A reflection on leading my first yoga retreat
When I feel fear, I get anxious and irritated easily. I eat unhealthily as if to slow myself down and I get self-conscious before I speak. I was fearful about leading my first yoga retreat, but luckily, I learned how to choose passion over fear - while still letting fear do its (annoying a$$) thing.
Many people don’t realize that I had so much stress and anxiety about planning my “Let’s Fly to Mexico! New Years Yoga Retreat.” I seriously thought no one would come and I’d be thousands of dollars in debt. At one point I even convinced myself I’d get bit by the Zika Virus if I went to Mexico! Instead, 17 people came from all over the country (almost double what I had intended) and everyone had the best time ever. (No Zika, just good vibes! Margaritas! and dancing!) Leading this retreat taught me that “passion” is a feeling, just like “fear” is a feeling, and at every moment you have the choice to put your attention towards one or the other. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, she writes, “Creativity can ONLY coexist alongside Fear. [...] in other words, you must learn to accept them both, if you want to invent things.” Without realizing it, I chose to pursue my creative desire to lead a retreat, even if at times I felt unsure of myself. Tom + David Kelly of the Harvard Business Review write, “Half the battle is to resist judging yourself. If you can listen to your own intuition and embrace more of your ideas (good and bad), you’re already (on the) pathway to overcoming fear.” I am so grateful that I didn’t let fear stop me from doing something I dreamed of doing for such a long time. I know fear can feel paralyzing, but start small, take baby steps, and be easy on yourself. Your biggest (and meanest) critic is yourself.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind to help you choose passion over fear.
- Fear is an emotion. It is not who you are. You experience fear - it’s not what makes you, you. YOU are made up of shiny, bright, beautiful star stuff my friends, (hey Cosmos) and that’s what makes you a human being. Fear is a feeling. And feelings are temporary.
- Let yourself feel fear and observe how it manifests in your body and mind. Don’t try to fix yourself or stop feeling fear. Let it happen and observe.
- Take action. Any action. This could be something that you do because you are scared and want to push yourself, or because you are scared and want to stop. Either of these options are ok, but see if you can consciously choose an action vs just having a reaction.
Fear can cause us to do exciting things, or make us want to run away and hide. If you find yourself in a situation where you want to be creative and passionate but are feeling scared, stuck and fearful about it - it’s ok! With practice, self-awareness, and trust in yourself, it will get easier and easier to choose to follow your passions over fear - if that is what you want. Just know that in most creative pursuits, Fear and Passion like to fly together and you’re in the middle seat. I highly recommend trying to fall asleep on Passion’s shoulder. Who knows! You might even fall in love.
Here are the daring, adventurous + passionate humans who attended EAT STRETCH NAP's New Years Yoga Retreat
(first image is of Brian Witten, my handsome, strong + kickass co-teacher!!)