playing small

A few weeks ago I sat in a room with a group of committed students of Kundalini yoga. Each person shared openly and honestly about what is happening in their life. As we moved around the circle I could feel the pressure building as I started to think about what I would share. There hadn't been any major shifts over the last month. And I wasn't feeling particularly bogged down by anything. But then one of the women shared that she hadn't been committing to her practice the way that she has previously. She admitted that she wasn't feeling the way she was accustomed to feeling about her yoga practice. She said she'd been playing it small. And at that moment I realized that I too have been playing in small in many aspects of my life.

Kundalini yoga has changed every aspect of my life; my friendships, my mindset, my physical and energetic bodies, my diet, my spiritual practice. Yet, over the last couple of months, I haven't been doing my best. Yes, I show up #almosteveryday to move through the kriya and meditation. Yes, I read and watch videos and educate myself on the practice. But no, I haven't really been allowing myself to fully be in the experience. Same goes for two courses I'm taking. I'm not really allowing myself to be in the work.  And here's why:

I'm scared.

The last 5 years have been a seemingly never-ending rollercoaster of change, pushing and pulling, expansion and contraction, seeking and searching, remembering and sifting. It's been an emotionally expansive, yet exhausting time. I am grateful for the lessons, but not always the experiences that precipitated them. 

What scares me is that if I really allow myself to be in the practices, to really do the work I am ultimately setting myself up for change - and in my experience, big changes. I'm scared that those changes will come with heartache.

But fear is a teacher and a helper. Fear is the thing that keeps me from walking down dark alleyways (and watching horror films), but it probably shouldn't be the thing determining how I'm going to show up for mySelf and my community. As Elizabeth Gilbert so aptly describes (and I'm paraphrasing here); Fear can be in the car, but it cannot be in the front passenger seat. It's not the navigator, it's a passenger.

What I am continuing to learn when I ignore an emotion is that all I'm doing is asking it to be louder. When I acknowledge an emotion and try to understand where it's coming from, I'm better able to make a clear choice about how to move forward.

So what does all of that mean? Now that I understand why I've been playing small and am no longer ignoring the fact that I'm scared of more changes, I can make a decision in how I'm going to move forward. And here's what I'm doing:

I made an oil blend to help release fear. The healing qualities of the oils I work with have been wonderful teachers, healers and supporters.

I've started a new kriya that is works quickly and effectively at cutting through the crap.

I'm literally dancing with the shadow aspect of fear to honour and understand.

But most of all I'm doing my best to be gentle with myself. The changes are inevitable and I can only control my reaction. What I know for sure is that I am not the same woman I was 6 months ago or a year ago. With my practice of yoga, ritual and movement I can see that it is slowly becoming the norm to move from a place of neutrality, from clarity. And that's really where I want to move from. 

Jennie AlexisComment