"If you begin to face your fears, something bittersweet is going to happen to you: You'll grow up." –Martha Beck- Finding Your Own North Star
Taking the practice of Yoga step by step will lead to big changes, and allow you to face your fears more easily. I know this much; in order to fully enjoy life you must renounce your fear and anxiety. I spent too many years of my life being terribly afraid (afraid of not being perfect, afraid of what others might think, afraid of failing, afraid someone I loved would leave me if I didn't do my life right according to them, afraid of really being happy, afraid of being myself). I don't want that for you.
Rinpoche talks about how we all have a soft spot, and that fear-like responses such as worry or resentment occur because we are trying to cover up that soft spot. Most of us tend to hurry past pain but this hurrying causes more tension instead of healing. If we spend more time with what we fear, we can look into that pain and release some of the tension. So when we practice Vinyasa Yoga, we feel the power of flow using it to face, heal and release fear.
When people ask me how I got past a way of fearful living, I tell them I practiced a ton of yoga – daily in fact. I came to the mat and faced my fears like that of going upside down, holding a pose into sensation, like bending my knee deeper in Warrior or balancing on one leg. The Buddha says, if a person is struck by an arrow and is in a lot of pain, there is that. But what if a 2nd arrow hit the person in the same spot, the pain would be 100 times more intense because he/she was already wounded. If you recognize fear or worry, then you can help STOP another arrow of fear or worry hitting you in that same spot.
The time on the mat helps us to prevent the second arrow. I have slowly, small step by small step, grown more confident, and now I practice with mindful elegance and honesty so as to express my natural joy. You see, when we truly experience the openness of our heart we eliminate the power fear has over us.
I also repeat these mantras to myself:
I Am Free
I Am Not Humiliated by Guilt or Worry
May we use today to notice our lives right now, facing our fears as they are, learning how to stop avoiding ourselves and instead simply being ourselves — shadow and all. This may be the most courageous task we can possibly accept.
I also want to offer you the opportunity to do something real:
This week, I challenge you to think about 1 situation in your life that you keep saying you are going to face but get so bogged down with the result that you aren't taking the steps necessary to get started. Then commit to taking one small beginning step in facing this situation. You will see yourself achieve your intention by dedicating yourself to the millimeters of progress. And as a result, I promise you — you will grow up.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia