The time comes when we all have to step into our power…..
How is it that I have not written anything here since August? For someone who generally has a lot to say that is most unusual, but truthfully other than what I’ve written on social media I just haven’t found the inspiration. Of course, as always seems to be the way, inspiration comes when you are least looking for it and in Bali a whole load of insight came and hit me in the face.
So much has been rumbling within the background for me these last few months, an undeniable and unshakable sense that I am still trying to mold myself into other people’s models and that I am still not fully stepping into my power. Something is still holding me back, a familiar feeling of contraction. I know what it is of course, actually it is blindingly obvious to me what it is that holds me back, the big question is am I able to confront that and push past it. It is my belief that if we can allow ourselves to be guided by what seems true to us then things can happen, doors can open and life can unfold in a way that we would never anticipate.
In Bali as I spoke to people about moving through the layers of the body, energy and mind to find wisdom and insight; as I talked about how we need to embody ourselves, how we need to be grounded, connected and present in order to listen in and hear what it is we need to hear; as I spoke of authenticity and vulnerability, it was I realised what I needed to hear myself. What I love so much about teaching yoga is how much I gain myself, as I talked to people about moving past their fears and into a space of courage, strength, vulnerability and receptivity, I knew that I was also talking to myself.
So this is it. This is where I got to:
I have had enough of playing small
I have had enough of telling myself I am not good enough
I have had enough of trying to fit into other people’s models and being frustrated when it doesn’t work
I am ready for more
I am ready to be brave
I am ready to be bold
I AM READY!
Let me explain a little more. I have been devoting time and energy into learning more and more about the therapeutic uses of yoga, working with people on a one to one basis, going deeper into what they need to find wellness within their lives. It is a process that I enjoy enormously. And next week I am going back into the classroom to spend another 150 hours on advanced clinical studies for yoga therapy, I am ridiculously excited and yet there is always that small nagging voice at the back of my head questioning it, questioning the time I take out of life to do these training’s, the money spent and the fear that maybe it will be all wasted. This comes back to an ongoing prevailing fear, the fear of failure. It is this fear that stops me from investing in myself. The other day I was comparing the prices of two creative marketing designers, one felt quite high and the other pretty low. I was utterly undecided and even though the person with the higher quote was so obviously the right person for me I could not shake the nagging feeling of “I am only a yoga instructor, why do I need to spend that much on myself”. It shook me to the core when I realised this was how I saw myself, what on earth am I telling the universe if that is how I think about myself. I am so much more than “just” a yoga teacher, I am a human being and I am doing the best that I can. Some days I fail, some days I win but mostly I am doing ok. We are all more than “just” anyone, we all have a light to shine and it is a consequence of our fears that we allow that light to be diminished within us.
So going back to the insights that came to me in Bali. I get asked ALL the time, where do you teach or where can I come and see you. My answer is always a bit hazy to be honest. I mean I have some open classes that people can come to, I offer privates and have a busy schedule moving around to people’s homes which I love and have no intention of stopping. But there is a limitation because I have a fear of working in central, or should I say it makes me nervous. Rents, money, costs etc etc is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. So I find myself with a piecemeal solution between some part time studio work and my own freelance work. Do not get me wrong, this is my choice, I like the freedom freelancing gives me and I also like the chance to connect with other people in a studio however it is time I acknowledged that maybe the studio model is not suited to the work that I wish to do. This is nothing against the yoga studio I just think that I am looking for a different experience, I wish to work with people directly and to engage with them on the yoga mat but perhaps outside of the yoga studio. I am looking for a different set up and it is time to get a little bolder about this, I now see that I want a set up that offers me the freedom to work with people as a yoga therapist in all its modalities, a set up that will enable me to engage with more people about the empowering nature of yoga. I want to be offering classes and both 1-2-1s to people who seek yoga but find the idea of a studio intimidating for many reasons, be it through physical limitations, emotional worries and anxieties or just simply because they feel they need to be listened to and heard more.
When I work with people within the context of yoga therapy part of the process is establishing goals both short, medium and long term. I ask people to lay out the vision for themselves both for the process of yoga therapy but also for the direction they wish to go in their life. So why have I not done the same for myself? Again, another thought that hit my right in the face as I was walking to the ferry one day. I am still working on this but in the short term my plan is to continue to make connections with other people in the world of yoga therapy, to establish an engaged community so that we may support each other’s growth. I also plan to start researching the models for working either within a practice or on my own – both of which could be amazing but not without their challenges. However, the long term vision is what feels the most important to me right now and I have said to myself that I wish to be running a thriving yoga therapy practice in Hong Kong by this time next year – there I have said it, it can not be taken back. I saw a great line the other day and it went along the lines of “we can manifest our future through the people we meet” and after all Hong Kong is the town of connections, it is the place of one degree of separation. Already, since making this decision a few connections have been made, who knows where they will go to but it is a place to start. Since making this decision I feel a little bit more emboldened and sense of great potential. It feels good.
I do not know what will happen next, I do not know where I will end up but I do know that I am making the commitment to face my fears, to quite literally roll out the welcome mat for them so that I may sit with them and let them be my guide. I choose to let them show me how to be humble, vulnerable and open, I choose to let them show me how to be courageous, brave and forward looking. What I know for sure is that doors will open, opportunities will arise if I allow myself to be open to it, closing myself off, acting small will do nothing but make me feel like I am not good enough which is entirely the opposite of what I seek. I may fall many times along the way, let’s be honest I have fallen many times over already, but I refuse to be told that I will have failed. Failure is a meaningless word, it means nothing, it says nothing about the work that was put into something, the time taken or the care given. Failure is a word we should eradicate from our vocabulary.
About 4 years ago I held my very first yoga retreat on Lamma and one of the attendees said to me as she left “Do not hide your light under a bushel”. They were kind and gracious words and I will never forget them. They are words to live by and words to hold within our very being. They are words I shall remind myself of when I feel myself contracting in fear – there is nothing I need to hide from, there is nothing I need to fear.