How I Called Out My Fear
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, right?
Or, so goes the old adage. Stop being afraid and then you stop being afraid. So what happens when you do something you think is about not being afraid only to discover that you actually were? (If your head is spinning don’t worry, we’ve only just begun to dance.)
I should back up by starting in the now since really, there is nothing else but. I am going to Bali. In two weeks. For three months. I am going to do the training to become a teacher of the meditation I practice. I decided to do this last week.
Now let me take your hand and step back into the tango. I started talking about doing this training almost the day after I learned to meditate on me being me; naturally I wanted to go from the first step all the way to the top of the mountain in one giant leap. Eight months ago I got the email about the training, all the course work and prep I would have to do, the costs, the seriously beyond comprehensive amounts of internal stress and muck I would be releasing.
I filled it out, sent it in and waited. I moved to Vancouver. Then I decided I felt cut off from the teachers and community I had left behind in LA and made up stories about how they had abandoned me.
Emails went unanswered. Questions left hanging. Stress coming up and out and right back in again. I decided no, I was absolutely not going to do this training anymore.
Screw them. I’ll show them. I don’t need them.
I can teach people to meditate on my own. I can help people. People read my blog, they come to me for help and they get it when I speak to them. I don’t need anyone; I can do this on my own!
Cut to months later of me on my couch, going to yoga, teaching yoga for free, helping people learn a basic meditation that I know is better than nothing–but why sell someone a Ferrari and give them a replica with the engine of a Chevy?
And I talk and talk. And talk. For free. There’s a theme here. The theme is Michelle doesn’t think she is entitled to ask people for an exchange for her time and energy. Peel that layer back and we find Michelle doesn’t think people will ask for her help if she charges them. Peel another one—Michelle doesn’t know how to show up for herself. Another layer—Michelle is afraid she’ll end up alone and be nothing so if she doesn’t really try, she won’t have to change.
(Now here is where the beat picks up so don’t worry if you miss a step.)
What kept me from making the decision to move forward, to change, and fully step into my path was the fear that I would have to change and step into my path. My ego is so gosh darn clever so I convinced myself I was making the right choice to not do it, when actually I was making a very fear-based choice to remain stuck.
Cut to the whispers (we’ve spoken about the whispers, they are the ones we ignore until they become screams and then we look at our lives and wonder how the hell we got ourselves into this mess yet again!). In the last month, I heard the whispers all around me: “Bali.”
It was really annoying to tell you the truth, because I had been sitting tall and pretty on my ego high horse over the choice to not go.
And then I fell off my horse–or, okay, my bike. On my left side.
Those who know me will attest to the bizarre tendency I have of falling, crashing, breaking and colliding—always always on my right side. As I lay on the ground bleeding, I started laughing. It was a sign. Okay, it may also have been the wine my girlfriend and I had just finished, but a sign nonetheless. Something was shifting! Change is inevitable. Change is progress. Change can only ever be good. And it is time for change; I’ve been feeling it for months since I got here.
The only thing standing between me and the change I knew I needed was my fear and the emails I had sent to all saying no to the training in Bali months earlier. The training that had been full since May. The training that required the prerequisite of 30 hours of lectures I had no access to, a fee that everyone going had long since paid, and a list of supplies needed that read like a scavenger hunt through ancient India. Oh, not to mention tickets, informing my family I’d be missing a wedding in London (and the Jewish holidays, and my birthday), subletting my apartment, car…oh, and leaving the first home I’ve had in four years and the friends I’ve made and terrified it won’t be here when I get back.
Yes, terrified is also fear.
And in case you forgot what I wrote above, it starts in three weeks. Yup. And so…I sent one email.
“Acting on a push of consciousness here…is it too late for Bali? The universe has been less than subtle lately. So I thought I must rule in or out the choice either way.”
Forty-eight hours later—or as it’s more commonly known as, last Friday—I was in.
I’ll save the details of why and how for another time. Here’s the really cool part: as soon as I sent it in, the fear shifted.
I called it out of for what it was, that I knew it thought it was helping but actually it was kind of messing up my life and made a move towards change. In doing that, I was actually prepared to not get in, and that was totally okay.
I was also prepared to get in and that was okay too. And when I did get in, I didn’t panic or freak out about all the seemingly impossible things I had to get done (30 hours of lectures on my own, in a week, in the summer, are you kidding me?!). I just made lists and started tackling each thing one by one. Not my forte. With one week down, I already have most of everything in place— well, the lectures needed to take a backseat to the beach today, but I’m okay with that.
So that’s what I’m up to. I’m not running off again willy-nilly.
I actually have a return ticket and big plans for when I get back. And not too far trailing behind me is the fear I am moving away from. I’m not running from it, because that just pisses fear off and makes it louder. I turn around every now and then and acknowledge it, speak to it, get it to soften and then it leaves me alone for a while so that I can work towards more change. It takes balls to face our fears. And we all have ’em, even the girly girls.
We’ve just got to remember that fear itself is nothing to fear when we have our own backs and moving towards change.
I’m going back to Bali.
Michelle Lipper now calls Vancouver home after several years of brief stints moving about and living in more cities, sublets, guest homes and ashrams than one person would in a lifetime. She is about to embark on a new chapter; going to Bali to train and become Canada’s first teacher of Vedic meditation- the practice she attributes to changing her life. She is inspired to practice yoga daily by the amazing community here and is working on giving back teaching with Karma Yoga Vancouver. She still acts and sings—and never passes up a chance to try something new. She also maintains a very healthy obsession with impractical shoes, cooking and tv shows featuring vampires. You can follow her blog at http://www.360being.com, on Facebook and Twitter.
Editor: Seychelles Pitton