Day seven of the 21 day meditation Desire and Destiny is titled “Fearless Me” and centers on the idea that we need to conquer our fears in order to reach our own power. Start by asking yourself, “What are you most afraid of?” Some of mine are spiders, dying alone, and the 5 grey hairs I have will turn into 200.
All jokes aside, we do have to look at those deep fears that are seriously holding us back. That’s the only way we can identify and change them. My biggest fear is definitely failure. I fear that I’m trying everything and anything to get my writing and acting out there to no avail. I fear I’ll be stuck in a job I hate forever, using all my free time to create, until I’m so exhausted that I turn into a raving lunatic or a 600 pound couch potato with 18 cats.
But once again the universe brought me the perfect lesson. I’m finishing up my two week new member pass at Wanderlust Yoga (which has definitely won me over as a convert) so I decided to try another new class I didn’t know much about. It was a class called “Yogamaze” and was categorized as level 3. I’ve been doing yoga for a long time, since college, so like 2 years… I mean, over ten years. (Am I really that old?) I feel very comfortable with everything in the level 2 classes, so I thought why not try the level 3? I’m supposed to be challenging myself to grow right?
Well, the very FIRST move we did was a head stand. Yes. A HEAD STAND. Let me preface this by saying I had ONE TIME gotten into dolphin, which is a head stand prep move, and tried to just hop my legs in the air. And I failed miserably. So the thought of going into a full head stand TERRIFIED me. But as I looked around the room at all these obvious yoga buffs, I mean one guy had those peace beads on and everything, I did what anyone deeply afraid of failure would do… refuse to fail. I walked my mat over to the wall like everyone else and then I PANICKED.
I had NO idea what I was doing. I had a hard time not laughing out loud as I frantically looked around to see what everyone was doing, and noticed there was a 60 something year old, white haired lady kicking my ass at head standing. I’m not joking, she was right there with her legs up over her head, heels resting on the wall, taunting me. Everyone else in the class now had their legs over their heads in a modified head stand against the wall. So I put my head down and started to flip my bent legs up over my head. The teacher came around and told me to move my forearms in, then cleared his throat and informed me the adjustment I had made was OUT not IN. I was losing it. I felt like an imposter. But I told myself I’ve always wanted to further my yoga practice, and there had to be a first time for everything. I needed to just go for it. I was the very last one up, but I DID get my legs up onto the wall in a supported head stand. We came down shortly after and I was relieved to think we’d be moving on to something more manageable.
That something more manageable was an ACTUAL headstand. Yes. The teacher wanted us to play with taking our heels off of the wall and balancing completely on our heads. SHIT. This time, by some miracle, I got my legs up over my head almost immediately. Feeling more exhilarated than I had in months, I slowly took one heel, then the other off of the wall. I pressed my forearms into the floor to help the pressure on my head and came into a full head stand for FOUR WHOLE SECONDS. I was so excited I inmediately lost my balance and fell over. I spent the rest of the time trying, and failing, to get my legs back over my head. And then I queefed. I’m not trying to gross you out, I’m trying to show you that not only was I failing, my body was also trying to embarrass me in front of all these super cool zen people.
But none of that mattered. Mostly because everyone was so absorbed with what they themselves were doing to notice me, and the music was pretty loud so no one heard my windy disaster. The point is for the majority of that 5 minute period I looked like a fool. I failed miserably. But for those FOUR seconds I did a head stand and I felt AMAZING.
Deepak mentioned in today’s meditation that some of life’s most spectacular gifts are not found on the road most travelled, they may recquire preparation both figuratively and literally. We need to weed our minds of our fears. And today I felt I was doing just that. I was HAPPY I had mostly failed because without that period of looking like a fool I would have never gotten those four seconds of success. And isn’t that what motivates us to take on challenges? Finding a darma, or desire, within your soul so intriguing that you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen? I’m not convinced that doing head stands is my life’s darma, but I am convinced that if I really wanted to, little by little I could do one for 10 seconds, then 30 seconds, then 4 minutes. But you gotta get over that first hump of fear in order to get there.
Try identifying one thing this week that terrifies you and see if you can take that first step to overcoming it. I promise you it’s mostly in your mind. If you tell yourself you can, you WILL. Here’s a really great quote by Eleanor Roosevelt to close us out:
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
I hope you find your own version of a head stand this week. Together let’s kick fear’s ass.
And so it is.