I am afraid of a LOT of things. And here’s the kicker: they may be fairly innocuous things. If I were to make a T-chart (I am an elementary school teacher at heart, after all) the list of items on the “Not Afraid” side would perhaps appear more daring and dangerous than the list of items on the “Terrifying” side. For prosperity sake:
Not afraid of: falling off the side of a mountain (it’s that’s how I go, I’ll be proud of my death-by-adventure), traveling to unsafe exotic locales, having my car stolen, starting a new career, spiders.
Terrified of: going to the Doctor, driving in the fast lane, attending crowded sporting events, having uncomfortable conversations, blood-sucking ticks (I don’t think there exists any other type of tick, but ‘blood-sucking’ reaffirms their awfulness).
That’s just the beginning of the list. (I’m also a little afraid of frostbite, snakes in lake water and having my identity stolen.)
But the thing I’m most afraid of? Never doing ANYTHING fun or daring or epic because I’m afraid. Letting fear ‘win’ over courage and passion and excitement and wonder? Unacceptable.
I had a really tough beginning to spring this year. Illness, exhaustion, emotional distress and insecurity were my companions for a few months. There were days when fear and anxiety were the loudest voices I heard. There were weeks when I stayed in bed with headaches and body aches and I felt ill-equipped to handle even small tasks like eating breakfast or walking Russell Clive, much less repair professional relationships, teach willing Souls, move forward in my career and also plan a wedding. Let me tell you: I was really fun to live with.
For a few weeks, I let fear win. And oh god, did it gloat. Fear infiltrated my meditation time and my (coveted) sleep time and freaking wreaked havoc. I was a hot mess. Actually…I wasn’t hot. At one point, my face was an allergy punching bag and my eyes were swollen shut (thank God for the makers of Benadryl and the good people at CVS) and what business did I have pretending to be a courageous, confident, spontaneously joyful yoga teacher?
Well, I did have business. I still do. And it is my business to be courageous, inspiring and real. Because we all encounter fear, we all experience suffering (thank goodness suffering is temporary, remember this post?) and we all feel like life’s punching bag every once in a while. So I made it my business to find a meditation that worked that helped me re-claim my courage, my light, and my confidence. It’s short, it’s simple, it’s illuminating. It worked for me, and it will work for you.
This is an abridged version of a guided meditation I found by Heather Waxman on the app Insight Timer. If you download the app, you can listen to her talk you through this five minute meditation. You can also follow the script below. I sincerely hope that you feel its power in uncovering your Inner Light.
“Own Your Light” Meditation for developing confidence and courage
“Sit in a comfortable position with palms facing upward and establish a steady pace of breath. Inhale and exhale easily. Imagine yourself covered by a big shell, like an egg shell. See is covering you and surrounding you.
As you look at that shell, imagine that it begins to crack. And as it cracks, rays of sunlight begin to pour through the cracks. The rays of light extend out from your body and peek through the cracks in the shell. This is your light. The shells represent the ways you’ve been blocking it. The cracks represent your willingness to see things differently. Your willingness to look at your shadows and your willingness to own your light.
See the shell as it peels away and you are left surrounding in light. See yourself shining and glowing with courage. With every inhalation see yourself owning that light that is yours. On your exhale, give that light to someone who needs it. As you inhale, receive. As you exhale, extend it to someone who needs it.
Inhale: “I own my light.”
Exhale: “I share and extend my light with others.”
The dark journey is not the way of the Universe. Walk in your light and choose light. The Great Light always surrounds you and extends out from you. You are created of light and in light.
Finish your visualization with three deep inhales and three deep exhales.”