I woke up this morning full of fear.
Fear of what happens next, of where I’m going, of how little control I have over so many things. In my meditation today, I noticed I’m not only afraid of what might happen, but also of what might not. For the first time in a long time, I emerged from my morning sit feeling more anxious than I went into it.
I read an old piece I had written about bravery and still felt stopped. Feel the fear and do it anyway? Not today.
Rather than rush headlong into the day’s to-do list, I headed to Pete Guinosso’s Candlelight Flow class to try and give my anxiety some space to move and sweat.
At the opening of the class, Pete mentioned that today is civil rights activist Rosa Park’s birthday, which is celebrated in California as Rosa Parks Day. And he read us this quote:
As I moved through my sweaty vinyasa, twisting, balancing, I noticed how my movements had purpose. I have been practicing asana for a long time and my body knows what to do. Pete says “down dog” and without needing to think, I can move into that shape.
I know what must be done and I do it.
As we built and opened through the class, I worked through little difficulties: warming the hamstrings, noticing my resistance to one more strong abdominal hold, balancing in ardha chandrasana (half moon). These poses challenge me, but they’re possible. A little effort and I can get there.
We move into parivritta trikonasana (revolved triangle) and I remember how difficult I used to find this pose. As a new yoga teacher I was frightened to teach it, because it required so much concentration to stay balanced myself, let alone balance and talk students through it. Almost nine years later, it’s effortless, to do and to teach.
Our peak pose this morning was parvritta ardha chandrasana (revolved half moon). Already sweaty with exertion, I pushed myself into it. I felt that moment of wobble as I moved my eyes skyward, noticed the attention that was required to lift, extend and open. It really took something to hold the pose today. I could feel my muscles straining, my heartbeat in my ears, my breath working hard to be smooth.
But as I worked into one side and then the other, I was filled with a sense of achievement. It was hard and I did it. I didn’t fall. I kept breathing. I overcame.
I look at my life and I see how easy it would be to just keep doing the poses I know: to do things I find effortless and easy. There is a safety in doing what is right in front of you; of taking the options that are being offered. But I know choosing those options doesn’t bring as much growth. Life can be simpler, but it’s not as expansive.
I don’t want to be safe. I want to be BRILLIANT.
I want to inspire and be inspired. I want to have the kind of life that lives up to MY expectations, to do things that make ME proud. To be pulled into every day with purpose and passion.
Living from that space, there’s no room for fear.