I just returned from my first farmers’ market of the season.
I get excited, and sometimes overwhelmed by all the people, colors and fragrances. There is an expectation of the full bounty I can choose from, but a fear of all the people that are there.
There is something to be said about loading up the car with a couple of eco-friendly shopping baskets, turning on some MC Yogi tunes, rolling down the window and driving with the intention of finding beautiful nutritious goods for the day, or even the week.
As I walked around trying to remember what booth was where, I saw many yoga friends who had the same intention.
“Beautiful,” I thought.
There was a time when I would never ever have gone to the farmers market alone. What today appears to be beautiful colors and current and new friends gathering was a place of complete anxiety. The crowds, the tents, the dogs—it can all be overwhelming.
“Where is everything? What is here?”
The uncertainty of it all made me so anxious, I would have to bring my husband with me as my guide.
I may have had a bit of social anxiety.
Never diagnosed, this is what I know. I am still a bit nervous to walk into large crowded areas or go to places that are not that familiar to me. But I once read a rather simple solution to social anxiety, and I began to implement it into my life.
Once I understood that I did not have to commit to any amount of time at any particular place, I was more comfortable. I felt more in control.
I started this one day by going to the mall, of all places. I needed a new keyboard, as I had spilled water on mine. I knew if I ordered one on line, it would take too long to arrive. I knew if I waited for my daughters to get home from school to come with me, I’d lose a whole workday.
So I headed out. I didn’t tell anyone or make a big deal out of it. I just got in my car, drove to the mall and parked my car. I opened the door and walked straight to the Mac store and purchased my keyboard. I was liberated. I could not believe what I just did. I got to my car and called my husband.
“You are not going to believe what I just did!” I told him.
“What?” he said.
“I went to the mall by myself!”
At first he was so confused.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I had never gone to the mall by myself before. I went, and bought a keyboard all by myself!”
He hadn’t realized that I had never gone to the mall by myself. When I told my sister she too hadn’t realized I had never gone to the mall by myself. I would see my husband and my sister mentally putting things together, and they got excited for me.
Really, I’m not sure if I had ever realized that I had never gone to the mall myself until I had done it.
Baby step. Get in. Get out. Mission accomplished.
I take this baby step approach now to situations where I used to feel anxious, like there was a barrier between me and the things I really wanted to do.
I took this approach at the farmer’s market this morning, too. But now I can take more time, enjoy the surroundings and chat with people knowing I can leave anytime I want.
I parked my car, strolled through the park, noticed the colors of the flowers the people sitting with their dogs. I perused the isles and chatted with friends. “I’m Brave,” I said to myself. I came for the portabella mushrooms. My daughter loves my portabella pretzel burgers. I didn’t see them this time, so I picked up some asparagus and salsa.
As I continued walking I came around the corner, took a peek and saw a whole new section that they had added to the farmer’s market. I stopped dead in my tracks.
“I have all I need. I can go now.” I said to myself. Anxiety, she’s back!
I talked myself into venturing to the other side.
And there he was: Mushroom Man.
As I walked up, so excited of the possibilities of the mushrooms, I saw a familiar face. One of my students and her husband were also visiting Mushroom Man. I was comforted by their conversation and the familiarity of it all. Together we approached Mushroom Man and began to chat about various recipes using portabella mushrooms, including one of my new favorites, portabella lasagna cups. Just then an unfamiliar face and voice chimed in, saying she loves to make pesto sandwiches with mushrooms, and began to explain the recipe.
“Yum.” I think I will l add that to my repertoire.
As I payed Mushroom Man I bid adieu to my current familiar friend and my new friend and head back to the car. Grinning from ear to ear, I imagined all the delicious recipes I will make for my family today, thanks to my bravery and Mushroom Man.
Colleen Rose is the founder and Director of Yoga 360, Inc, creator of the Conway Rose Skin Care Line, Yogalife Visionary, and most recently the founder of Granola Gear. A third generation yoga teacher, she approaches her professional endeavors with the same yogic principles she emphasizes with her students and in her own life: love, compassion and nurturance of self and others, reverence and responsibility for the planet, and an acknowledgement that we are all connected. With love and laughter, she works toward finding a comfortable balance in her classes, challenging her students to move toward positive change in all aspects of their lives.
Editor: Anne Clendening