Here something to think about: consider a decision you’re facing. Truly, take a moment to come up with a crossroads you face in your life, right now. Do you have it?
Now, consider this: what if the answer to your decision is already there?
The answer is already here.
What if you don’t have to figure this out, you just have to see the answer in front of you? And it is there, you’re just not seeing it.
In the past year, I’ve learned that the answer is always right in front of me. Usually, it’s been there for a while and I blew right past it a long time ago.
How to find this answer?
We know it when we physically feel it.
And the feeling is ease.
Which brings me to the first of Five Forms of Courage for March: The Courage of Grace and Ease
What do I know of ease, you may be wondering? The answer is: almost nothing.
I know a lot about avoiding this feeling.
I know how to work really, really hard. I take on more than I can handle (trying to get my responsibilities done, yes, but I absolutely try to help everyone else in my life, too) and I kill myself to get it all done. I get up early, stay up late and work on weekends (sounds super fun, right?).
Almost always, this hard work involves making everything more complicated than it needs to be. This looks like:
- debating about my options and never taking an action, like these yoga blankets I’m loving but not sure which style to pick when I could just pick what feels the best;
- any variety of financial budgeting when really I could just spend only when I feel abundant;
- any dieting and monitoring the food when I could just stay connected to my body.
The list goes on.
Take it from someone who knows: this is a giant waste of time.
It takes a lot more courage to not work hard.
(As if this is all up to you – I’m learning, it never, ever is) And, instead feel out the answer that already showed up. Once I started, last May, to believe that there is a perfect, simple solution, and I felt the ease, I started finding there answers everywhere.
I’m still pretty terrible at this.
Last week, I decided to move Yoga Fire to anothing space, thanks to the suggestion of a yoga teacher friend and student. The first person I spoke to about my choice to move said, “I have a space you could use.”
My knee-jerk reaction was, it can’t be that easy.
So, instead of jumping at the opportunity handed to me, I decided I needed to find all of the possible options to be sure I went to “the right” one. (As if there is one right option; as if I’m in control of all of this.)
I spent the entire next day driving around town with Amelie, looking at special spaces that I’ve had my eye on. At every turn, the answer to my question – could I host Yoga Fire here? – was a clear, “Nope.” I drove up to a small church in Vinings that I thought could be amazing for Yoga Fire services. Its entrance was completely blocked by an enormous fallen oak tree from the previous night’s storm. That’s a pretty clear “no.” So, I moved on to a check out a barn in Vinings that’s always open to the public, and the gates were closed and locked tight for the first time in my experience.
At every turn, the answer was “no.” At the end of the fruitless day’s search, I visited the very first studio space offered to me. It is perfect in every way for what I’m doing: it feels special, it feels safe, it’s beautiful, it’s convenient for my students, it’s convenient for me.
Why didn’t I follow the ease?
Because I felt scared. I didn’t even know I felt scared – I thought I just wanted to find “the right” space. But once I saw that this space had everything I was looking for, I realized I had resistance to being here.
I felt afraid of teaching Yoga Fire in Buckhead, which is the part of Atlanta where I grew up. It’s also where I live, now.
Because I was groomed from birth to believe it is possible, and very important, to manage other people’s perceptions of me, teaching a class that’s so close to my heart and powerful, so close to my everyday life, feels vulnerable. My class is not: Let’s pretend to be fine and be polite to each other, and act happy. My class is: It’s safe to be honest, it’s safe to feel, it’s safe to relax and be yourself – happy, sad, angry or scared. (And it’s safe to figure out what all of that even means.)
Growing up, whatever I thought people thought of me determined how I felt about myself. If people like me, I felt good about myself. If someone doesn’t like me, I feel bad about myself.
It’s an incredibly, incredibly painful way to live life. It’s taken me my entire life so far to begin to grasp that approval, self-worth and love have nothing to do with one another.
Here is reality: I cannot control anyone’s view of me. Another person’s opinion of me is always a reflection of that person’s thinking, and has nothing to do with me. Ever. (Isn’t it mind-blowing?) Approval by any group of people has nothing to do with love or my self-worth. Love can’t be earned. Love can’t be lost. If I lose someone’s love because I made a mistake, or because I am honest, then it was never love to begin with.
I’ve even found out that rejection isn’t a bad thing, in reality, either.
It’s totally appropriate and normal that I felt scared. But it’s also old stuff, and healthy for me to work through this, again.
Our resistance keeps us from seeing the answer.
Just like I’m not meant to walk into Yoga Fire with complete control, confident that I, alone, found myself the perfect space, you’re not meant to figure out your answer on your own, either. I needed the help of a friend who suggested the move. I needed the help of a friend who offered me use of this space. I’m meant to teach my class with humility, together with my fear and love and excitement.
Our answer involves other people.
Are we willing to feel the ease? Are we willing to feel anything else that comes up for you?
Consider the crossroads, again, that you face today. Any decision, any intersection where you could choose many different paths. There is an answer, right now, already in front of us. Just like there was for me with Yoga Fire’s space. I’m not special. What we want wants us back, right now. We know it when we feel the ease.
Our answer involves feeling our feelings.
Are we willing to also feel the fear, the disappointment, the frustration, and everything else that accompanies actually taking that courageous step?