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Petrified of an MRI February 9, 2009

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After 6 months of weekly doctor visits and physical therapy appointments, my neck still wasn’t healed from the accident back in July so I finally gave in and told the doctor I would get an MRI, although I was terrified. Being claustrophobic, I was scared to death at the thought of being braced down and put in some tube while beams of magnetic rays captured images of my neck. I expressed my apprehension with the doctor so he wrote me a prescription for Valium. I felt relieved knowing I could take something to alleviate the anxiety, but the more I thought about it, the more I was opposed to it.

I considered my body a temple so it was important to take care of it. Although I’m a yogi aficionado, I’m certainly not a textbook purist. I just do the best I can when it comes to eating healthy and making decisions that affect my mental and physical state of being, which means putting as few chemicals in to my body as possible. I realized taking one Valium wouldn’t kill me, but it was more than just taking a pill. Part of my journey was about getting in touch with my body and mind and finding a healthy balance between the two. Covering up my fear would only suppress it more so if I was afraid of the dark and being confined, then I needed to get in touch with the fear and heal it instead of taking a chemical to mask it.

I decided to get the prescription filled anyway because I thought it would be better to have it just in case I changed my mind at the last minute, but then I got up to the counter at the pharmacy and couldn’t find my debit card. I must have left it in my jeans pocket or a jacket or something because it wasn’t anywhere to be found. I didn’t have enough cash on me so I knew it was a sign. I was meant to embrace the fear and see it through so I let it go and went home. Ironically, I later discovered my debit card in my purse. It was there the whole time so I knew without a doubt that I made the right decision.

I spoke to my mom later that afternoon and she asked me how long I typically meditated for in the mornings. I told her 20 minutes so she said I should just meditate since the procedure would take about the same amount of time. Right! Of course. Why didn’t I think of that? I felt empowered and ready to face my fear, but the morning of the appointment came and my body shut down. The closer I got, the more nervous I felt. My chest felt like it was caving in and my heart wouldn’t stop racing. The back of my throat was constricted and my body tensed with fear. I could feel the switch as the sympathetic nervous system kicked in and my body went in to fight or flight.

The technician could tell I was scared to death so she told me not to worry…that I would be fine…that she could hear me and I could hear her and we would be connected the entire time. The moment she braced me in, my entire body froze and tears welled up in my eyes, but I was scared to cry because I didn’t want to move. I was told that in order for a MRI to be effective, the person had to remain completely still and I didn’t want to go through it again so I was determined to get it right the first time.

I closed my eyes and brought my awareness to the breath just as I did every morning when I sat to meditate. Inhale…exhale…inhale…exhale. But wait…that noise…it’s really loud…oh, her voice…I hear her voice…I’m okay…she’s with me…inhale…exhale…noise….really loud overbearing sounds of magnetic rays coming from the machine…panic…I’m okay…inhale…exhale…more noise…my heart…noise…I can’t breathe…inhale…exhale. 

It was the longest 20 minutes of my life, but I survived the terror even though I was stiff as a board when the technician pulled me out of the tube and released the harness that held my neck and head in place. She smiled and said, “Now that wasn’t so bad, now was it?” I looked up at her and felt the surge of adrenaline rush out from the center of my chest, as my body released the fear and tension from being absolutely petrified. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and the sweet lady just sat there with me, as she gave me the space to release the emotion and fear I had harbored for so long.

I walked out feeling light and free, but being claustrophobic was not something that would just go away at the drop of a hat. It would take time and more experiences of sitting with the fear and making the decision not to run. Had I taken the Valium, I wouldn’t have released what I did, as it wasn’t meant to be a quick fix…it was about me sitting with the fear and breathing through it. Fear only has power over you if you allow it. It’s not going to overtake you or kill you. It may paralyze you or prevent you from having peace in your life, but you are the one who decides, as the only thing to fear is fear itself. 

I took the images to my doctor immediately after and he said, “Wow…these are the best images I’ve ever seen…I’ve never known anyone to sit still enough to get this kind of clarity…you were either calm as a cucumber or paralyzed with fear.” HA! I laughed and said, “If you only knew.”

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Face your Fear December 8, 2008

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Before I got my bike back from storage, which was just a recreation bike, my friend let me borrow her mountain bike and I fell in love with it. I no longer had the desire to ride around casually, as I wanted to go out for long rides where I could feel the muscles burn as my feet slowly and steadily pedaled their way up an incline a good size hill. I liked the challenge of a good climb, as there was nothing better than getting to the top and then coasting down the other side as currents of wind whirled around me. It was an absolute rush and invigorating in every sense of the word.

