Lately, in my yoga practice, I’ve been working on handstand, which happens to be my second-least favorite asana (first is wheel). Handstand, or adho mukha vrksasana in sanskrit, is scary and requires lots of arm strength and abdominal control. You literally turn the world upside down. Whenever the teacher makes us do it, I grumble a little and think of excuses to get out of doing it.
Today, as I was at the wall, kicking into my handstand, I almost made it up. My feet nearly grazed the wall. And it scared the heck out of me, how close I came to landing the pose. After that, I couldn’t kick up at all. My feet barely left the ground.
How often does that happen, that we dream and work toward something, and when it is finally about to come true, we suddenly back off, thinking maybe we didn’t want it that much in the first place?
I don’t just do this in yoga. I do it with my writing, with teaching, with trips and new projects. Any time the thing I’ve been dreaming about looks as though it’s about to become real, I’m suddenly frightened away, talking myself out of wanting it.
What scares me about kicking up into headstand is that I might fall. My arms might collapse. I may not be strong enough. I could hurt myself. The world looks different and strange when you’re upside down. But today, when I almost made it into the pose, what scared me most is that I may be stronger than I realized. I maybe have more control and more courage than I knew. If I can do this, what else might I be capable of? Sometimes it is our potential to do great things is most terrifying.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”