I have spent most of my life being scared. Fear has been such a fundamental part of my life that I was completely unaware that it was even there. I sort of understood that it kept me from doing some of the things that I wanted to do and that it kept me doing many of the things that I didn’t want to do, but other than that it kept itself tucked away in a successful attempt to pretty much sabotage any idea I ever had about getting on with things.
One of the reasons that fear was able to hide itself away so easily is that it tricked me. Seeing as fear is a manifestation of the evil machinations of my ego, my ego came up with all kinds of tricks to keep me in line. One of those was to completely fool me into believing that I was not fearful at all, but instead very, very courageous. Anyone that has ever been intoxicated with me can attest to this false bravado that I carried with me for years. Do an aerial off of a picnic table in a deserted park in the middle of the night? Sure! Hitchhike home from Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach in the middle of the night at the age of 14? Why not?! All of my life I had been chasing courage, trying to prove to everyone, and especially myself, that I had a whole lot of it.
All the while, I watched my life pass me by. Oh, I did some stuff, even some stuff that required a good dose of self-confidence and courage, such as traveling around the world, a lot of the time by myself, and living as an ex-pat on two separate occasions for a total of about 10 years. But none of this required digging down deep and pulling up me, that part of me that I would, in fact, consider the essence of me. As long as I didn’t have to expose myself in any way – I suppose so that I couldn’t be hurt in any way – things were okay. So while I was cruising along, afraid to jump on the bandwagon of my dreams, I stayed stuck. I continued to bartend and wait tables. I hugged tightly to an industry that has served me well as long as I haven’t been serving myself and I dreamed of helping others while being too afraid to help myself.
I have learned some amazing things along the way and have been of service to others many times. I do Reiki and I write; I’ve taught and I’ve experienced the unbelievable joy of being a mother. All good stuff, I promise. But I still hadn’t found my “it” and while I would nod in its general direction every once in a while, I would quickly jump back under the covers. I wanted to discover this thing that I knew was there, but not enough to fully commit to uncovering the years of sludge that were hanging out on top of it.
Finally, though, I reached my tipping point. I had recognized my dream, and I had recognized the fear keeping me from it. I kicked it into high gear: more meditating, more yoga, more reading and writing, more lessons, more actually following the guidance that I was receiving. It has been the most terrifying and the most gratifying time of my life. Everything came to a head about a month ago. I decided to take a Manifestation Yoga workshop with Jennifer Pastiloff. I had read some of her writing (good stuff!) but didn’t know much about her teachings. I signed up without looking into it, which is a blessing because I later saw that she teaches Karaoke Yoga and I don’t know if I’d have gone for it – that was definitely outside of my comfort zone. The workshop was amazing, and I laughed, and I cried, I danced, and yes, I even sang.
When my awesome friend and yoga teacher, Mandy (of Form Yoga, for all you Atlantans), and I first arrived at Hazard County Yoga, where the workshop was being held, we were given tattoos that read, “What are you manifesting?” I put mine on the inside of my left wrist. That workshop and the tattoo were my tipping point. All of the work that I had done finally paid off. A few days after the workshop, I looked down at that peeling mess of a tattoo and thought to myself, “By not doing what I want to be doing, I am only manifesting more of the same…more fear, more anxiety. If I want a change, I have to change.” It hit me. I had read and said those words a hundred times, but at that moment I understood them. That very day I signed up to study health coaching. And every day since, I have committed to following through with “Janet’s Rules to Live By” that I composed during that very workshop, one of which is to do one thing every day that scares the hell out of me. It’s only been a month but things already don’t frighten me that much anymore. You see, once I started living through my fears, I saw that there really is nothing to fear, except for fear itself. Thanks, FDR, I finally really get it.