I decided I was going to start putting a little money aside each week so I could buy my own bike. I started shopping around and getting as much information as possible so I could make an informed decision when it came time to buy. One of the bike specialist asked me how often I rode the trails so he could help me figure out what type of tires to get and I laughed because I had actually never been on a trail. I had always wanted to, but was scared of getting seriously injured so I just stuck to the road. Well, I got to thinking about it when I got home and thought I should probably get out and ride one to see if I even liked it, as there was no sense in souping up a bike if I wasn’t planning on taking it off-road.

Well that was that! I got my gear together and off I went. I was happy to see there was a separate trail for each level, but I was still a little weary when I saw the narrow passage and the steep incline of what was marked as the beginner’s trail. I sat at the start of it with my fingers pressed in to the break, as my knuckles turned white and my feet ground to the earth. There was a tinge of excitement, but I was mostly scared to death. I kept thinking what would happen if I wrecked or flipped off my bike and whacked my head in to a tree? There wasn’t a soul around…just me, the trail, and the sound of my own heart.

The last time I remember feeling that way was when I went propelling for the first time.  I remember thinking right before I took my first step off the face of the rock, “Oh my God…I could totally die right now…what am I doing…this is crazy…well if I died, then it was meant to be, but I can’t live my life in fear so I had to trust in the Universe and in my higher soul so I went for it.” I prayed to God to keep me safe and then down I went and it was the absolute best feeling in the world when my feet finally touched the ground and I looked up and saw the massive rock I had just conquered. It was a thrill like no other and I’ll remember that high for the rest of my life, as I felt fearless and powerful in a way I can’t quite describe. 

Standing at the start of the beginner’s trail left me feeling the same, but I knew I had to face my fear or else I would always be afraid. Fear has no place in the company of trust so I knew had to look the dark looming shadow straight in the face and just go for it so I said a little prayer and then slowly eased my hand off the break. Before I could even think about what was going to happen next, my bike was flying down the trail, as I screamed silently aloud.

The whole way down the trail I screamed, “Holy crap…what were you thinking…you are totally out of your mind…oh my God I’m going to die…this was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done…I’m going to end up in the emergency room and I don’t even have insurance…whoa…oh my God…this is dangerous and scary and I’m never doing this again…whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…I’m insane…oh my Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooood…what did I think I was going to prove by doing this…please…let me get out of this alive…don’t let me die on this trail…oh man…”

Well, I didn’t die and when I finally got to the end of the trail I was completely out of breath and my heart pumping vigorously, but guess what I said? “WOW that was AWESOME…what an intense rush…I wanna do it again!!!” And again I did.

Don’t let fear stop you from living your life…take a walk on the wild side…look fear straight in the face and go for it…trust in yourself and embrace the fear, as it will transform in to something more powerful than you ever imagined.

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Teaching yoga…full time August 6, 2008

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Two weeks ago I was still sitting at a crossroads trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. My dream was to write and teach yoga, but a little voice in my head kept telling me I couldn’t survive teaching yoga…I wouldn’t make any money. I was use to a corporate salary, paid time off, and benefits. Every time I thought about starting my own business doing the thing I love the most, I would get this tinge of excitement in my belly, but then this pestering little voice would come back and start telling me I was crazy…go back to corporate.

I was offered two different positions will well known companies in the Orlando area, which is where I use to live. My little brother is still there, as well as, my beautiful tribe of women. I also have a niece on the way so taking either position would have made it possible for me to see her all the time. It was a done deal, right? I had two concrete offers sitting on the table, which meant I could move back to Orlando with all my friends in an environment I was already comfortable, I would have income coming in right away, and life would be great, right?

No! I hate Orlando. It’s flat, hot, and uninteresting. I lived there for 8 years and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I absolutely love Atlanta and didn’t want to leave. My heart would fill  with an incredible sadness every time I thought about moving. My life was in Atlanta…my yoga studio and teachers…my spiritual network…my homeopathic doctors… my energy healer. Why would I even think about leaving? I’ll tell you why. I was scared…scared of not finding a job in Atlanta and making it financially.

