These Are My Fears Part Two:

 

My Fears, Part Two

Can you imagine fearing a monster under your bed? Or fearing the dark? Not likely once you reach adulthood.

I, however, am very much afraid of the monster under my bed. It’s a time eating monster who keeps me from doing all of the things I want to do. It’s the tick tock of the clock and the days going by. I am afraid that I will never have the time I need to pursue all of the things I love. 

And to dig deeper…I fear that my interest in yoga, dance, art, hiking, biking, growing food, raising animals, making kombucha and other fermented foods, as well as being a mom has spread my time even thinner. I fear that by wanting to pursue my many interests, that I am not pouring enough of myself into any one thing. I am a perpetual part-timer. I don’t have enough hours in the day to feed my varied pursuits, or my relationships. I am just feeding that monster under my bed instead. 

I worry that my part-time approach to everything I do leaves each thing incomplete. Can I really be fully present and engaged as a mom when household chores, as well as my self-directed work is falling behind? Can I really get my kombucha business off the ground when I haven’t had time to plan my next yoga class? Can I really embody the practices of yoga that are important to me if I have no time to pick up a book and read? Or when my time on the mat is a series of starts and stops, until the demands of children and dogs finally outweigh my own need to take care of myself? And how can I bring inspiration to my classes when I often feel like I am floundering through my day, barely finding the space between my own thoughts. Yoga is woven into the fabric of everything I do, and I fully believe that most yoga happens off the mat. And still, I fear that because I am not fully immersed in the world of yoga, that I am not able to lead my students to a deeper place in their practice.

There is a sanskrit word for the meaning we bring to our lives, our purpose. That word is Dharma. You can read the full description of what I believe my Dharma to be here. In short, my purpose is to offer love and support to those who need it. To help others see and trust their own inner light; to embrace all beings, letting them know that they deserve the best life they can live. This purpose is expressed through my teachings, through my kombucha creating, through my children. I say it in jest, but in my heart I do believe that yoga has the power to create world peace. My theory is that if you love yourself, your every action, your every thought, will radiate from that space of love and cause a ripple effect into the world. When you are creating love and compassion for yourself, it impacts everyone around you. And through true compassion for others, it becomes clear that our entire human family is looking for the same things. Those who cause the most harm are those who are hurting so deeply that they can see no other way. If our act of self-love can reach it’s open arms to the ones who have given up on life and cannot see their worth, change will happen. Love will win.

I believe in this wholeheartedly.…at least the optimist in me does. Then, I look around. I hear the news. I see the pain, the suffering, the hurt, and the hate in this world. The pessimist in my mind is sure that as a collective human family, we are headed toward darkness. Things keep getting worse. Wars continue. The divide gets bigger and bigger until we start to blame mental illness. Our nation was founded on separation. Mine, not yours. Take, not share. I am not you. So is it any wonder that people feel isolated and alone? And is it any wonder that people who are mentally ill will feel even more afraid and isolated when the conversation turns to us vs. them? I am not you. The Tantric saying turns that viewpoint upside down. From the Tantric view, I am not you upon first glance. With another moment or two I see that I am something like you. If the series of events in my life had been like yours, I would feel the same way that you do. I would suffer the same mental illness that you do if I had walked in your shoes. If I could imagine being you, I would see that we are both human, created equal, born as pure love, wanting pure love. From that compassionate place I begin to realize that I am nothing but you. That I am another being that came from the one to experience life in all of it’s forms. From the one came the many. We are all a piece of God in the flesh. I digress…my fear is that no matter how much yoga I provide, it will not ever reach the people who really need to know that they are loved. The dark forces will continue to grow faster than my little ripple effect from Wallowa County. So, when my expectation is to change the world, I fear that my efforts are in vain. 

Last, but not least, is the fear of another tragedy. When is it going to hit? Will I be prepared? How’s this for preparedness….I will just shut down my heart so that when the next tragedy hits, I won’t have to feel the pain.

And yet, here I am on an endeavor to open my heart. To see these fears without judging them and to be present with the feelings that surface. Peeling back the layers is profoundly insightful.  And difficult. And exhausting. This work feels important. 

When I take a step back and see all of the things I am doing, I recognize that smaller bites will make that monster stop growing. I don’t have to change the world. If I create a ripple effect that improves a day in the life of one person, the value of my time triples. If I am present to hug and hold my children and listen to what it is they have to share, it matters not how long that takes. Or if my kombucha never expands it’s reach beyond the homes of friends and family, oh well. There is a beautiful saying; ‘Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.’ - Lai Tzu. So, perhaps it is time to start feeding that time eating monster under my bed the rise and fall of the winds, the ebb and flow of the waves, the ongoing cycle of life and death. Maybe, that monster will just become the metronome of each breath, reminding me that this moment matters most, and bringing me more deeply into the now. 

 
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Esther Petrocine