Isn't it odd how one can get hit by the biggest wave of insecurity ever - just when things are actually going pretty well?
I never in a million years thought I would be a Yoga teacher one day. I also never thought I would own my own business (me? an entrepenur? no way!). Yet, here I am.
I'm living my dream! And doing that makes me so happy and grateful.
But it also is difficult beyond measure. Not only am I putting myself very much on display for the world (especially now that I'm getting ready to start filming stuff for YouTube), but I am also very aware that I could totally fail at this! And I'm sure if there's one thing all entrepreneurs, teachers, and coaches have in common it is the fear of failure.
I've struggled with insecurity a lot over the years. And no matter how confident I think I am about Yoga and teaching Yoga, this work still challenges me deeply.
When I stumbled across this Steve Furtick quote last week, it immediately became the theme of my classes. It's so true, isn't it? We do compare all the little details and mis-steps and out-takes of our own life with the stuff other people present to the world! And all the while we forget that each person has their own out-takes and bloopers and behind-the-scenes stuff that we don't get to see.
It's really not fair, is it?
This is where comparison always gets super sticky. Because comparison is never real. It's easy for me to look at other Yoga teachers and feel like I must be doing something wrong - because what I do as a Yoga teacher is SO different! There are a few other Yoga teachers in the world doing the type of work I choose to do but even among us there are many differences. There really is no road-map. And, in a way, that's exciting and glorious because I can pave my own way. But the part of me that craves security finds that kind of terrifying.
A recent example of this is my retreat planning. You see, I had it in my head that I had a rather ambitious goal to plan my first Yoga retreat for the summer/early fall of 2014. I thought that was an aggressive goal since most Yoga teachers wait several years before offering their first retreat. But, when I mentioned to my Sunday morning students, in passing, that I was hoping to do a retreat next year - one boldly inquired, "Why not this year?".
I think my jaw must have hit the floor. I'm pretty sure I sputtered. It was not a graceful moment y'all. Especially when other students chimed in excitedly about the idea of a retreat THIS year.
But it really was awesome in an epic kind of way. My students want a retreat this year, not next year. I was holding back - afraid to rush things, but they were ready. Who knew??
It's because of that conversation that I just took a major leap of faith and put down a (rather large) deposit on a property for my first ever Body Positivity Yoga Retreat for THIS September. (FYI - I'll totally be linking that to my retreat page once the details are up, hopefully later this morning).
But I digress.
The point, here, is that it really comes down to remembering that what each of us has to offer the world is so different that comparing ourselves to others is really rather futile. We each have gifts. We each have fears. We each have our own things we struggle with in our lives - and we each have our own dreams. What purpose is truly served by comparing?
For myself, this is a work in progress. But I'm learning, slowly, that being wildly and boldly myself no matter what others are doing is one of the best things I can do for my own well being. What about you?
Earlier this week, I got into an argument with one of my man-children, Steven.
We're at this interesting stage where he is an adult, still living at home, and I am now home a lot more than I used to be. So there is the usual head-butting that goes on at this time in his life but it's combined with some pretty big changes in the day to day living dynamics at home. Among these is the fact that we're spending a lot more time together than we were used to.
The thing is, that no matter how well you get along with someone, normally, sometimes life circumstances really just mess with that. Steven and I normally get along pretty well, especially for a 19 year old man-kid and his step-mother! But, we also have a heck of a lot in common. Among the traits we seem to share is stubbornness.
I'm sure you can imagine, then, that when we both get our stubborn faces on and dig in our heels, things can get interesting.
I don't even really remember what started this argument except that we were both convinced we were right and the other person was wrong. Isn't that how most arguments begin?
But, as is often the case with arguments - it got out of hand. Pretty soon, I was trying to make him listen to me no matter what as I explained (a bit TOO thoroughly) why I was right. And this led to some inevitable frustration and he ended up losing his temper and yelling at me.
Fast forward about ten minutes and we were BOTH in tears and feeling like it was all our fault. Because another trait we have in common is our tendency to self-blame.
Thankfully, my wife was able to offer us both some much needed perspective. She wisely reminded us both that everyone has things about themselves - habits, patterns, and general "stuff" that comes up sometimes when we get disconnected during an argument. She validated us both by reminding us that we're allowed to be angry. Sure, we could have both handled our frustration and anger better but the feelings were valid.
This is still something I'm really working on... the idea that it's okay to be angry.
Whenever I get frustrated or angry, there is a degree of anxiety - partly because it doesn't feel like it's allowed. This adds a whole new level of tension to the experience of being angry.
One of the things I've been working on is the process of allowing or surrendering to the feeling of being angry. Not necessarily acting on it but, in a way, revelling in it. Because when I embrace the feeling of anger (or frustration, disappointment, or sadness), I find that the feeling only lasts a few minutes.
