your faults and places you can improve on being a better human. But isn't that INCREDIBLE?! That we'd be given a chance to go so much deeper within ourselves that we can become better, and eventually the best, version of who we have always been? I think so.
However, I have realized how far down the fear rabbit hole I had gone since becoming a mother. At some point, I began saying no to things I used to say yes to, because I was scared to either: leave my babies, trust anyone but me, fail at motherhood, fail at something I used to be good at but no longer was...the list goes on. No was easier. I lost myself in all this fear and all these no's.
Whenever I notice how disconnected to myself I am, my "go-to" has always been to go on a yoga retreat with teachers who I trust with my whole being. It always brings me home to myself and allows me to go into that safe space within, to see what's going on. So, in February of this year (2019), I went to Guatemala to reconnect with my spirit who felt so suffocated I didn't know what else to do. It worked. It just worked a little differently this time than the last few retreats I'd been on. This time, it lasted a lot longer and was quite a bit more painful. It was in Guatemala that I realized how fearful of a space I had been living in. I was very validated in why my fears existed, as in January 2018, my husband suddenly lost his job of 7 years and we had a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old, and I had just scaled way back on working so I could focus on mothering 2 children instead of 1. That spiraled me into a fearful space!
Guatemala allowed me to see how far we'd come out of that darkness and into a lighter, more stable, wonderful space...which was the biggest blessing. But it also meant I had a lot of work to do! It meant I needed to start saying YES when my knee-jerk reaction was to say NO...and this was scary! It was also invigorating, and it ignited so much life within me. So I started saying YES.
I went sky diving. I participated in a triathlon. I signed up for a spartan race (coming up soon!). I signed up for another retreat next March to Colombia so I'm not waiting to be in the darkness to go on retreat, but going from a lighter space to get even deeper work done! I became a vegan. The list goes on. The work continues...and the more I say yes, the more grounded I feel. When I notice something I might want to do, if it seems scary, then I do it and show myself how strong I am.
A profound realization for me in the observation of so much fear is how little faith and trust people place in themselves, and therefore in others. I have always considered myself a very spiritual person who believes in God, Mother Nature, the Universe (whatever you want to label it)...but what I realized is how disconnected I was to having faith and trust in myself when I kept saying no, and being scared. Every time I say yes, I trust the Universe, I trust my path, and I trust myself that I'm living a bold, beautiful life with no regrets.
So many of us are disconnected from our Spirit because we live in a world that can be quite painful when we are truly connected to what's going on within us, and around us. Sometimes it's just easier to be disconnected, just to get through the day. The question I ask myself though is: is that really what I want out of this life I have? I'd rather feel the intensity of being connected because I know I'll be bringing my true, vulnerable, brave Self to the table and there won't be room for fear...only compassion and love. That in and of itself is scary, but if we all say YES and show up, then we have nothing to lose.
What are you going to be courageous enough to say YES to this year?
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