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November 2015

Blog life Yoga

Fear

November 16, 2015

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can keep us stuck, too afraid to move on or try something new. It amazes me how something intangible can have such a strong effect, can hold you back, keep you from change or progress.

And it comes in so many forms! Things I fear are not the same things you fear, and our fear manifests itself differently in everyone. For being such a broad emotion, it’s a little strange we only have one word to describe it.

Elizabeth Gilbert, in her new book Big Magic, writes wrestles with the relationship between fear and creativity. I’ve been slowly working my way through this book, and, as life is want to do, my recent yoga practice has been focused on fear as well.

In one class last week, the teacher began class with a thought: fear is an emotion. We should acknowledge its presence but don’t let it rule us.

Both the book and yoga come at the emotion of fear in a similar way—fear is real, fear is necessary, but fear shouldn’t stop you. See the fear but give it space. Let it be and don’t let it hold you back.

True life story.

My yoga classmates can do beautiful poses. I’m talking handstands, headstands, binds, crazy beautiful poses I can only dream of doing. I’ve always admired their ability but, until recently, had never tried some of the poses for myself. Why? I was afraid of falling.

In the middle of class one day, during a difficult pose, my teacher paused and offered a gentle reminder that there is nothing to fear. If you fall out of a pose, who cares?

You’ll never know if you can do it if you let the fear of falling stop you from trying.

For whatever reason, her comments struck a chord, and I tried the pose, whatever it was. And ever since then, when there is a pose I “can’t” do, I do it anyway. Even though my feet feel like they’re stuck in cement every time I contemplate trying a new pose, I try. And every time I try it again, my feet lift easier and easier. Sure, I fall out of poses all the time. But I get back into it and try again.

It feels so good every time I see my fear and to keep going. And while it’s easier to do this in yoga than, say, going to the top of the Eiffel Tower (I didn’t let my fear of heights stop me, even though I was afraid) practicing dealing with your fear in any way helps you in every other way. By facing fear in a safe place, like on your yoga mat, you can become comfortable with it. This makes it easier to face fear in other situations.

As Elizabeth Gilbert says, fear may be the passenger in the car, but no way in hell will you ever let it drive (or even read the map).

If you let it, fear will rule your life. It will keep you stagnant, never letting you dream big or reach for the stars. But it’s just an emotion, same as happiness, sadness and joy. It’s not better, it’s not worse, it just is. And we need to let it be okay to feel fear but know we need to move past it to truly continue living and life full of wonder and creativity.

Life snapshot

Life snapshot November 2

November 2, 2015

Things I’m excited for

1. Girl’s weekend with my old coworkers! This is us this last weekend at Halloween:

girls_halloween

2. The reopening of my pottery studio! After a month of renovations (and my own personal summer hiatus) the studio is reopening!

3. Being finished with my holiday sections at work. This means I can stop stressing about the holidays and start to enjoy them (whenever I choose to start planning. Which is NOT the day after Halloween).

Project goals and updates

1. Pottery! Now that the studio is open again, it’s time to start getting so dirt under my fingernails. And by dirt I mean clay. And glaze.

2. My wedding photo album is done! I gave myself a goal of finishing it by the time we had our 1 year anniversary, and I finished it with a week to spare (never mind that I only started it with three weeks to spare…)

3. My Ireland scrapbook is well underway. It’s been so much fun revisiting the photos and memories from that trip.

Ireland scrapbook

4. Bonus – I’ve started needle felting! So far I’ve made a cat toy and a few parts for a necklace. All simple but all very fun.

Current obsessions

1. Orange and cinnamon spice tea.

2. This vegan chili cheese dip. It was a hit at our Halloween party this weekend!

3. Sitting on the couch devouring book.

Which brings me to the bonus category this week:

What I’m reading (and have recently read)

1. Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. A heartwrenchingly honest memoir about the first year after her husband’s death. (read)

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The first of a three-part series, I devoured this book in one day. A wonderful story aided by fantastical black and white photos. (read)

3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had really high expectations of this book but was severely disappointed with the first section. It read like a super simple and cheesy self-help book. However, the second section picked up, so I will reserve final judgement until finished. (currently reading)