Ask Parvati 26: Follow Your Bliss – Part 3, Managing Fear and Doubt

PART 3: MANAGING FEAR AND DOUBT

(Continued from Name It To Claim It)

“If you don’t follow your dream, who will?” – Emeril Lagasse

When we want to start anything new, we usually experience some level of fear and doubt. Sometimes the fear is so great, that we never make it to the starting line. Imprisoned by our fear, we shackle ourselves to what we believe to be true and look out at life, wondering how we ever are going to live the life we want.

Fear and doubt are not bad. I don’t believe any emotion per se is “bad”. When fear and doubt become overwhelming, they hinder our ability to live fulfilled lives. Some fear when starting a new project or embracing life change is natural and can be an ally. It keeps us alert and on our toes. Fear heightens our awareness and can keep us safe from danger.

And so it is with doubt. A small amount of doubt can help us make decisions that are rooted in discernment rather than foolish impulse. Doubt can help us find the courage to ask probing questions and get answers to things that may be less immediately apparent. But too much doubt will keep us from even getting to the starting line.

When fear and doubt become so loud that we talk ourselves out of living our joy, we must stop, regroup and change the way we deal with these emotions.

From what I can tell, everyone has the voices that say, “I can’t. I am too young. I am too old. I am not good looking enough. I am not healthy enough. I am not wealthy enough. I am not talented enough…” The list goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on! It does not stop! The “not enoughs” seem to be part of our human shadow. How we manage fear and doubt often makes the difference between those who are happily pursuing a life they love and those who are waiting on the sidelines.

I do not for a moment feel that people who are celebrities are necessarily on their highest soul path. Perhaps singing and dancing in front of thousands of people, or being a movie superstar, or a high-powered business mogul does not challenge these people at a soul level. Perhaps those abilities are a distraction from what they may find harder to do, such as to stay at home, raise a family and be a parent. A true calling does not have to be glamorous.

Whether you are Sally Homemaker or Pablo Picasso, the one thing I do believe people who excel at their lives and are living their joy have in common is the power to manage the voice of their inner critic. Whether you are in business, the arts, science or sports, anyone who wishes to connect to their soul voice has to face their inner critic that will tirelessly provide them with every reason why they should not and could not follow their bliss.

When we are on the path, we have a choice. We can give the power to these voices or we can let them go. If we are to let them go, we must learn to see them as they are. They are distractions, old stories that have no real power other than what we feed them. We must learn to work with fear and doubt in the moment, rather than push them away.

Just as with any emotion, when we try to run from it, it follows us. When we sink into it and become identified with it, we lose ourselves in it. When we run from or sink into fear and doubt, they grow. What we resist persists. Instead we learn to welcome fear and doubt, and be with them. When we are present and stop fighting them, the energy that feeds them subsides. Soon we find ourselves not so afraid, not in such doubt. We learn to welcome fear as it walks along side us, rather than panicking about feeling afraid. Learning to manage our fears and doubts is key because as we travel along our soul path, we will face adversity. As we develop the skill to manage our shadow, we find the room in our lives to choose the light.

(Continues tomorrow with Facing Adversity)

 

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Great entry that gets right down to why we resist our joy. To recognize the fear and doubt for what they are, and go beyond them, is when the fun happens!

I am reminded of Mary Oliver’s poem “The Journey”:

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.

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WHY YOGA IN THE NIGHTCLUB

I am often asked what inspired me to bring yogic expression into the club scene. I answer easily. Yoga In the Nightclub is a natural expression of who I am as a musical artist and dedicated yogini. Yoga is not a physical practice but a way of life. It is about learning to be present in all one does, to see the divine here, now, in this moment. As such, yoga is everywhere. It is about feeling connected to something much greater than our limited ego or will. It is about being in service to life, feeling interconnected to that very life force. Yoga In The Nightclub is a celebration of life and a reminder that we can find awakened presence everywhere.

Yoga in the West is mostly known as a series of bendy physical exercises. Yet there is much more to it than fitness. Yoga’s systematic breath and body exercises, designed to clear the subtle channels in our energy system, prepare us for meditation, through which we may experience a life inspired by our interconnected, multidimensional true nature. Our body, that once was seen as “mine”, is no longer our identity, but a gift on loan from the divine. We care for it, but we are not attached to it. The practice of yoga offers us the opportunity to experience the transmutation of matter into pure light, embody the multidimensional and rest in the eternal.

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WE ARE ALL CONNECTED

Hatha yoga, the physical practice of yoga, is just one of many aspects of yoga, which range from selfless service to astrology and prayer. The Sanskrit word “yoga” most simply translates to “union”, implying that the practice of any yoga will bring together our perceived sense of separateness. As a whole, yoga is an ancient science of life. It is a practical method of shedding excess and bringing us back from the self-delusion of separation from the divine so that we may realize our inherent interconnection to and ultimate oneness with it.

As we begin to understand that yoga is everywhere, we come to see how we are all connected in vast ways far beyond the limitations of our personal will and ego. What I do affects you, and vice versa. We are one earth family. At the heart of it all, we share the same heartbeat. Breathe to be. We are one.

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AWAKENED LIVING

When we are open, life blossoms, just as a flower opens to welcome the morning sun.  We see that the sun, though it is millions of light years away, has a tender yet powerful relationship with the flower, as do the rain and the clouds. From this perspective we see that we are part of the whole. Life is a symphonic masterpiece with which, when we are open, we are completely resonant.

As we come to understand our oneness, we can revel in it with wonder and joy. We can consider in awe how immense it all is. We can let go of the idea that an illusory, isolated sense of self could possibly be in control, and open to an exquisite unfolding of life in absolute perfection. Our actions become not about “me” but about the whole. Each moment is integrated within the whole. No one decision is separate.

When we begin to see that each decision we make affects not just ourselves but everyone and everything on the planet, we act with more compassion. When we have more compassion, we realize the impact of our actions and we naturally want less and practice more kindness. As stewards of the Earth, we each are called to learn to live in harmony with ourselves, each other and our planet. We all breathe the same air and live on the same living organism, our planet. Varied in race and creed, we are all one family, children of the same mother, the planet Earth.

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THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GRACE

In each moment, there is infinite grace. By becoming more conscious as we practice yoga on the mat, at work, at play or in the nightclub, we let go of the unnecessary and develop greater internal spaciousness which blooms throughout our lives. In this space new life and possibilities arise.

As we rest our awareness on the simple purity and grace of the breath, we realize - we are alive! We let go of wanting things from the future and the past and open to what is here and now. We feel as vast as the sky and rooted in the richness of this moment.

When we “breathe to be”, we understand our interconnection. We see that we are not the doers but a part of the whole, the same energy that is in the flowers and in the stars. We know that our essence is divine - from which we have come, to which we return.

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PARVATI'S NEW SINGLE - MARCH 2016
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I AM LIGHT

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SHARE YOUR YOGA
I am light!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gone, gone beyond. Oh what awakening!
Gone, gone beyond. Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
I am the light, liquid gold light
I am in delight! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

I am the light (gate gate), liquid gold light (paragate)
I am in delight (gate gate) transforming the night (paragate)

Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Oh what awakening! (paragate) (I am)
Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight
I am light, dancing through the night
I am light, in delight
I am light, dancing through the night

I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (gate gate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (paragate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light

I am light!

© 2015 Parvati Devi
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