I did a back bend in my yoga class today!
It was so exhilarating! I had support from my instructor and another gal who was in the class, but I did it!
I was so scared! I was scared my back would go out. I was scared my arms wouldn't be strong enough to support me. I was scared the instructor wouldn't have the strength to support me. I was scared I would fall. I did not have any idea how I was going to do such a thing.
But afterwards I felt so good! I felt strong and capable of doing hard things. I felt almost invincible!
And then I got to thinking of all the many things I'm afraid of in life (no,I don't mean spiders). I began to ponder the little fears that hold me back from living as I truly desire or as I feel I am meant to do. I love this quote from President Uchtdorf (and would like to apply it to more than just church meetings):
Too often we attend meetings and nod our heads; we might even smile knowingly and agree. We jot down some action points, and we may say to ourselves, “That is something I will do.” But somewhere between the hearing, the writing of a reminder on our smartphone, and the actual doing, our “do it” switch gets rotated to the “later” position. ...let’s make sure to set our “do it” switch always to the “now” position!...Think of what a glorious thing it is to reach beyond our earthly limitations, to have the eyes of our understanding opened and receive light and knowledge from celestial sources! (CR April 2011)
I've been making up excuses for the last two years (since I started my yoga practice) as to why I would not do a back bend. I've even tried headstands, but just could not get myself to do this! Now that I've done it I think, "What was I afraid of?" There are so many things on my "list" I would love to accomplish before I die. Some of those things are on hold for obvious reasons (six kids to raise!). But there are even little things I think about that I just don't do...mostly out of fear or lack of knowledge. I have always admired women around me who simply take action, especially those who build things and aren't afraid of the tools and procedure necessary for such projects!
This is going to sound strange, but sometimes I like to imagine myself in heaven looking back at the earth life I experienced; I wonder what I might be feeling or thinking when that day comes. I've said for a long time that I hope I don't get up there and say, "Man! I wish I had enjoyed that more." Now, I'm thinking of a new phrase: "What was I so afraid of?" There are missed opportunities all around us simply because we are afraid - - afraid of what people will think or how we look, afraid we will fail, afraid it won't work out just like we'd planned. Life is FULL of moments that allow fear to be in control. Heck, I wouldn't have gotten married if I'd let fear take over, that's one of the scariest choices to make!
This is NOT an "eat drink and be merry" post, I promise. This refers to the GOOD things in life we could be doing but are too afraid to make the jump. So go do it! Introduce yourself to the gal you see at the park every day. Invite your neighbor to church. Make a new meal. Take up jogging. Better yet - run that marathon! Cut your hair. Color your hair. Write that novel that's been sitting in the back of your mind for ages. Play legos all day with your four-year-old. Go visit the elderly widow down the street. Read a good book. Play in the sprinklers. Have that difficult conversation with your spouse. Write that note. Learn something new. Be present!
Oh, I have so many fears that keep me from reaching and doing. I get too comfortable where I'm comfortable. ;-) But I do believe the Lord blesses us with our righteous desires. "...wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God (Moroni 7:13)." Likewise, "...God didn't design us to be sad. He created us to have joy."
So what's stopping me? What's stopping you? What am I afraid of?
- - - - - -
Fear not, Dear Friend, But Freely Live Your Days
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Fear not, dear friend, but freely live your days
Though lesser lives should suffer. Such am I,
A lesser life, that what is his of sky
Gladly would give for you, and what of praise.
Step, without trouble, down the sunlit ways.
We that have touched your raiment, are made whole
From all the selfish cankers of man's soul,
And we would see you happy, dear, or die.
Therefore be brave, and therefore, dear, be free;
Try all things resolutely, till the best,
Out of all lesser betters, you shall find;
And we, who have learned greatness from you, we,
Your lovers, with a still, contented mind,
See you well anchored in some port of rest.