Feel the fear

I humbly surrender to the universe

Those days happen. When your barriers are down, vulnerabilities are laid bare, and the submerged emotions pour out of your depths weakening cracks and bursting fault lines. The heaviness of the heart seems impossible fear encroaches upon hope. Crawling into a closet and holding yourself seems like the only possible thing to do.

Law of Attraction.

We hear so often in society that positive thinking, intention setting, awareness of the quality of your energy, and the such create your environment. So I try. I try to think positively, to remain hopeful, encouraged, grateful, positive, and all of that juicy goodness. And I’m a believer, don’t get me wrong. That shift in perspective and energy has made a noticeable and has impacted my life for the better.

But some days I need to cry.

Just because I am trying to be positive doesn’t mean that I always feel that way. So often I concentrate harder on being hopeful and positive because I am battling the fear that is rising up. For me, part of the human experience is the gamut of emotions we are capable of feeling. As a result, some days I need to feel the fear. Not because I want to…but because it is inside me and denying its existence is not only futile but perhaps unhealthy. If left ignored, it has the potential to grow without you knowing it and if rendered vulnerable, could consume your very being.

Give yourself permission.

TodayI felt weird and awkward and stepped on the yoga mat with the intention of escaping those feelings. At one point, I was forced to look at the cause of the unease: fear. I’m scared. I’m taking risks I’ve never taken before, I’m struggling in ways new to me, my confidence is so easily dashed, and despite my attempts at remaining open, I am failing my expectations. And so I gave myself permission to cry. I was in my sanctuary, and so I let my guard down completely and fell down the winding hole of failure. What it feels like and what it looks like in this particular moment. It’s so fucking terrifying.

I wish I could say I got off the mat feeling refreshed and back into the positive pleasantries. But an hour wasn’t enough to feel the depths of fear dwelling within me. To see the multi-layered dimensions of that emotion. To understand it and embrace it as an aspect of myself. An hour is not enough, so I am giving myself permission, for one day, to wallow in anguish. To acknowledge it’s presence, and to recognize its incarnations in my life. I am granting myself the time to experience the possibilities of failure. I am dedicating energy to emptying myself of the damaging destruction of despair and purging myself of those debilitating diatribes.

Dance in the darkness of your shadow.

Each of us carries the opposites within us. Losing contact with the shadow self creates an internal rift. Give yourself permission when you need to experience the despair you may be battling. Don’t deny it, dance with it, and then change partners.

The antidote to despair is not to be found in the brave attempt to cheer ourselves up with happy abstracts, but in paying a profound and courageous attention to the body and the breath, independent of our imprisioning thoughts and stories…We take the first steps out of despair b taking on its full weight…despair is a difficult, beautiful necessary, a binding understanding between human beings caught in a fierce and difficult world where half of our experience is mediated by loss. ~ David White

Be compassionate.

Allow yourself to exist in a cave of despair, and curl up with a comforter of compassion, and just breathe.

The Giving Tree


Do you remember that book, The Giving Tree?  I read it as a child, and I found myself thinking today about it. Shel Silverstein’s ability to write for children and adults is astounding. It’s an ageless, timeless lesson that is always good to remember. And it flowed into my thoughts as I was heading home from a family dinner.

TheGivingTreeWhen I was teaching my 1.5 class a couple of days ago, I focused on vrksasana, tree pose. I was reading about it and the idea of tolerance was suggested (tree metaphors are numerous, rooting, branching out, strength in stability combined with flexibility of motion, etc.). I had not really considered tolerance as a tree metaphor and was intrigued. When I meditated on it things like, tolerance of the crazy squirrels that jump from branch-to-branch, tolerance of the nesting birds cuddling into the leaves, tolerance in the form of still giving shade to those who pull off leaves, branches, or even cut the whole tree down came into mind. Tolerance of the wind as it sings through the branches and leaves…Tolerance with ourselves as we sway while trying to balance on one foot…tolerance of others as they shake our emotions and challenge our thoughts. Tolerance for those closest to us who have nestled in and have become comfortable and perhaps a two-way street of taking advantage has blossomed.

So much tolerance a tree can teach us. Being gentle with ourselves as we root to rise, standing tall and strong, and yes maybe swaying a little in the posture…and in life. A tree stands in one place yet there can be so much commotion surrounding it. Just as we are standing at the center of our lives, and our relationships, jobs, hobbies, etc. surround and color our lives. Tolerance…what an amazing thought. It’s the beautiful way of agreeing to disagree, accepting without judgement, loving without limits. And it was that thought that brought me to The Giving Tree. That tree gave everything she had to the boy as he needed things…and I can’t recall (that’s not to say it didn’t happen), the boy ever saying thank you to the tree. And isn’t that a form of tolerance? Giving without expecting anything in return. The tree posture is about finding your balance and strength while remaining standing and through that opening yourself (and your hips) up for tolerance.

It can be such a challenge to be tolerant in this world. Such a challenge to take a step back to adjust your perspective to see from where another is coming and to draw on the compassion of the anahata chakra. Perhaps even more of a challenge, to put aside the differences and to see the gifts that people do provide us in life…the gift of a smile, the gift of a hug, the gift of a calming presence. I think tolerance can teach us to see the beauty in others, not just our differences. Tolerance allows us to truly hear and see people by releasing our own need to be right, or to push our opinions, or to be heard…and instead quieting our own self and opinions, to allow that need in someone else to be met. Tolerance is our gift to each other. 

Much appreciation to my Saturday students who ignited this thought, to my sister who reminded me, my beloved who talked it through with me, and everyone who has ever given the gift of tolerance to me.