Guys! Yoga instructor Elena Brower is back and this time with steps to eliminate unwanted fear so that it doesn’t remain an obstacle in our life. But first, a little background information. Following her graduation from Cornell University in 1992 (and with a degree in design), she worked as a textile and apparel designer for six years until studying with master yoga teachers in 1997. Today, she teaches yoga classes in New York City and hosts retreats around the world. Her students know her as a confident, simple, and gentle soul who nurtures each of her students through different poses. So, let’s get into it, shall we?
Turning Things Around
Do you obstruct your own greatness with fear? Through the work I do, I’m learning that this is our biggest blind spot – we’re just afraid, and that fear seems like the best reason to stay stuck where we are.
The layers of fear we host in our bodies are taking their toll on us, both individually and collectively.
What are we so afraid of? Afraid to fail, afraid to succeed, afraid to miss the point, be on the wrong side. We’re afraid to help too little, afraid to help too much and neglect our own well-being. We’re afraid of doing the wrong thing, the right thing, the bad thing, the good thing.
To dissolve those fearful layers, it’s useful to remember that our collective fear is really just a widening pool of our tiniest personal doubts, coalescing to create the crushing fear we feel when we’re having a hard time. Like on the mornings when we wake up and fearlessness is hard to find. Or the nighttimes when it’s nothing but noise or worse, numbers in our minds.
How can we soften this feeling? We have to begin asking that very question, and then articulating each fear; in the asking and the articulation. We’ll get the information we need. How can I soften this feeling of fear? I’m afraid of _______________ (make notes about your fears here – my examples below).
I’m afraid I’m not good enough as a mom, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a teacher. I’m ashamed to say I’m an addict out loud. I’m afraid to be too easy on myself, and I’m afraid to be too hard on myself. I’m afraid I’m not healthy enough, I’m afraid I’m not generous enough. I’m afraid of giving advice, and I’m afraid of taking it.
When I can speak those statements, I’m handed the keys to unlock the fear.
Below I’ve compiled a list of instructions – really, these are promises that I’m writing for myself, in order to navigate those moments with more grace.
When I heed this list, I’m handed the conversations, situations and people who’ll show me both my silliest, smallest doubt, and where I can be very proud. May this list be helpful.
Have a dream – know where you’re going in any area of your life. For example, if you want to be a more attentive lover, be clear that this is your dream, write it, and make your vision a reality (my love dream is below). One of the best and simplest assignments I’ve ever received is from the Handel Group. Design a dream for all eighteen areas of your life – from your Career to your Romance, from your Family to your Spirituality – and learn how to live into them. Now that I’ve written my dreams, I update them whenever I feel like that area of my life is stagnant or scary. In 2015, you’ll be able to listen in on telecourses with me, so together we can devise your highest wishes, and learn how to make them real. It’s a beautiful and precious process. Here’s my relationship dream.
By my side is the man I love in a way I never knew existed. This is love within like, and like within love. I am in a deep state of respect for him, and I’m clear and delicious when I’m with him. We design our life together and cultivate a profound connection that inspires us both to rise higher. I listen to him, and I offer support in the forms of magic and guidance. I lift him up. I heal him with my hands. I love him with my eyes. I am calm and kind. I communicate well to manage daily expectations, and I make it a total adventure. I am grateful for him. I’m in awe of our story, and I am growing wiser, sexier, and happier, nourished and brilliantly in love.
Turn the tiniest doubts into conversation; shared vulnerability is often the best and only medicine. Ask your (partner/child/parent) to sit with you, and offer you some guidance. Being asked to help is a high compliment. Ask for a moment of their time to shed some light on that which is vexing for you – they can see things differently from their perspective. If you’re hesitant, remember that if they asked you to help them, you’d likely be inspired to rise up and help.
Spend time with friends who really get you and love you. Create a handful of hours per month with them, with no phones – cooking, talking, listening to music, dancing. Talking and being in person with friends is a healing reflection and an important reminder for your soul.
Turn fear into ritual. Especially when alone. Turn what scares you into a sacred moment with yourself. Consult your favorite book of poems, your angel cards – make a quiet moment to steer yourself back with the help of your teachers or guides.
Two examples of rituals, specifically for parents.
- If you’re afraid you’re not being a good enough parent, designate uninterrupted time to talk with your child about the day, preferably at bedtime, at least twice a week. When this becomes a habit, you’ll feel closer to your kids, and you’ll feel more confident in your parenting. This time is for you to listen and be together. Ask to watch them play their favorite game or play with their favorite toy, and stay with it. Be enchanted by your child’s mind and heart and questions.
- Ask your child what you could’ve done better that day. Or what you just didn’t handle well. That kid will tell you if you keep the space safe for him to talk. Please remember to listen well and don’t try to defend. Stay soft and receive – you’ll get all the information you’ll need to be great for your child, and that will inspire your child to be great for you.
Turn anger into curiosity. No matter how angry I get, I can always ask one more question about the source of it. Whether of yourself or whoever seems to be “making you angry” (which is never the case, we’re always choosing the anger), ask yourself one more question about how this can be turned around. Byron Katie’s fourth question helps me here – who would I be without this thought?
Turn hate into love. No matter what the circumstance, you’ve always been designing your innermost attitude towards any situation. If your attitude has been less than accepting, now you get to choose your attitude consciously, beautifully.
Spend time in water. Bathtubs, steam room, swim, float, sit in water.
And get lots of hugs. Hugs always help.
Very encouraging words from Elena. And we at HealingRadiusPro would like you to tell us in the comment section below—how do you eliminate fear and handle uneasy situations or moments with grace?