Leaning into it… So… what does that really mean?
We have all heard the expression lately, when it comes to fear, anxiety or anything that we just aren’t too comfortable with… “Go ahead, just lean into it…”
My definition of the phrase is to gently approach it… then step in. Gingerly step into the fear. Step into the discomfort. When it starts to feel like too much… just lean in a little more. Step in further… and commit to staying. Ride it out.
That’s the real test… can you commit to it? Can you ride out the abrasive, hot, lonely, overwhelming sensation?
Sometimes it looks and feels like you’re testing your bath water or the lake. You dip your toe in. Sometimes, that’s enough.
Sometimes it’s enough to just talk about the fear.
Today… You- Get to decide- what is enough.
I attended a workshop a few months ago in Virginia. It was held at a wonderful Yoga Ashram, called Yogaville. (They have a huge pink lotus temple… you should google it- really. It’s amazing.) The workshop was called Embrace Your Weird.
The name alone, was enough for me… Hell ya- I am going.
The woman who taught the workshop was a famous retired actress. Her name is Lisa Jakub. She was the oldest daughter in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, Lydia. Yup… the one and only. (She has a few books out on the topic too, worthy of a mention.)
She talked about anxiety and depression and how to “manage it” with Yoga, Meditation and writing. She encouraged us all to write about our fears. We talked about the inner dialogue and how it can paralyze us. How the voice that always tells us we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough or worthy… That voice isn’t a voice that we should be listening too. But… how do we stop listening to “it”? She said we need to write about it.
Most of us have heard of the story of the Native grandfather, talking to his grandson about the two wolves that live within each of us. One is dark. And one is light. They battle for control. They are constantly fighting… The young boy asks his grandfather which one wins? If they both live within us and are fighting for control… which one wins?
The wise old man says “The one that you feed.”
The dark one represents our fear, anger, jealousy, distrust and all of the other things that our “inner dialogue” will encourage.
The white one represents love, respect, self-worth, empathy and all of those beautiful traits.
Lisa went on to teach us to take that a step further. She said if you tie up an old dog out back and try to starve him… he is going to get pretty angry. He will be fiery mad. So… just ignoring the dark side isn’t enough. She suggested that we live the white wolf and we write about the dark one. Give it an outlet. Give it a voice… Honor it… but don’t live it.
If you battle with an inner dialogue that is an asshole… begin today. Pick up a journal and write about it. Write about the things you fear. Give them an outlet so they don’t control your thoughts.
The other part of the workshop was about meditation and yoga. For everyone who says, “I can’t meditate. It doesn’t work for me.” I challenge you to do it again. Do it again and again and again. Keep doing it, until it does work. It may take weeks. It may take years. But… what do you have to lose?
Think of all of the things you have overcome so far. Can’t think of any? How about these…
Do you use silverware to eat? I bet you didn’t always know how to do that.
Do you know how to ride a bike? I bet you fell a few times before you got it down.
Have you ever driven a car? I bet you had to learn how to do that.
What about reading, writing, not wetting your pants, using a cell phone, using chopsticks. Bingo… you get the idea. (I still don’t know how to use chopsticks!)
For everyone who thinks that we all need to sit in a Lotus position with a quiet mind, with no thoughts coming in… on the first or tenth try… it doesn’t happen like that. Here’s a fun fact… If you meditate for 20 minutes, your entire nervous system will re-set. Now doesn’t that sound fancy??
Even if you sit and your mind is racing. Even if you sit and you can’t get quiet or sit still… you are beginning the process. You can do it. Promise. Just keep trying. (I will also keep trying the chopsticks.)
Now… how about Yoga? Did you know that the practice of Yoga, isn’t the Asana? Asana, are the poses of Yoga. Some Yoga traditions aren’t even about the poses. The practice of yoga can be quieting your mind at a stop light. Not swearing at your neighbor. It could also mean not doing harm to nature and respecting all living things. It can also be sweating your buns off in a room full of people holding in a toot. (Insert the 10 yr old me here…)
Yoga isn’t about bending yourself into a pretzel. But it can be. The practice of Yoga is versatile. It is challenging and it is beautiful. It is about self discovery.
Today… this week… I challenge each of you to lean into something.
Maybe it means you’re going to try to meditate. Maybe you will try writing or journaling … possibly a yoga class. Or maybe you will just speak up and not let someone be rude. Whatever it is… Do it with zest. Shine on my friends… if we don’t do it… who will?
Here is the second part of that dare. Commit to it.
I read a book awhile back, it was about making changes and the author talked about that being a two-part process. Most of us will try a new diet, new cologne, new vitamin or a new mask… but what happens when someone challenges that new thought? What happens when your family isn’t on board with your new eating plan or the new you? What if someone doesn’t love your new cologne as much as you do?
Most of us will give up. Most of us will abandon the idea, because we haven’t committed to the idea of allowing others to be uncomfortable with it. Let that sink in.
When we try something new… we must also commit to allowing others to be uncomfortable with it. We can’t bail, because someone else doesn’t like the idea. We get to bail… only- when WE, decide to bail.
Commit. Stick with it. You can do it. I believe in you.
Be an example. Someone is watching and they need you to lead. Someone is learning from you and your efforts. Namaste…
Until next time~ Peace and Love.