Do something every year that scares you a little. Well, maybe not make-your-heart-stop scare, but makes you freak out a bit, or wildly nervous, or horribly uncomfortable. I honestly cannot remember a year where I haven’t done something that made me a bit squeamish and, for me, that feeling of nerves spinning in my stomach is always a signal that I am on the right track and challenging myself in best way possible.
I have never been someone to take life sitting down. There’s so much to do within the confines of the time and space that is my lifetime and I want to look back when I’m old and gray, but still able to put my leg behind my head and rock a yoga posture, and say, “Wow! Thank you for this awesome life!” to the Powers That Be.
So many people run away from that nervous feeling or try and control it. Why is that? Is it because you are poking at the membrane of your comfort zone? If you take the next step you might have to…I don’t know…change?! That might be hard. That might hurt. But.. it also might be worth it.
Nerves seem to be the theme of my past week. I have had more than one first time student walk into the studio filled with jitters for the class ahead. These are my favorite kind of first time students. They are nervous because they don’t know what to expect, or if they will make it through class, or as one said to me last week, “I won’t die in there, will I?” They are not taking for granted the amazing, yet daunting, task ahead of them – experiencing a Traditional Hot Yoga class in all its sweaty, red-faced glory. They are ready for not only a new experience, but the potential the experience has to change them for the better.
For those new students that come into the studio with a somewhat blasé attitude, a take it or leave it approach, it will still be a good class. It will be a workout. They will sweat. They might even have to take a seat and wonder at the heat, but it won’t affect them in the same way. They won’t walk out of class with pride shining from their eyes at what they were able to accomplish. They won’t search the schedule for the best time to make it back to class the following day, knowing they are going to have to prove to themselves that they can do this again, and soon.
Nerves are a funny thing. They are there to work with, not run from. I remember my first yoga competition, as I waited in line to take the stage and perform my set of postures, the woman behind me exclaimed, “I’ve never been his nervous in my entire life!”
“Me neither,” I replied, my legs already a bit shaky. Taking a cue from the lessons learned from my acting days, I continued, “But it means this is important to you. That it matters. That you’ve worked hard to stand here right now. If you weren’t nervous, that would be weird,” knowing as I said it to her, that I was also saying it to myself.
She smiled, laughed, and thanked me, and then truly rocked her set of postures on stage with the weight of the judges stare upon her with an unflappable calm we all wish for, working with the nerves instead of running from the feeling.
Last week, I was finally ready to look for an editor for the book I’ve been working on for the past 2 and half years. Juicing in the morning in the kitchen, my husband noticed how fast I was talking and odd I was being, as he ate his breakfast cereal at the table.
“I’m nervous,” I admitted, “Finding an editor means someone has to actually read this thing. It’s kind of horrifying and kind of cool all at once.”
“That’s the whole point, babe,” he said smiling. “Didn’t you write a book you want people to read?”
“Of course. But it’s still a little scary. I’ll have to be the girl that wrote that book, not the girl working on writing a book. It’s a big leap.”
“It’s the right leap,” he said as he headed upstairs to get ready for work.
I feel the same way about the Intermediate Ghosh Teacher Training I’m headed to at the beginning of June. I have no idea if I’m prepared enough or am advanced enough in my practice to take this on, but at the same time I know it’s the right move for me. Registering for the training and booking the flight, I could feel the burble of nerves right below the surface. I was going to do something that will challenge me – something that will change me. I know it won’t be easy, but I also know I’m not looking for easy. Nothing grows around easy. Instead, everything generally stays the same.
As I said at the beginning, I hope you feel nervous about something this year. I hope that there is something you have always wanted to try and you decide to go for it – even if it makes you uncomfortable or have an internal freak out at the thought of the challenge ahead. Life was meant to be lived out loud. Take the leap, experience the nerves, embrace the energy that they bring you, and move through them to the other side. I promise you won’t be the same person at the end of it. You’ll be the person you’ve always wanted to be. Brave, fearless, and focused on the road ahead, instead of the version of you left behind.
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