In order to reach a more diverse range of individuals as a therapist, facilitating healing- emotionally, physically, and spiritually, earlier this year I made the decision to work towards my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification. In one of the first blogs I wrote for Mindful+Mama, I discussed a few of my insecurities about this endeavor. After facing my reservations, I felt ecstatic about my future journey.
My husband, who has been extremely supportive of my venture, encouraged me to complete my training in India. Immediately, I explored all of my options and found what I believe to be the place I am destined to have this learning experience.
I try not to have expectations, good or bad, but find myself fantasizing about all of the amazing possibilities. Picture Eat, Pray, Love, morphed into my version- Eat, Pray, Yoga, minus the divorce and the love affair with pizza. As I get closer to my impending departure, my fantasies are turning into nightmares, and I sense that familiar feeling creeping in- FEAR.
F-E-A-R, even spelling it out feels scary. I’m starting to imagine everything that could go wrong, all of my shortcomings, and all of the breakdowns I assume I’ll have as I miss my family. I have never been alone, never has there been a time when I’ve been without my people for more than a day. I can get over the feelings of anxiety about leading my first yoga class or failing a few times before I get it right, but I cannot seem to shake this FEAR of leaving my family.
It comforts me to know that we will all be in India. My husband and children will be with his family, eight hours from my training retreat. It will be an extensive three week course, from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm, six days per week. Communication will be limited and brief, and I won’t have the physical presence of love that my children and husband provide in times of need.
I have absolute trust in my husband, but I won’t be around to control, err, I mean take care of my children. I continue to imagine every possible disaster, things beyond my control, me not there to rescue them. I know it sounds heady and irrational, but it’s so real in the moment, and leaves me entertaining the idea of quitting altogether, not wanting to face my FEAR, dressing avoidance up in socially acceptable clothes.
I know I’m not the only mama that feels this way. So many women don’t want to leave their children, because of anxiety about a lack of control, FEAR of the what ifs. The truth that we all know to be, but have difficulty remembering in the moment, is that whatever is bound to happen will, whether we are present or not. Our mind tells us to use our rational thoughts, but our emotions sing a different, scarier tune. In times when FEAR feels like it is paralyzing me, I fall back on the following:
1. The saying F.E.A.R. can have two meanings- Face Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise. I always want to choose the latter, not allowing FEAR to stop me from my potential, my destiny. I don’t want to look back and think of what could have been, because I am too caught up in the what ifs.
2. Your Intention- My intention is to grow, in turn helping others to become healthier, even though being away from my family is part of the deal. The more fulfilled you are, the more effective you are. Like my friend and Mindful+Mama co- blogger, Emily, stated in her post “Road Trip Part One,”
“I promised not to waste the gift that my family was giving to me with this trip. My family invested in me, and I returned to them a more complete person, ready to resolve disputes, slice apples, hose off muddy feet, and be loved by my favorite people in the world.”
3. FEAR is a natural response- FEAR is biological and emotional. FEAR has helped us to survive as a species and is a normal human feeling. Lean into the discomfort, as Brené Brown says. If you try to push down your FEAR and not face it, inevitability it will control you. Grant yourself grace, allowing the sensation of FEAR and the discomfort that goes alongside it. I saw a quote the other day, and it said, “Sometimes the FEAR won’t go away, so you will have to do it afraid.”
4. Stop being a control freak- I think every mom can relate to this one. We tell our husbands to give the kids a bath and proceed to dole out a verbal step-by-step guide. Or, we complain that they don’t take the lead with the children enough, then badger them and kill future willingness to try anything-ever-again. Letting go of control, whether we are with them or without them, serves everyone well. We need to have faith that things will go well, knowing we cannot control every outcome, good or bad, for our families. The only things we truly have power over are our reactions to the occurrences in our lives.
I have faced my FEARS before and risen each time. I will let go and lean into my discomfort, into my destiny, journeying towards my life’s purpose.