― Eleanor Roosevelt
As Uma and I walked towards the pasture, I noticed the magnificence of the horses as they grazed in the fields. I felt the cool breeze rustling up the dualities of love and fear that were both alive and well within me. I noticed how I pinned my own ears back scanning the wind for hidden sounds. Do you notice yourself listening for the subtle tones of fear and love in your life?
My entire trip to FL had been full of hidden sounds, contrasting experiences, and as Uma would declare, ‘a growth period.’ This growth period began as a casual roller coaster ride with fear. Imagined fears, manufactured fears, and visceral fears. Fear is defined as, “A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, pain, etc.” Have you ever felt this distressing emotion in your life?
As I stood in the vastness of the spacious field, what was I so afraid of? I felt my fear in full arousal mode as I watched the trail riders appear from the clearing. I was the only first time rider. I hopped up onto Savannah as I felt myself freezing into her saddle. My body that had so willingly practiced Yoga just hours before became frozen. We walked several circles around the ring so that I could learn the literal ropes of riding a horse. Sam opened the gate and we were off for an hour trail ride.
The calling throughout my life has been that of reserving a space for both love and fear. It’s easy for us to engage with love, to be all in without abandon, to throw our hands up in utter bliss at loves presence, but how often do we make room to inquire about our fears, to crumble into them, to acknowledge their capacity to freeze our spirits? How often do we allow fear to inform us of our relationship to love?
I experienced the engagement of my fear on Savannah, and try as I might, I could only remain present to the feelings of fight and flight as they coursed through my system. Rigid. Careful. Riding Savannah became an interesting experience to observe myself. I also witnessed another first time rider assuming the posture of fear on her horse as she set out for a trail ride. Holy wow! Tense. Untrusting. Frozen. That had been me only an hour before.
The next day Uma and I had a session together. Instead of talking about the mechanics of my Yoga practice, she talked to me about the mechanics of my fear. “Sweetie, you live life in fear!”
I felt myself sink into the posture of fear, but before I could stay there Uma was quick to pull out her phone and search for the antonyms of fear.
“Sarah, you could’ve sat the trail ride out yesterday, but there was some part of you that didn’t. What is that part? Don’t rationalize it, don’t justify it. Just own it!”
I felt the rawness of emotions bubbling up behind my eyes. I shook my head as the tears rushed in like a healing rain. All I could muster was, “I don’t know?”
“Bravery, Courage, Fearlessness, and Unconcern mama! That’s what showed up when you decided to go on the trail ride. Even if you felt yourself in fear mode the courageous part of you embraced that and showed up anyway.”
I smiled as I felt that presence in my body. The courage to show up in spite of the fear. How have you shown up in your life even in the midst of fear? Can you acknowledge your bravery and courage as you do your own personal work? It can be scary shi#, but this is the shi# that helps us to awaken.
Whether we ride a horse, jump out of a plane, raise a family, change careers, start a new relationship, move, etc., we are constantly called to notice our relationship to fear and love. Panics partner is calmness. Fear’s despair becomes loves intimate sanctuary. Fear and love are always informing us of our progress!
With fierce kindness and love, Uma spoke directly to my heart, “Your homework Capricorn is to do one thing everyday that scares you!”
~I wrote this piece last spring and as I sit with it today, I am so grateful for this beautiful soul who called me out on my fears. Her intensity. Her love. Her truth. Our teachers come when we are ready and even when we're not. I'm so grateful that Uma has been one of mine. She has forever changed my heart. I hope you have the courage to do one thing everyday that scares you. May you get on the proverbial horse and ride my friends!
May You Sweetly Seek,