I am really excited and a little nervous. I am about to reconnect with an old friend that I haven’t been able to spend time with for about a year. My friend is yoga. Yes, I am aware how dorky I sound, but give me a chance to explain.
For about 15 years, when the going got tough, I went to yoga classes. Yoga has really helped me in challenging moments of my life. It helped me decompress after difficult work days as a new therapist. It helped me break through my shock and numbness after 9/11. It helped me feel good in my body throughout my pregnancy. It was a big part of my self-care when as a overwhelmed new mother to twins. With my yoga mat in hand like a security blanket, my yoga practice was a safe place to go to feel better. Due to an injury, I have not been able to practice yoga for about a year and I have really missed it.
Like a true friend, yoga is not only nurturing. It challenges me, gets me out of my comfort zone and teaches me valuable lessons for life “off the mat.”
One of the lessons yoga has taught me is the power of decision.
Years ago, I was trying to master a posture called forearm balance–which is basically like a hand stand but instead of balancing upside down on your hands, you balance on your forearms. Naturally, balancing upside down takes you out of your comfort zone but I could do other inversions with ease. I knew I didn’t have to worry about falling because I was against a wall, which I could use to help me balance and protect me from kicking all the way over. There was just something about having my nose only inches from the ground that was unnerving for me. I had a lot of intrusive thoughts and images about falling straight on my face and breaking my nose. So, whenever I attempted the posture, one leg would float up but the other felt heavy as a ton of bricks.
My fear was keeping stuck in limbo–not upside down, not right side up, just flailing around in the middle. I was reminded of something a mentor once told me. She said, “Some decisions are a ‘HELL, YES!’ and some decisions are a ‘HELL, NO!’ Nobody says “HELL, MAYBE!'” My body was showing me how unproductive “hell, maybe” is.
Here is how the Mindset of Maybe feels:
- “Maybe” is what happens when we stop making decisions.
- “Maybe” is where we settle for things instead of choosing them.
- “Maybe” is full of self-doubt, anxiety, and worry.
- “Maybe” is where we think we are stay safe but we are really just stuck.
- “Maybe” is the appearance of intention without actual commitment or accountability.
There are times when “Maybe” is appropriate, even necessary.
But “Maybe” is often just fear of making a decision.
Why would someone be afraid of making a decision?
At the deepest level, making a decision is a statement of your trust in yourself.. It means that you accept the accountability and responsibility for the outcome of your decision. It is a vote of confidence in your own power.
Back on my mat, I decided to get over my fear and into the posture. I decided to stop “trying” or “thinking about it” from the Mindset of Maybe and trust myself. My yoga instructor, who also happened to own the studio, gave me the, “Hell, Yes” encouragement that I needed to really own the power of my body. She told me to kick up like I was trying to knock the wall down. And I did. I have never been afraid of forearm balance again.
Next time you are feeling stuck in your own life ask yourself:
- What decision am I avoiding right now?
- How is it serving me to avoid making it?
- What would my life be like if I stopped “thinking about it” and started taking decisive action?
Remember, even small decisions help you to build trust and confidence in yourself.