March 22, 2012

Get Out & Do Something That Scares You. ~ Amy Jirsa

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Andy Carter.

We all wait for that moment, right?

That first moment you can open the windows or go outdoors without a coat. Even those of us who are confirmed fall or winter lovers (aka, yours truly) are still moved by the first stirrings of spring. The Equinox is a time of balance, as in equal light and equal dark (ooh, deep), but it’s also a time of rebirth and renewal.

Now, normally, we celebrate this rebirth and renewal with a bunch of images of rabbits (who, as you’ve probably figured out by now, have lots and lots of babies) and chocolate (okay, not sure about the latter). Yes, sex is certainly one way to create renewal and rebirth. What about you? If you have no immediate plans to fertilize one of your own eggs, how are you going to go about this whole cosmic re-birthing thing?

Well, here’s an idea: go out and do something that scares you (but doesn’t endanger you—there is a difference). Personally, I think back to when I was a kid at my grandparent’s house. They had a pool with a diving board (I know, right? Wicked!). More than anything I wanted to jump off that thing, but there was no way. I’d approached it maybe a dozen times and backed off. Finally, defeated and sulking and lying on my “I Heart Whales” beach towel, I thought, this is it. This is it. Am I to spend my life being cowed by a three-foot jump? Oh the humanity! Where will it end? (Yes; I was that wise and melodramatic child at seven years old).

But you know what’s freaky and amazing about this and something, which only occurs to me now as I look back? This is the first time (and let me get all yoga teacher-y here for a sec) I really remember being in the moment. I mean, think of a time you’ve made yourself do something scary. Immediately, every step (in this case, toward the plank or diving board) becomes its own moment. You are thoroughly and completely focused. Looking back, I even remember how the concrete felt beneath my feet. I mean, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday (mindfulness, anyone?), but I can remember every moment of that long-ago walk to the diving board.

The other thing about this fear-factor thing is that you come face-to-face with your inner self. You have that deep inner reflection, a meditation between your higher self (the part that wants you to experience the exhilaration of jumping) and the ego (which wants you to remain afraid and, therefore, dependent on the ego’s nearly-extinct-mad-survival skills). When you succeed, when you jump, your higher self triumphs and because the higher self is what leads us on this crazy life journey, you are ecstatic. You’re so thrilled that you jump out of the pool and get back on that diving board again (and, in my case, again and again and again and again—belated apologies to my siblings for hogging the thing that day) to delight in your bravery and in that side of you that you had hoped, but weren’t so sure, actually existed.

So, you jumped off a diving board when you were seven. Now what?

Well, how about this: make a list. An inventory, if you will. Look at your life. What patterns or habits have you fallen into because they’re comfortable and not challenging (much like that sunken-in part of the sofa that conforms perfectly to your derriere)? Where are your ruts? Where are you bored?

For me, my thing-that-scares-the-ever-living-stuffing-out-of-me is the yoga pose, Scorpion. I’ve got Pincha Mayurasana (feathered peacock pose) more or less nailed, as far as fear-factor goes. As far as balance goes? Eh, no comment. But, man, to balance and backbend? I know, I know. Agreed, it’s wicked scary, but how different is it from the diving board? Not all that different: I have the inversions, I have the backbends, now just put them together (or, in other words: jump).

Need more inspiration? Look outside, everything is bursting to life.

There is no excuse for stagnation. Rebirth and the excitement of creation is everywhere. So get creative. Hate your job? Yeah, it’s scary and it kind of sucks to look for a new one, but get going. Find something that excites you, even if it’s a long shot. (By the way, get the word ‘long-shot’ out of your vocabulary. You are only limited by your own beliefs. I’ll take my own advice here re: Scorpion). Take an art class or run around the house naked or combine the two and become a life model for an art class (hey, they pay pretty well for that kind of thing, too, or so I hear).

You don’t need me to tell you how to create your own celebration of rebirth. Look at your life. Find the soft, dull bits. You’ll know how to shine them up. So go. Get out there. Start shining.

Amy Jirsa is a writer, wanderer, yoga instructor and master herbalist. She makes her home at her studio, Quiet Earth Yoga, in Lincoln, Nebraska and on her blog. And if that’s not enough, you can also find her at Twitter @QuietEarthYoga or on Facebook (Quiet Earth Yoga). 









Editor: Tanya L. Markul

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