Thursday, March 1, 2007

Facing My Fear

Some very interesting things have been happening in my life lately, many uncanny coincidences and awakenings, some I have written about, some I haven't. What's interesting to me is this: yoga has been the conduit.

How is that? How is it that a physical practice like yoga can manifest itself in every facet of my life?

Yoga shakes things up.
Yoga postures, the asanas, are designed to prepare the body for pranayama (breath/breathing) and dhyana, meditation. I'm just now able to even begin focusing more on coordinating breath and movement, and although I've tried, I haven't gotten myself into a regular meditation practice yet. So I don't think some of the very profound lessons I am learning are coming from the stillness of my mind. There is something about the openings in the body that yoga creates, openings that reach the very core of you, so that even cursory attention to the yamas and niyamas plants a seed—then suddenly, you are evolving physically, mentally, and spiritually like never before. I feel like a girl in a snowglobe...some great hand has reached down from the heavens and has begun shaking my little world up and things are flying all around me, and as they begin to settle, only now am I able to truly see. With this new clarity, I can see what I am, what I want to be, that there's a whole other world out there, and that fear has been a part of my life for way too long.

I doubt many people would perceive me as fearful—even I didn't consider fear to be an obstacle in my life until I realized that I didn't call it fear, I called it pickiness or being set in my ways. But the root of not being where I want to be is fear. I'm afraid to change careers and leave the safety of my regular paycheck, hours, and benefits for a shot in the dark. I'm afraid I will fail, even though I've really never failed at anything I've set out to accomplish in my entire life. I'm afraid of looking like an idiot in front of a group of people. So despite the fact that in my heart, I know I need to do something where I call the shots and I provide creative direction, I am stuck in a place where my personality is not really appreciated or appropriate, and I must resign myself to accepting this and sacrificing true contentment, or taking action to change it.

Yoga somehow channels serendipity.
Ironically, even though awareness of my fear has heightened considerably in the last couple months, an interesting chain of events happened today that really got my attention. First, I go to my pre-dawn yoga class this morning, although I had originally planned to sleep in since Dolly would not be teaching today. I found out, however, that Greg, my fellow yoga-teacher-in-training would be subbing the class, and I decided to go in order to support him. I'm terrifically glad I went because there were only four of us in class, and only two of us stayed til the end (since Dolly has a cult following, people bail when she's not there). So I was glad to be a body there for Greg to teach since he made the effort to prepare a sequence and come teach at a very early hour. I was also glad to be there because Greg's lesson for the class was about facing your fears and taking action to move through them. He did an amazing job teaching, and told a story about how forcing himself to do the uncomfortable thing, the thing he's afraid of (like subbing for Dolly, the Queen, as he put it—lovingly, of course!) is the only way to grow, and that doing this can yield very positive results.

After our first yoga teacher training module in January, Greg decided to get on a list of substitute yoga teachers, for the occasional teaching experience. It just so happened that very shortly thereafter, Greg was offered a regular class to teach once a week, and he accepted, and I think he's taught maybe two or three classes. Then Dolly asked him to sub her class, and so in the space of about a month, Greg has gone from yoga student with no teaching experience, to subbing the very class he used to take! All because he put himself on the line, despite his fear and inexperience. He's going to be a great yoga teacher. We did some things today I've never done before—proof that something can be gleaned even from the newest teacher on the block.

Yoga doesn't deflect nasty emails, but helps you cope.
I left class feeling good, feeling inspired, went home and logged on to work just in time to read a pretty volatile email from my boss with some nice BOLD RED ALL CAPS text to show how she's really feeling about me and my opinions. And about two emails later, a coworker launches into a diatribe about how I need to watch what I say in meetings in order not to sound condescending to the people on our team who do support work. I can't recall saying anything that would have made those people feel bad—I had only said that I am not interested in doing support work as it is not my thing. I've dealt with this before. Often, though I have no intention of sounding condescending, demanding, or argumentative, my voice and tone and personality come across that way. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the morning seething, but immersed myself fully in work assignments in order to keep from thinking about those emails.

Around noon I decided to take a break and walk my dog since it was supposed to rain in the afternoon when I usually walk him. I put on my hat, grab my iPod, and the battery is dead. Excellent, I'm thinking. I'll never escape my mind. As I stepped outside, it started to drizzle. I'm not kidding. Aggravated but not deterred, we walked. With each step, and nothing to distract my mind, I felt myself getting more angry about the emails, my job, feeling stuck, all of it. About five minutes into the walk, The Law of Attraction popped into my head. So I thought, I'm not going to sit here and stew about how my life sucks and work sucks and people suck. Because If I spend my energy on negativity, nothing good will come out of it. I changed my thoughts to I want an opportunity, I need an opportunity, that's all I need to begin moving to a better place. For a few more steps, I thought opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. And then I didn't think of work or opportunities again...until...my brother calls me around mid-afternoon.

Why is he calling? Long story short: He knows someone who might be looking for a yoga teacher for a new school that is currently under construction. He told her about me and wanted to give me her info so I could get in touch with her. No sooner than I had thought opportunity, it comes a-callin'. It was just downright freaky, given Greg's class in the morning and my Law of Attraction moment in the afternoon.

I don't know what will happen with this opportunity, but I did email the woman (who happens to have the same last name as me), so I am taking action. I asked for the opportunity, right? The only way to progress is to face my fears. Do I need to teach? No. Could this be my catalyst? Possibly. She might actually want me to teach. And the only way I'll ever know if it is right for me is to do it.

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