In my vision for Vintage Yoga, yoga isn’t my only purpose. I want Vintage Yoga to be a place where women who struggle with self-esteem, self-worth, and fear can learn how to overcome these self-defeating visions of themselves. This feeling of low self-worth is more common than we may realize and so many women, like myself, go through their days putting on a happy face and pretending that everything is okay, when really, it’s not.
Why would I do that? Why would any of us do that? Fear. You may be living in fear and not even realize it. That was me. I finally realized after more than 55 years that I had been living nearly my whole life in fear. Once I came to that conclusion, my next question was why? But before I answer the WHY, let me first explain HOW I finally discovered that I had been living my life in fear.
HOW I DISCOVERED THE FEAR
In October of 2019, Juan and I started something we called The 180 Project. We took a group of amazing people through a 180-day course which was designed to help them make life changes at the end of 2019 that would carry them into 2020. Some of the women in the group were so inspired by what we accomplished that they wanted to continue with just the ladies. So, in 2020 I took the lead and created a new program just for women which I called DISCOVER. In this program, one of the key topics we talked about was fear.
It was through my research on the topic of fear that I realized I had been living my whole life in fear. Until you really understand a topic like fear, it may be difficult to see it in yourself and until then, I hadn’t realized that I was living in fear. How did I know I was living in fear? One indicator was that I always worried about what other people thought about me. All my life my actions were dictated by the fear of what others would think. This I believe is exactly why I was unable to follow through with the launch of Vintage Yoga. I was too afraid of the judgement of others.
During the past year, I have been doing a lot of self-discovery. One of the most important things I learned about myself was the source of this fear. During this year of self-discovery, one of the most valuable things I did was read. I read a variety of books on different self-help topics. (I don’t have my library with me, but when I get settled, I’ll share the books I read.) One book that stands out for me is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The most important thing I learned from her book is the idea of morning pages. At her suggestion, I began writing three pages EVERY morning. According to Cameron, it doesn’t matter what you write about, just write. What’s interesting is that even on days when I had “nothing to write” I still wrote three pages. When you set the intention to write three pages, even on days when you have nothing to write, you find that your pen takes over and the words come anyway.
WHY I HAVE THIS FEAR
One morning I was writing, and as I wrote a memory came back to me which helped me to understand the reason I have been so fixated on the opinions of others. This memory took me back to an event when I was about six years old. My mom took my sisters and me to the hospital to get some vaccinations. I recalled how I (we?) screeched and howled over the fear of getting a shot. I think we all three cried, but it may have been just me. The next day, our dad came home, and he was very angry because someone at work had seen us (me?) screaming and crying at the doctor’s office. We were spanked because of our behavior, and I believe now that this was the catalyst for my fear of what other people think. The lesson I learned was that what other people think matters. I know my dad was just doing what he thought was the right thing to do, and I think I internalized this event differently than my sisters. They don’t seem to have the same fear around the opinions of others.
So, understanding the source of the fear takes away some of the power of that fear. Notice I said some of the power. Just knowing where the fear comes from doesn’t change everything. Now, it’s up to me to decide how to use this information to my benefit. I made this discovery last summer, so it has taken me this long to work up the courage to face the fear. Even though I’m still afraid, I realized that it’s ok to be afraid, fear causes us to stretch ourselves. What’s not ok is to let the fear paralyze me and keep me from fulfilling my desire to help others. And so, I will continue to be brave, face the fear, and hopefully help other women do the same.
Once Juan and I have gotten settled in Spain, I plan to offer DISCOVER to others who may be interested in living a more empowered life. Let me know if this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of.