These are my fears part one:


These are my fears part one:

To open the heart also means to peel back the layers that have closed it up. One of those, and perhaps the one that builds the thickest walls and is the most difficult to break down is fear. Fear is the human emotion that elicits the strongest reaction. It makes sense, we needed it to survive many many moons ago. If we didn’t fear predators, we didn’t see the light of another day.

The problem is that in our current day world, where we don’t necessarily have to run or fight for our lives, we are still just as reactive to fear. And some fears are life and death, but many fears are more benign, yet still causing a whole body reaction that ultimately shuts down our hearts and adds to the layers protecting it.

Heart opening is a huge challenge for me. Looking at my fears is a huge challenge for me. My hope is that by taking this vulnerable step, there will be reward on the other side.

So, here are my fears (currently) part one:

I moved to the community I am a part of four years ago without out any connections to anyone. Fortunately I had my husband, son, and mother to move out here with, making that giant leap feel more doable. I left behind a closely connected dance community, dear and wonderful friends, and a deep and vast pool of yoga opportunities. My fear was that in leaving all of that behind, I would feel empty, isolated, and alone. And at times I have felt that. Now on the other side of that, I can honestly say that the move has been the best decision possible and that my cup is filled daily with love from my children and husband, friends I have made, and yoga students. I did leave dance behind, which hurts my heart, and I do fear that I won’t ever really dance again. Not like I was. Not like I love.

The fears that have stuck with me through this move are some that I am examining almost daily. When I first arrived, I was urged to begin offering yoga classes right away. I felt stoked by the support I was finding and eager to please. I did start offering classes right away without having much of a sense of how to go about things. I was very much afraid that no one would show up to my classes or that I would be outcasted for being out of the ordinary. Fortunately for me, stepping into the seat of the teacher in a new community of people who knew nothing about me went quite well. I have been well received, I have grown my class sizes, I have been lucky enough to teach at least 3 classes a week for the past 4 years, and I have built something based on the message of yoga and the integrity of my being….so…that should erase any fears I had, right?

But no. I still fear that coming into a small community and not having any connections to this place will set me apart in a negative way. I fear that there is a lack of trust in me that creates a hurdle to people who may otherwise want to check yoga out. Simply because I am not from here or haven’t been here long enough. I fear that if I don’t offer an amazing class every single time, that students won’t return. I fear that if I don’t demonstrate beyond a doubt that I am a qualified and knowledgeable instructor, that people will just brush me off. I fear that I will eventually have to stop offering classes due to low attendance. I fear that being under-slept and scatter-brained with all the “mom duties” will dampen my ability to speak clearly, to keep it together, to appear professional. And the reality is that it does. And the other reality is that I can easily find a counter argument to each and every one of the fears that I listed. I can prove in my own mind that there is no need to have any fear. 

I am not here to do that now. I am here to name those fears, to be present with those fears, to acknowledge that they still come up. Some of these fears come true. And when they do, it’s not actually so scary. I do not offer an amazing class every time, yet people still come back! And I will have bad days that impact my ability to teach, I am human. In fact, I had about 90 bad days in a row when I was sick for 3 months. And my classes were way less than amazing! Yet, I keep showing up and so do my students. 

It’s difficult to look inside and see that all of these fears come down to one: fear that I am not good enough simply as I am. It’s painful to see that in myself. It feels ugly and harsh. I would never want that for anyone else and I am often making a point of letting others know that they are enough just as they are. On a rational level, I know very well that I am good enough, yet this shadow side of me still lingers. Now that I have named the root of my fears…what do I do?

In sitting with these fears, I choose not to analyze or rationalize them, I choose not to look at the reasons why they are unfounded. I choose instead to show myself deep compassion in the process of naming and sharing these fears. I choose to breath with each of these fears, to hold them in my mind and in my heart. I choose not to judge them or fix them. And maybe, over time, they might shift and change and become other fears, or perhaps lead to a deeper truth. Maybe they will always be there but will lose their strength over time. I don’t know. I have taken on the challenge to explore heart opening, and so without the answers or any plans, I am here to share my journey and the practice of yoga with you. 

Thank you.

Namaste ~ Esther

Esther Petrocine