These past 5 days in Florence have been the best days of *my entire year.*
I’m in beautiful Florence, strolling cobblestone streets, sampling ALL the bruschetta, and preparing to host my “Ignite Your Renaissance” yoga retreat in a few weeks. I’m ecstatic to be here now, but shocked at how close this retreat came to not happening at all.
Last year, I was majorly afraid to host a retreat in a foreign country, completely on my own.
This buoyed back into my mind when I saw my “Release Your Fear” meditation come out on YouTube this week.
Now that I’m here in Italy, where everything is SO easeful, it’s easy to forget about the crippling fear and doubt I experienced in the months leading up to this trip.
Would anyone come?
Could I handle all the prep and organization on my own?
Reflecting back, I’m so glad I didn’t let my fear dictate my choices. No matter how advanced a student (or teacher) you are, fear is present forever.
Here are my 3 tips on how to navigate fearful waters:
1. Don’t Judge
If you feel fearful often (like me), don’t judge yourself!
The first step is to realize your fear is not your identity. When you use your yoga or meditation practice to get grounded, you’re able to realize all the voices in your head (including fear) are just like passing clouds. YOU are the sky behind the clouds. You can simply observe your fear without getting caught up in the story it’s telling you.
You are not your fear.
2. Uncover the Value
I firmly believe that our bodies and minds *love* us, want what’s best for us, and are constantly striving to heal. When viewed through this lens, you fear is a valuable friend. Just like a newborn infant can only communicate through crying, fear can only get your attention by scaring you.
Recognize this, then choose go deeper.
Underneath the current of your emotions is a valuable message.
For example, I realized a lot of my fear around planning this retreat had to do with not having total control over the experience. Instead of letting a tour company assist or make decisions for me, I decided to control every aspect of the trip myself. Once I did this, even though it seemed counterintuitive, I was way *less* stressed.
This is a great example of how fear can shed light on something that makes little sense when viewed through logic, but is actually immensely valuable.
Fear is one of the most powerful channels to connect with what your innermost self truly needs and wants.
You just need to ignore fear’s scary stories and dig deeper for the real message.
3. Be Proactive
Don’t let fear nag away at you and listen to its surface level woes. Make time to drop down into your yoga or meditation practice with the intention of uncovering what’s happening at a deeper level.
Then take action immediately. This may mean having a difficult conversation, pushing yourself in a way that feels uncomfortable, or taking a new risk.
Don’t delay. I promise you’ll feel empowered and happy, immediately.
Then you can say: “Hey fear, thanks for helping me figure this out!”
Here in Italy, I’ve been practicing a cell-phone free, camera-free lifestyle and trying to be fully present in Florence. Here are a few of the photos I’ve managed to take so far.
Did you know Michelangelo was a master anatomist and lover of science? He dissected hundreds of bodies! I The Renaissance was the marriage of art and science, just like yoga is a blend of science and spirituality.
My mom is here with me helping me find all the best off-the-beaten path lunch spots. Here we are in a lemon grove 🙂
Don’t forget to try this week’s new video on Releasing Your Fear.