There are two different phrases that I have heard one of my teachers use regularly; "feel what you feel" and "fear is here". I've uttered them in my own classes often, and for the most part thought I knew exactly why they struck a chord with me, and thus why they bear repeating. That's the funny thing about realization and self-discovery: it often tends to unfold layer by layer, moment by moment throughout the course of one's journey. This is also why you will hear the same things said over and over again in a yoga class. One day a thought or idea will land one way and the next, that very same idea will land completely differently. It's also possible that the first time you actually hear it being said, is not at all the first time that it is being spoken in your presence. We hear things when we are ready.
For me, the phrase "feel what you feel" came first in a physical sense. Feel hands and feet on the yoga mat, feel sensation in the body. Do all of this without needing to change it but rather allow space for the simple acknowledgement. Use this as a means to get grounded and present. Then I began to discover the benefit of using this idea on an emotional level. Feel what you feel in this moment. Whatever emotion is lurking let it lurk, give it a gentle mental nod and know that through the permission you give yourself to feel it, you also give permission to let it go. I have been seriously focused on the letting go part of this thought...
If you read my blog at all, then you know that recently we made the transition from living life on the road, touring with Justin's show, to living, once again, in New York City. I stepped back into my life as a yoga teacher while Justin became a bit more of the primary caretaker for our daughter while he auditions for his next job. It has been a very natural transition and filled with much excitement. I am so incredibly happy being back in the studio and in action of my personal professional pursuits. New York itself has felt just like coming home. There has been a lot of joy.
There has also been a lot of meditation and manifestation work being done. There have been late night talks about goals and budgets and strategies for what our more immediate future plans are. We are trying to figure out where we want to live and what our priorities in that respect are. In truth, there has just been a lot of uncertainty and trying to calmly, rationally and lovingly navigate it. We are a big fan of the belief that we either make decisions from love or from fear. I attempt to come from a place of love as much as possible. Here's the thing though...yesterday I woke up feeling so sad and so depleted. I tried desperately to take all of my normal steps to move myself away from it and move into a more grounded and joyful space. I got on my yoga mat, meditated, journaled and even took a nap. When none of that worked, I began to talk to Justin. I said all of the things that I was trying so hard not to say to him for fear (ironically) that if I said it out loud, that is what I would manifest. I told him all of the things that were constantly running through my mind and all of the worries I had about falling short of these incredibly big plans and hopes and dreams that we have for ourselves. In essence, I said that I was scared.
Funny thing about the universe, it doesn't just hear what you say, it hears what you think. It also knows when you're faking it. As soon as I said what I was feeling, I let the tears roll down my cheeks and I felt the reality of my own fear, I felt relief. I've spent a lot of time these past few weeks looking forward with bright eyed optimism and a seriously strong determination to believe in what it is we have set out to do. Even now, when I type that out, I laugh a little bit at myself because of the absurdity. Yes, we know we are good at what we do, and we know that we can make happen what we want to make happen with a lot of work and effort and patience. And also, we just spent two years of our life doing this insanely awesome thing, which has recently ended, one of us is currently unemployed, we don't yet have a place to call our own and oh yeah, we have a toddler that we are responsible for raising into a good human being every day. OF COURSE FEAR IS HERE!!!
So here's where I all of a sudden realize the importance of "feel what you feel". Its not just about having the feeling to find the release of the "bad" emotion. Emotions aren't inherently bad. They are naturally occurring and are what they are. In defense of fear, it's gotten a bad rap. Somewhere along the line it became more courageous to have no fear than to admit fear. This is just utterly unrealistic. For the longest time I thought, feel the fear so that you can release it and replace it with joy, or with hope or with love. But there is no replacement for it. Fear is its own unique emotion that has its rightful place at the table. It doesn't need to be replaced or ignored or lessened. It is part of our human existence and it's not going anywhere any time soon. Instead, what if we give it room and space to breathe? What if, rather than hiding from it or hiding it from ourselves and others, we simply spoke of it out loud. Fear is Here. I have fear and it is in existence this very moment. And here is where I think it could get really cool: and I'm going to choose to do what I'm doing anyway. I'm still going to meditate and manifest and work to achieve my goals, but I'm going to do it with the intense and radical honesty that I'm doing it while being totally scared about doing it. The discovery here is that what I said earlier about choosing from a place of fear or love, is that I am wondering if maybe this IS love. Maybe while at the same time that we are working to step into our own light, we give voice to the dark, we honor ourselves in a more complete way. And also, maybe dark isn't so bad. Perhaps neither is fear...
is a Mama, Wife, Teacher, Writer and Creator of One OM at a time. She has been teaching and studying yoga since 2008 and has taught at studios in Syracuse, Boston and New York City. For two years her hOMe was wherever she, her husband Justin, their daughter Audrey and pug Oscar find themselves as they traveled for Justin's job on the national tour of Matilda the Musical. This way of living has really taught Sara that yoga and mediation requires nothing more than some time and a space for your mat. You can find Sara teaching regular classes in NYC, workshops and retreats all over the country as well as in her very own online studio right here!