“There is so much fear out there right now.” That is what we say. That is what I say. I say it to normalize the trepidation a person might feel, I say it to soothe the anxiety someone is experiencing, but maybe I say it, maybe we say it, as a defense to feeling the fear. After all, fear feels scary.
A friend finally got back into enough of a routine to work yoga back into her weekly regiment. She told me that it wasn’t to long after she had her coat on and mat in hand that she felt the fear. “Oh, yeah. I forgot,” she told me, “Yoga scares the bejesus out of me.”
In class on her mat the fear came in waves. She was fearful of being seen. She was fearful of doing it wrong or, more accurately, of being wrong. And what if she was seen? What if she was wrong? “Well, then,” she paused and said, “I would be a bad person.” She looked funny. She knew it made no sense, but still it was what she feared. “Wait,” she then said, with some sense of an epiphany. “That is a child’s way of thinking.”
Next week on the mat she breathed. I mean really breathed. With intention and with purpose, intending and purposing self support. She stood tall out of her spine and decided to let herself really get to know fear: as she stretched and struggled to maintain a pose; as she fell out of step with the class; and as she misunderstood a pose. She bore witness to her own reflection in the seemingly unforgiving mirrored wall.
She discovered that it wasn’t really the fear that made her feel dreadful, it was the anticipation of fear. She noticed that once she allowed herself to cross the threshold and step into her fear, that fear itself was small and vulnerable. She held the fear in her mind as if she was blind and felt it without expectation. “It was soft and fragile”, she said. “It easily broke into sadness,” she told me. “Holding Anjaneyasana, I breathed into the fear and let the sensations of it fill my body. There were tears and fear was released. The fear of yoga, but also the the other things I had been fearing.”
Propensities towards child-like thinking can inhibited our growth. My friend was ultimately grateful to be stretching her body, mind, and spirit. She found gratitude in the expression and release the fear to the realization of her profound strength. My friend’s story is good reminder to check in with our thoughts, our feelings, and our physiology from time to time. We might just learn that we are not really as afraid as we thought we were.
Would you like to learn more about living mindfully? Schedule from all around the world with Tami at attentiontoliving.com or call and talk with her today at 410-382-0518.