This morning as I taught an epic 90 minute Power Flow Vinyasa class, I spoke a lot about courage. I thought it an appropriate Sankupla (intention), as I was filling in for the Director (and much respected) principle Teacher at the Yoga Academy at which I've just started teaching. When I was asked to cover the class, the very first thought came from my ego….”No way, you’re not ready for that, you’ve only been teaching Vinyasa a month, this is a really important class! Say no.” How quickly the ego protests and highlights to us all the ways in which we are not ready. Of course, I stepped back from the thoughts, I got underneath mask of fear, I acknowledged it and almost instantaneously I lovingly let it go. I said yes, yes I am ready. Had I let fear dictate, I would have swiftly dismissed the 15 years of study I’d given to other systems of yoga and refused the opportunity to do what I love. If we let it, the ego will ALWAYS give us a reason why not. It tricks us into believing we must be 100% ready, “perfect”, what will people think if I stuff up, get it wrong, or worse how will they judge me? The thing is, we are ALWAYS our own worst critic and judge. You don’t have to be perfect. I promise.
With the fortitude of courage we step into spaces we think are not ready to venture. I stepped into that space this morning, no I wasn't perfect, but I put my heart energy and everything I had to offer, turns out that was more than enough, and what do you know what? I even had FUN!
So what holds us back from stepping in this space of courage? Of course the answer is fear. It is fear that artfully keeps us trapped into jobs that we loath, relationships that don’t serve us, it prevents us from truly stepping into the space of our light, our greatness, and the very real, yet seemingly unattainable state of bliss. Fear is the voice of the ego keeping us small, keeping us in unhealthy patterns, and suspension of our growth. The antidote to fear, is as the Lion in the Wizard of Oz discovers, is courage.
The magic of courage is this. We don’t have to be fully ready to make the change. We just need to take the first step towards our desire for change and keep our faith strong, even when the proof has not yet arrived. Often we think that we need to be 100% ready before we can launch the blog, start the business, present the pitch to the publisher, to quit the job....to ask for a divorce, be ready to speak your truth. Actually, in truth, we are never ready. Never. The trickery of the ego that keeps us stuck, suspend in the belief that at some point there will be the perfect time to act.
When I was trying to decide to quit my corporate job in advertising to travel to India to follow my heart into my true calling to teach Yoga, the voice of my ego’s resistance was almost deafening. There was a constant flip flop of excitement between the possibility of freedom, of following my dharma and life path. Sadly and equally the opportunities for joy were drowned out by fearful thoughts surrounding how I would support myself, maybe I would have to sell my apartment, all that “security” I had worked so hard for at risk. It was courage that got me over the line. I quit the job. Said good-by to the regular pay check, the status of the position, the opportunity to climb the ladder. I was indeed rewarded with the richness of the experience of following my path, the expansion, growth and experiences I had as a result of that choice could have never been matched had I stayed trapped in a job and industry that was just not in alignment with my heart and purpose. Not ever.
As personal development guru Tony Robbins says, “when the pain of doing something becomes so great, that is the point in which we are ready for change”. To that I say, can you spare yourself the pain of any situation that may be keeping you held? Why wait till your body and heart cry out in protest? Do you have the courage to follow the call of your heart? Even if it is leading you to seemingly dark and scary places. The call of the heart, the pain is your compass to light, please don’t ignore it, suppress it or deny it. You deserve the life you imagine. We all do.
It took supreme courage to end the relationship with the father of my two children. It also took a massive dose of it to stay in the relationship for as long as I did. It takes courage to do the work, to look square into the face of that which you are afraid, or have hidden to yourself for fear of what the truth may bring. To see the supreme truth in all areas of your life.
Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.
When we step (or sometimes leap) into courage, we connect into trust and space of vulnerability. It takes true courage to keep the heart open, to continue trust and surrender to life and that which the universe has in store for us. This is a path of the truly brave. A formidable bravery is required to continue stay open after all of lives inevitable hurts and disappointments and failures, and we ALL have those. It’s so important to remember (and it is a remembering) that bravery can, and will be rewarded. Failed business, relationships, dreams, losses, and hopes can, if we let them literally harden the heart, and devastatingly for many lead us to loose hope. If we switch our perception of these so called failures, and see them for what they are, opportunities for learning, we can literally transform our lives into the direction of our dreams.
Where in your life can you bring forth more of the dormant forces of your inner desire for growth, expansion and true alignment to your path. What can you release, energetically, physically in order to open to the possibility of joy?