I’m in heaven when my 7-year-old comes up to me and says, “Mom? I’m really nervous about tonight.”
She’s performing in her first stage play.
“Oh yeah?” I say. “Tell me what it feels like to be nervous.”
“I don’t know how to explain it, just kinda weird,” she says. “I’m sure you’ve felt it before. Have you ever been in a play?”
I think back and realize, no, I haven’t—despite the fact that I used to dream about being an actress.
I tell her I haven’t been in a play but I’ve been on a stage many times talking to an audience, teaching, and every week I stand up several times in a room full of people and teach them about yoga.
She shrugs her shoulders to demonstrate her opinion that this is not at all the same. Then she adds, “I know. But what I’m doing is much scarier. Because it’s scarier to pretend to be someone else than it is to just be yourself.”
“Yes,” I said. “I guess that’s true”.
Even though this is the exact opposite of what we tend to believe, it feels so much truer this way.
Sometimes it seems scary to be our selves; to be open, honest and vulnerable. Yet, while this does take tremendous courage, how much scarier is it to hide, to live with a wall of protection between us and our world? Does that wall really keep us safe, or does it keep us trapped, disconnected, living in fear?
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”
~ Brene Brown
If daring to show up and letting yourself be seen will lead to love and connection, then I think my 7-year-old has a point. It is scarier to risk a life without true love and without real connection.
It is scarier to pretend to be someone else than it is to just be yourself.
I’ve started drinking coffee, with just the tiniest splash of organic whipping cream every morning. I used to think yoga teachers couldn’t drink coffee.
I am a coffee-with-cream drinking yoga teacher, among other things. I sometimes worry I’m not good enough, I watch stupid s*** on TV, I get stressed out and sometimes I negatively judge people around me for doing exactly what I do. When I was pregnant living in a small town, well-known to be the yoga studio owner, I hid in the car while my husband went to Hot Dog on a Stick in the mall to get me deep fried zucchini with Ranch dressing because I thought yoga teachers shouldn’t eat fried food—most definitely not from a food chain at the mall.
Honestly, I still believe a lot of these things, it’s just that now I let them inspire me instead of shame me.
I think we should all most definitely be the person we want to see in the world. I believe this is the key to each moment of our enlightenment. And until then, we should love being who we are.
Our dreams, our faults, our fears, our weaknesses and of course our strengths—these are the things that make us absolutely amazing!
You are beyond brilliant, beyond capable and so much more than enough. Look at all you’ve done in this one lifetime, and all the possibilities that still lie ahead. Then go, and courageously share your amazing self with the world. Be yourself in all your glory.
The alternative is much scarier.
Cori Martinez: Teaching Yoga for 14 years, Cori is known for her attention to detail and her ability to create an environment ripe for opening and expanding physically, mentally and spiritually. She leads the Asha Yoga Advanced Study and Teacher Training Programs in Sacramento and Santa Cruz California and Sayulita Mexico. In her training she invites you to pay attention, to be vulnerable, to give life your all, to love unconditionally, to take responsibility and to go easy on yourself while trusting you are capable of anything. And she asks the same of herself everyday.
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Ed: K.Macku/Kate Bartolotta