I wasn’t trusting myself or the divine powers to be. The only reason I was even thinking about moving to Orlando was because it was immediate income and it was easy. You should never make a decision based out of fear or because it’s the easy thing to do. If you are, you are making the decision for the wrong reasons.  Once I stopped and asked myself, “What would you do if you could do absolutely anything you wanted and there was nothing stopping you,” I knew. I would write and teach yoga.

So there it was…the moment of truth. I turned down both jobs and then verbally stated to the Universe that I was going to stay in Atlanta, teach yoga, write in my blog, and I wasn’t going to starve doing it. I was being called to bring yoga to corporate, as I witnessed firsthand the stress people faced on a day-to-day basis and I saw the beautiful gifts yoga brought to employees in the work place. I knew in my heart it was what I was suppose to be doing so I had to trust, let go, and go for it. As soon as I made the decision and I mean AS SOON AS I made the decision, my whole life turned around.

I’ve never been more clear about anything in my whole life. It’s time for me to do what I love and love what I do. There’s no better feeling in the world than to have clarity on something as overwhelming as trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. Mental barriers are hard to get through, but when you do, it’s like a bolt of lightening comes out of the sky and fills you with a sense of knowing that is clear as day. It’s as if someone lifted the veil and you can finally see…FINALLY! It’s empowering and livens you in a way I can’t even begin to describe. I’m here to tell you if you follow your dreams and you make conscious decisions that contribute to your overall well being, the universe will support you 100%.

Do not let fear stop you from doing something you love. Open your heart and follow your dream. I promise you it’s possible. You have to honor yourself first and foremost. The universe can’t help you if you can’t help yourself and sometimes you have to dig through the sludge to get to where you’re going, but once you get there, you would trudge through it again 10 times over if you knew the end result was the same…it feels that good!

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Unemployed July 13, 2008

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Being unemployed isn\'t so bad

It’s official…I’m unemployed. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about this newly acquired title, but I’m trying not to stress about it. One day I’m graduating from teacher training and the next I’m unemployed. Talk about closing doors!!! It  has been just about two weeks and I haven’t completely lost my mind, but I also gave myself a little time to let go and have some fun without worrying about what was next. 

I spent the 1st week of being unemployed at the beach and now I’m in Orlando visiting my friends and family. I head back to Atlanta tomorrow, which is when realty will set in. Thankfully I have an appointment with a career counselor the day after I get back. I’m praying he will give me some direction on where to go from here because I’m feeling a bit lost.

I’m in a very interesting place, as I have no attachments…no property…no job…no pets…nothing holding me down, but the gravity of mother earth. I have the ability and freedom to go absolutely anywhere or do whatever I want. Not too many people can say the same so I’m trying to embrace the change and trust that I’m exactly where I’m suppose to be. There are some people who would kill to be where I’m at, but the grass is always greener on the other side, right?

I don’t know if it’s because I just graduated from teacher training or I’m getting older and have learned from past experience, but I have this uncanny calmness for so much change going on. Not too long ago I would be completely out of my mind and worrying incessantly, but I guess I finally learned to have faith in the Universe because she’s never let me know before. 

I’ve learned so much about manifesting and creating my own destiny, but I feel a bit powerless over all this uncertainty…fear is a funny thing…it’s with us whether we like it or not…as positive as we are, there’s always this little voice, which I call the “ego, ” who wants you to believe you are not good enough.

I know I’m more than my thoughts or the ego that tries to take precedence in my life so I refuse to let fear destroy the beautiful gifts I’ve earned through all the hard work I’ve endured. It’s just time for me to make a decision and I want it to be the best decision…no regrets. I desperately want to do my own thing…work for myself…not answer to the corporate schedule or restricted time off.

I have two passions…writing and teaching yoga…why can’t I pursue these and still earn a living? I deserve to do what I love and love what I do, but I’m not quite sure how to get there from here. So many yoga teachers are starving yoga teachers and so it’s scary thinking about leaving the corporate world and relying on something that pays so little and doesn’t offer insurance or retirement. My ego wants me to believe it can’t be done, which is where fear comes in to play and suddenly I think about running back to the safe predictable professional world of benefits, a salary, and paid time off. What is the right decision? I guess I’m the only one who can answer that, but that just brings me back to the beginning.

My head just spins in circles every time I think about it so I’m trying not to think about it and just stay in the moment knowing that everything is happening as it should, but it’s so much easier said than done. It’s all about trust…trusting in a higher power at work and trusting in myself.

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