I am a champion procrastinator. I have talked myself out of this blog for 5 years. Every week it’s on my To Do List. Every week it remains undone. Why? It’s not that I don’t have the outlet for a blog. Or that I have writer’s block. Or any of the other reasons people don’t write. It’s because I prefer the comforts of backstage to the spotlight. But I’m tired of being AFWAID.
A few days ago it hit my like a ton of bricks. I was brainstorming ideas for my inaugural blog entry. I was inspired to write but hadn’t settled in on a topic. Then out of the abyss, my lesson whacked me across the head like it often does.
I was getting my kids ready for school. On Wednesdays the PTA sells ice cream in the cafeteria as a fundraiser. My savvy 9 year old knows where my loose coin stash is and hollered from across the house, “Mom… It’s ice cream Wednesday. I’m going to grab some change K?” I said sure but give some to your little brother too. My 5 year old has seen his friends magically appear with ice cream on Wednesdays, but he hasn’t pushed for it and we were ok with that. There he stood in the doorway examining the coins his brother had placed in his hand. I could see the possibility of ice cream swoop in and light up his face. But he is a logistics person and he was born thinking every detail through. He realized he had never independently made an ice cream transaction. He froze, paralyzed with fear. There’s a moment right before a child bursts into tears and in a blink we were in that pre-sob moment. I asked, what are you upset about? It’s ice cream Wednesday. You can use that money to buy ice cream. He said, “I’ve never bought ice cream before. I don’t know how to do it. I’m AFWAID.”
Wow. For something to deter a child from ice cream, it’s got to be big. Like huge, scary, monster under the bed BIG. Here he stands, with permission to buy ice cream at school. With the money in is hand to buy it. The only thing separating his sweet little five-year-old-self and some ice-cream is him. His thoughts. His fear of the unknown. His worry about not knowing what to do.
I’ve been blessed with many talented and brilliant teachers in my life, but I absorb things best when they are simple. Pure. So easy a five year old can understand. My kids have taught me so many life lessons. Without even trying, they’ve become the greatest teachers this life has blessed me with.
I’ve been afraid. I’ve let fear of the unknown get its grip and stop me in my tracks.
That’s a pretty crappy way to start a new year. So, I’m choosing to be done with it.
Despite being a yoga teacher and speaking in front of people all the time, I’m quite shy. I loathe public speaking. I’m your classic introvert. And putting yourself out there in writing, well it just seems so permanent. So vulnerable. Have you read the nasty things people spew at each other on blogs and in social media? I mean some of it is downright ruthless. Part of me wonders why people bother.
The reality is, the haters are gonna hate regardless of what you do. So we can hide out, be paralyzed by fear, and miss out on ice cream. OR. We can see where we might be sabotaging ourselves. Where we might be robbing ourselves of opportunity, happiness, and success. Where we might be the only one standing in our own way.
Have you ever seen an image of Ganesha? He’s quite popular amongst yogis, but even many people who don’t practice yoga can recognize his elephant head atop a boy’s body. It’s a strange image for western culture and people often wonder why yogis are so enamored with him. Here’s the deal.
First off, his creation story or myth are quite memorable.
Ganesha is the child of the Goddess Parvati. Her husband Shiva was constantly invading her privacy. He would even enter her bathing quarters without her permission. One day she rubbed the sandalwood paste from her body, infused it with life and told the boy she created that he was her son. She asked him to guard the entrance while she bathed. Shiva returned from battle and saw this unknown boy blocking the entrance and preventing him from getting to his wife, Parvati. He was so enraged he severed the boy’s head. When Parvati emerged from the bath and saw what Shiva had done, she was full of sorrow and rage. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right? To calm her, Shiva commanded his army to head out in to the forrest and bring back the first head they could find. The first creature his troops encountered was an elephant. Shiva placed the elephant’s head on the boy’s body where Parvati once more breathed life into him.
Secondly, Ganesha is known as the “remover of obstacles”. Is it starting to make more sense now? When people see something separating themselves from that proverbial ice cream, they want help. A solution. Something to bring them closer to their desired outcome. Ganesha is a beacon for just that.
That’s why if you do see his murti (form), you will usually see him near the entry of an establishment. My husband Steve and I know a man named Manoj who has made it his life’s work to procure murtis or deity statues for people. He has a spectacular collection. I’ve seen him packing up after several yoga festivals. When a helper comes to him and says, what would you like me to take to the truck? He carefully packs up Ganesha. He lovingly passes it to the mover. “This one first. He is always first.”
When you want to move forward in life, you will go with greater grace and ease if you can first figure out what has been in your way. What has kept you from already being there? When we can identify the obstacles and remove them, our efforts are more potent and efficacious.
I’ve been meditating and reflecting on the year as it nears and end and visualizing what 2017 will look like. It’s not always the funnest thing, but it’s quite helpful to notice where I might have been in my own way. The good news is I can change myself. I’m not in control of all the other stuff that happens out there, but my thoughts…. my actions….. I can shift those. I can be the boss of those things. I can tell my busy mind to get out of my way, because I have things to do. Places to go. Goals to crush. I hope you’ll join me. If you are looking for a resource on how to get out of your own way more, check out The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear into Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein. It was my book club pick this month and it’s full of tips for moving forward in life.
Cheers to an amazing 2017! May it be our best year yet. Now let’s go get some ice cream.