In the past two weeks, I've been fighting an inner battle with resistance and expansion. I still wonder how the two can stand to be in the same room together. The question has been, why do I sometimes fear (or resist) my desires? I want to ski better, but I'm afraid to climb to the steeper hill. I want my daily work-routine to feel different, but I'm afraid to take action toward change. I want to go deeper in my yoga practice, but I fear reoccurrant failure. The list really does go on. I could even mention my resistance to write, but I seem to have temporarily conquered that in this very moment.
What is fear, and how can we deflate it?
I use the words "fear" and "resistance" interchangably. If you break down both words, they are in fact quite an item, and very similar to each other. Fear is an emotion caused by an impending danger, evil or pain. Resistance is the act of being reluctant or withstanding action entirely. They are "cause and effect" of each other, or in 21st century style, BFF's! So, when you resist something, or there is resistance in the body, it stems from some level of fear. Sadly fear can be self-inflicted or worse, residual emotions from things in the past that perhaps were out of our control. The one good thing about fear is that it keeps us safe. Although, if you are looking to expand your life and live with momentum, fear will hold you back for longer than you may realize. Here are a couple tricks I recently learned. Here are two ways to pop the fear-balloon.
1. Tell your fear to "shove it"
Simply, tell your fear to "shove it!" This can be done somewhat elegantly, or in a wildly agressive fashion, your choice. This willingness to tell your fear off is often easiest for people who are good at compartmentalizing and disconnecting. Telling your fear to just go away is basically the same thing as tell yourself there is nothing to be afraid of. There is a catch though... When you say it out, you got to say it hard, loud and outloud. Own it! 'Nough said.
2. Go to town and break it down
This is a trick I learned from Danielle LaPorte's exercise on how to deconstruct fear (check out her site: www.daniellelaporte.com). You got to break it down, y'all! It's all about repeating the question until you get to the heart of the fear. Tear it apart, peice by peice until the blanket of fear you've been carrying around is unravelled. Talk it out, ask yourself over and over again, "Why are you afraid?" What is the fear about? Why are you resistant? Try to figure out where it stems from. You may notice, each time you answer the same question, you may have a different (deeper and clearer) answer. Another question to ask yourself could be, "If you were to move forward past the fear, what's the best-case scenario and what's the worst-case scenario?" This process sheds light in some deep dark places, and usually helps to deflate the "fear balloon". Probe deep and smoke out the gremlins!
What is expansion, and how can we feed it?
When I think of expansion, I think of the truth, growth and...the open-mouth laugh. What better visual than someone with a full belly open-mouth laugh! I have a close friend who does this, and I envy it. Beauty and authenticity blazes out of her when she does it! Is there a better feeling than this expansion of the body in heart and soul. To laugh at truth, to smile after sadness, to laugh at fear. How can we feed this expansion, and encourage it to grow?
1. Put the ego aside
I find the word "ego" can be overused, especially in some yoga practices. But I cannot ignore the fact that it was the very mention of ego in some of my first yoga classes that made me vividly more aware of it. Ego is completely relative, but still sometimes annoying to see in the mirror. It's one of those feelings (or inner demons) that will never completely disappear, and it's often the main reason some of us may struggle with fear and expansion. Without ego, we would be totally unaware of any floating judgement or insecurity. What a great bubble to live in. Rather than stabbing ourselves with jagged daggers of self-doubt and comparison, imagine the possibilities of un-opposed expansion. Filter out the ego surrounding you, and expand in that clear yummy air!
2. Recognition of opposing forces
Since I started practicing yoga on the regular, I've learned to recognize where resistance and expansion are creeping around in my life. I can often feel both, battling against each other in yoga practice, but also in many other areas of my life. Those two forces can sometimes scream at each other just through normal day-to-day stiffness, pops and cracks...but, as is life. There is constant opposition in everyone's life; good versus evil, light verus dark, ebb and flow, life and death. It's all around us, and I believe it's part of what makes life worth living. The practice of yoga naturally heightens our senses, allowing us to focus on lessening one while increasing the other. Just the confession alone, admitting that resistance and expansion both exist in the body and mind, is enough to boost awareness. This recognition has changed the way I conduct my life. I'm eating better, feeling better, living better, fearing less and expanding more.
This stuff certainly isn't easy. It takes practice and familiarity over time. You have to dig deep to trap fear and expand freely. You'll know the feeling when it happens, it's almost like a weightlessness. When you expand, you live, and you live bigger.
Hello, I'm Julie.
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