On the other side of Fear is Freedom: A yogi's guide to moving through fear
One of the most powerful practices I have worked on over the years is moving through fear.
A few years ago, I remember feeling lost, as though I was at a standstill in life. While I could go on living the life I was leading, I knew, deep down, that it wasn’t fulfilling.
If I could do it all over again, I would take more risks. I am grateful for all of the choices I made, because they have led me to where I am, but I see all the times when I froze because I was afraid of what might be. Below is what I have learned, and although it is still a work in progress, it's a practice that becomes easier and more fulfilling over time.
Seize the moment
When I left my corporate job in marketing, I had $5,000 in my bank account. I decided to take those funds and travel. I packed everything up and bought a one-way ticket to Australia. In my mind, this was madness. I didn’t have a plan or a fall back plan, simply a desire to do what I had always dreamed to do: see the world. I figured, now was the time. I didn’t have a family or job that kept me tied to where I was so I took a leap of faith. It turned out to be the greatest leap of my life and the very foundation from which I was able to build a life I love today. If you have the opportunity, seize it!
Seizing the moment has become a worthwhile practice since becoming a parent. The problem is, we think we have time. You are given time and you choose how to spend it. When we seize the moment, things happen for us at the appropriate time, right on time. Oftentimes, I do not know when things are going to happen. I simply set the intention that they will and when the moment arises, I take action. Action must take place in order for you to progress and grow. We do not learn by looking, we learn by doing.
Be intentional with your "busyness"
But doing can be overrated. Sometimes we are over-doers. Meaning, we keep ourselves busy in order to block out some unaddressed fears. Fears are funny, they stay hidden inside of you until you can no longer bear the resistance. Your body starts to fight back and you’ll hear yourself complain a whole lot more. Complaints are the gateway to self-sabotaging behavior. Turn those complaints into requests to take care of yourself and listen to your intuition. Your intuition knows the way but sometimes reason overrides this small voice of wisdom within you. You start to talk yourself out of things instead of stepping into trust and letting go of control. Control is tricky too. In some ways, it’s nice to know how things are going to go because you have placed them in a controlled environment and mapped out the ways the journey could unfold. Life is super predictable and also, very boring. You stifle creativity, innovation, joy, freedom and even sexuality when everything has to fit into its perfect little box. Break open your box. Start from a blank canvas. Abandon that which you know in order to create space for the unimaginable to happen. Sometimes it’s rough. I’ll admit, there were days when I didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills. Then, something would happen. I would book a modeling job or a new class would present itself. When you say yes, the universe gives you more opportunity. If you remain a pessimist, then you’ll push away the very thing you wish to call in in order to attract abundance.
When you say yes, the universe gives you more opportunity. If you remain a pessimist, then you’ll push away the very thing you wish to call in in order to attract abundance.
Learn not to say no, but what to say no to.
No is a very important word. When you focus on your goals, you must stay focused on achieving them. If you are not so hard pressed on meeting your goals, then live in a state of unknown, but be willing to let go of the life you envision. This too, can be a very empowering place to live, because you live moment by moment. But you might also find yourself leaking energy in ways that do not serve you. It’s a balance. Learn to say no to the things that dim your light and learn to say yes to the things that light you up inside. Only you know what those things are, and they are usually discovered by tuning in to your intuition.
Block out the noise.
One of the reasons I love yoga and meditation is the skill it builds within you to listen to yourself. Follow your inner guide. Don’t listen to everyone else. In fact, don’t ask for other people’s opinion. You don’t need permission to follow your heart. You just need to do it! And the right people will come to you, based on the laws of attraction. If you want to call in that dream job or relationship, then you have to block out all of the noise that is telling you to go a certain way or direction. You have to stop taking other people’s advice. Good advice will guide you back home to you. It will empower you to make your own choices. So you steer the ship of your dreams, no one else.
Let your heart lead the way.
How do we find our way back into our hearts? We listen. The world wants us to have answers. Even the spiritual world is becoming this way. “I am a master at this, an expert at that, I can teach you this” and the list goes on. We are all guides. We are forging our own path. Sometimes it’s easier to float in the current of someone else’s work but ultimately when you tune in and listen to the beating of your heart, it will guide you down your own path. Your path is an accumulation of your life experiences. It will draw upon the strengths you have developed over time. It will seek connection over competition. It will guide you back home to love. You will feel guided, connected and inspired in all that you do. It won’t feel forced yet everything meaningful will happen and things will unfold with great ease. You’ll draw in the company you wish to attract, who is will support you because you support, love, honor and appreciate them. It all just starts to work. And you won’t know why or how and when, but it simply will. And when it does, I hope you pause to soak it all in. To love it all. The hurt. The happy. The highs. The lows. The good days. The bad days. You’ll laugh and cry through it all because it helps to clear the energy.
When you're ready, LET GO.
Buddhism teaches us that the root of all suffering is attachment. One of the greatest lessons of this journey is that everything comes to an end. Thus when you can learn to let go with grace, life unfolds a lot easier. Never grasp onto success or achievement. Simply allow it to flow through you like a river. Coming and going. Breath by breath. Moment by moment. The same thing goes for failure. You are learning. Some even say the present doesn’t actually exist. There is only this passage between the past and the future. Like the line in the ocean, the tide pulls in and washes away, and the line between land and sea is a blur somewhere in between those two masses. So give yourself permission to live in the in between, in the unknown, in the daring adventure that is life, being a vessel for love, healing and transformation. What you might find is the very secret to a fulfilling life.
Wishing you all the best on your journey through fear and into freedom. There really is so much life to love if we close our eyes and step into trust. You got this.
SoCal native Ali Owens has been leading yoga and meditation classes, workshops and trainings for more than 10 years. Through extensive study in yoga, meditation, mindfulness, Ayurveda, breath work, and aromatherapy, Ali has learned how to heal herself and support others on their path towards optimal wellness.
You can find Ali on the app, where she has a complete 7-part chakra meditation series, several meditations and yoga sequences for new moms, and Three Tokens of Gratitude, a delightful "from bed" Yoga Wake Up that encourages a sense of gratitude for the day. Find Ali on Instagram or online at https://www.aliomyoga.com.