I read somewhere once, a long time ago, that our emotions are like clouds in the sky. The natural state of our mind and emotions is calm and clear but over top of that are the clouds of our feelings and emotions. But the interesting thing about clouds is that they are never still. They are always on the move. If you lie on your back and stare up at a blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds, you'll notice that the clouds you're gazing at twenty minutes from when you begin are totally different ones!
Why is that so significant?
Because, it means that no matter how angry, sad, frustrated, disappointed, or upset you feel right now, that feeling is already in the process of moving along in the sky of your mind. If you resist it, pretend it's not there, or try to stuff it down it's more likely to stick around longer. But if you allow the cloud to float across the sky at it's normal pace, you'll find it gone before you know it.
This isn't just woo-woo stuff, you guys, I promise! I've done this and it does work. I remember one time I experimented with this very much on purpose. My wife, Peggy, had done something to annoy me and I got mad. But instead of trying to fix it or address it or make it go away the "traditional" way, I just dove directly into the anger (silently). As we went about our grocery shopping, I intentionally focused on HOW mad I was at her. I let the anger just fill me right up. It must have been less than five minutes later when no matter how hard I tried, the anger was still dissipating. In fact, it became so hard to hold onto that letting it go was the only option available to me.
Afterwards, I felt great because instead of telling myself I wasn't allowed to feel that way or, perhaps worse, projecting my feelings onto my wife, I allowed my feelings to be there - to be accepted.
Now, don't get me wrong. It's way easier said than done. But it's a practice I am definitely continuing to work on because it makes such a huge difference in how I'm able to handle difficult situations when they arise. In the recent argument with my son, I didn't dive into the feelings - instead I tried to force a resolution which resulted in an unpleasant outcome. But afterwards, Steven and I were both able to admit that we could have handled things better while still validating each other's right to feel the way we felt.
Everyone gets angry. We're all entitled to our feelings. Sometimes giving ourselves the permission to FEEL our feelings is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.
Cattle Egret by cuatrok77
Last week, I wrote about tuning in to find your inner voice, your inner wisdom in order to shut out all the external noise, dig deep, and really discover what you want to do or how you want to live.
But this brought me to the next logical question and one I bump into all the time. Once you hear that inner voice, and it tells you something - how do you know you can trust it?
Here's the blunt reality - you don't. There is no flashing sign, no neon lights, nothing to say YES you are absolutely right. Crappy, right?
Except... that's an oversimplification.
In this journey to get to know yourself, to learn who you really are inside, there is also a process by which you learn to recognize when that inner voice is truth and when it is, instead, programming, conditioning, old baggage, old friends, lovers or family members echoing in your mind.
For me, this process (which is still ongoing by the way), is not an easy one. I have a lot of complicated relationship and family and emotional baggage that I am still really working my way through. So, inevitably, there are times when I "tune in" only to find that it is not my voice at all - but my Mother's or an ex or an ex best friend who is talking. The tricky part is learning to recognize that when it happens and dig just a little deeper to find your voice underneath even that, no matter how quiet.
And once you hear it, you make a conscious choice to trust it. This is where the leap of faith comes in.
But I'll be straight with you. It's not easy. Especially at first. Trust comes with time. It is far more natural for many of us to self-doubt, to feel insecure, to think that we couldn't possibly know what's best for us. And yet, we all do! We all have an innate wisdom within us. That is my belief, anyway, and even if it does sound a little woo-woo, it's proven to be true in my life.
Mull that over. Because, this week, I'll be playing with self-trust both in my own personal Yoga practice - and with my students.
See you on the mat!
So often, I find myself in a situation where I seem to be completely surrounded and inundated with everyone else’s thoughts, opinions and beliefs. Sometimes, the hardest thing in the world (it seems) to do is to figure out what I think, what I feel, or what I believe.
Whether it’s a decision about my step-sons, my job, my love life or even what I should wear, it just often seems so noisy in the world. There is messaging around you all the time that tells you what you should wear, how you should parent, how much money you should make, how much sex you should be having, how much stuff you should own, what type of food you should eat, how you should spend your free time, and the list goes on and on and on. .
So, with all that noise, how do you figure out what’s true for you when it’s time to make a decision about what you want to do?
You tune in.
“Oh sure,” I can hear you all say, “just like that?”
Yes. Just like that.
Tuning in, for me, is a two step process. First, I have to shut out all the noise, and then I need to specifically check in with my Self, the center of me, where my own true innate wisdom lies. How I go about that may not be the same way you would go about it. But if you don’t know where to start, maybe try my method and see what you think of it.
Use this feedback to come to your own truth and then, most importantly, bravely follow it!!
That is tuning in.
So, tell me below in the comments - did you try this method? What were the results? Or, if you have another method of tuning in, tell me about it!