In life, we are bound to get many scrapes and cuts and bruises. Each one is like a reminder that we’ve lived, perhaps a little recklessly, but with our whole selves. So, when you find yourself in the midst of hurt, in the midst of our social conditioning to ignore or undervalue “negative emotions”, give yourself a beat. Find out what you can learn from the situation and then grow from it. No more armor. No more stigmas. Just a beautiful unraveling so that you can grow freely.
Having courage doesn’t mean we are fearless. It means that we see fear, we get to know it intimately, and we decide to keep moving in spite of it. If we let fear control us instead of teach us, we end up in a dulled experience of what it means to live. Fear gives us incite into the things that are important to us. Usually if there is some sort of fear it’s because you care about whatever is going on. When fear controls us we end in isolation. When fear teaches us, we grow in our capacity to connect and empathatize with others.
One day, I help an activist from Nepal find her way to Columbia University. On the subway, she asked me what kind of yoga I taught. I said something to the effect of vinyasa yoga, edging towards power. She paused with a little furrow in her brow. She then said, "but what kind of yoga do you teach?" It was a question that changed my world. She was less concerned with the physical practice and more concerned with the energetic, philosophic, and healing ideas behind the movement. She wanted to know the why. No one had ever asked me why. Perhaps they had, but they hadn't demanded an answer the way she did.