Much of my life, now that I look back, I have operated out of a place of fear. Fears that were instilled into me in my childhood and with experiences as I continued on into adulthood. Operating out of fear has not always serve my Highest Self. Driving down my road of life went from feeling like smooth sailing on a freshly paved highway to a bumpy dirt road to eventually white knuckling the steering wheel while driving up and down cliff faces, heart racing and hoping I wasn’t going to die. This in turn caused a lot of darkness and mixed with hormones of entering into motherhood, I can recognize that I was in and out of the vicarious cycle of anxiety and depression.
Like most people, I can look back on my life and see dark times and joyful times; but the last few years seemed harder to get back to the joyful times than it used to be. I spent a lot of time, money, and energy on healing and have loosened my grip on the steering wheel. The road isn’t a smooth sailing highway, but more like a road with twists, turns and bumps that I can handle without the fear of dying. So many things went into and came out of my healing; but something I want to honor today and forever is courage. The courage it takes to stick through a healing process when everything else in your life is just trying to survive on the inside is one of the most difficult things I have done yet to date. Taking the blame, resentment, anger and hurt away from everyone and everything externally for my suffering and turning inward was extremely courageous. And ugly. And hard. And beautiful. And easier and easier.
I used to operate out of fear so much that I had suffocated my inner voice that led from the heart; my Highest Self. I am still working on deciphering which voice is coming from my fear-based ego or from my heart. In fact, I get so scared about making the wrong decision; that I am not listening to my heart and I get stuck in fear mode just when making a decision. Sheesh! Talk about a libra with fear issues?!? The answer lies within your courage. If something sounds scary (unless its life threatening), it is worth looking into. Try that one. If you can’t breathe yourself out of the fear, trust enough, or release- just face it. Just face your fear. Immediately feel ease.
Following the book of Deborah Adele’s book The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice; under Ahimsa, the first step in your practice is courage. Trying at least one courageous thing each day. Does this mean jumping out of an airplane? No, for me it meant small (yet big) things. I had bought big new bright yellow earrings that were a bit eccentric. I really liked them but felt fear in wearing them. Fear that people would think they were ugly, which in turn would think I was ugly, think I was too bold; and then the fear of not being good enough or accepted by others would rear its ugly head. So I wore the earrings. Along with a bright orange dress. I spent the rest of the day out in public. No one publicly said anything to me- did they like them? Did they think they were ugly? Did they think less of me? No one said anything. I didn’t receive a compliment or any level of approval or disapproval. But I felt comfortable and smiled in my heart when I remembered that I was wearing them. Then my beautiful 5 year old daughter complimented me on my earrings and throughout the day would smile and ask if she could touch them.
I now have a new memory of these earrings- a fun light-hearted connection with my daughter. I also feel my great level of courage that no one even saw. But they probably felt more of my light heartedness in my interactions because I wasn’t even thinking about my earrings and how they made an impact on me or what others thought of them. I was present and connecting and being courageous and everyone enjoys me more that way. This day I had the courage to tell my fears of not being accepts or worthy enough to wear some bold earrings slipped away. And the reward was beautiful.
Ahimsa is the act of non-violence. This is in many different references, but in this case I practice non-violence against myself. My Self. By listening to my fears of what other people might thing, I was holding myself back in fear and violently putting myself down. Dang, did it feel good to not have this. The moment I chose ahimsa, walked out of the house with my big bold outfit; the fear slipped away and my courageous fun light shone out.
For me lately, the biggest courage that I have had no one has been able to “see” or would record in the Guinness book of world records. But it’s some of the hardest courage I have had to build up and say yes. Having the courage to look at how I am living my internal life, sit with the pain and heal. Courage to tell my fears a big NO and feel at ease; allowing the connection of love to enter with what matters most- my daughter.
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