Teresa and I relay in today’s episode that poet laureate Amanda Gorman, who read her poem “The Hill We Climb” during the inauguration of President Joe Biden, was afraid to be on the program. Amanda said from the moment she received the invitation she was nervous, couldn’t sleep and questioned if she should do it. Amanda finally reasoned that it was important that her words be heard. Amanda’s words stirred our spirits and seemed to sew our hearts back together a bit by sharing our journey. The community, the nation and the world are better because she pushed beyond her fears to do what she was clearly called to do.
The following is taken from www.productiveandfree.com:
“Fear is a tricky thing. It can be helpful, for example, if you're walking alone through a dark alley — your fear can protect you by telling you to keep your guard up. On the other hand, fear can also be crippling — the opportunities we don't seize, the experiences we're hesitant to try out, and the stronger, better person we fail to become. Whether it's fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of success, overcoming our fears is one of the most important steps to personal development.”
Fear can keep us from “rushing in where only fools dare to tread.” However, many times in life fear can keep us stuck. It keeps us in environments, jobs or relationships that are comfortable to us but that limit us. Those environments or relationships don’t allow us to grow and use the gifts and abilities that are uniquely ours. Maya Angelou said: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Your unique story may be the one that others need to hear to either show them the way or let them know others have faced a similar struggle.
Amanda showed us that truly there are some things that only you or I can do. When we succumb to fear we let the purpose go unfulfilled, and whether we admit or not, it sears into our subconscious a negative (and false) perception of ourselves.
What if you face your fear and your “debut” or task does not have a storybook ending like Amanda’s? What if you fail? If that happens (and since we don’t live in a fairytale, it will sometimes) remember some other wise words of our sister Maya Angelou:
“Not everything you do is going to be a masterpiece, but you get out there and try and sometimes it really happens. The other times you’re just stretching your soul.”
I’ve learned through my yoga practice that you may not notice right away but you reap the rewards of “stretching” in so many different areas of your life that don’t even seem connected to the part of the body that you worked on. Stretching makes the whole foundation even stronger and readies you for what lies ahead. When the next pose (the next challenge or opportunity) comes, you won’t have to get ready, you will already be ready. Get out there: Conquer and stretch!