One of the many gifts of The Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA) is that helped me redirect my focus to how Fluffy was demonstrating his greatness in the present moment. How was he being successful right now. How he was embodying qualities that I value right now.
I can't say I do it perfectly but it's such a welcome relief when I do remember like the moment at the check-out counter when you frantically reach beneath the tissues and the gum and the hair elastics in the belly of your purse and finally find your wallet. Oh! I have what I need right here.
This past week, the goddesses over at Mondo Beyondo invited us to create a clearing, a space where something new can enter. This could be interpreted any number of ways from the very literal--clearing out a closet, dispensing with an old unloved piece of furniture, logging off-line for a week, to the more abstract--forgiving someone, postponing a decision. They also asked us to find an area where we could place the following items: a picture of someone that inspires, a candle, something from nature, and a note of permission from yourself to step more closely to your dreams.
I had created an alter at the beginning of this new year. I needed a place set aside for beingness--if you'll pardon my yoga speak--a place where I could invite myself to sit still, visualize, and steep in all that I love and appreciate about my life right now. A place where I could intentionally practice the NHA on myself. I noticed it had nearly everything that was suggested: heart-shaped rocks and a sprig of wild sage from nature, a picture of me when I was little and lacking in self-consciousness, candles, even something they didn't mention--a tibetan singing bowl that makes the most rich and resonant sounds. But no note of permission from myself. So I made one.
It reads: Now is the Time to be Risky.
It could read, Now is the Time to be Afraid, something a therapist said to me a few months ago. She was talking about appropriate fear, the fear that signals stepping out of one's comfort zone, into unchartered territory, maybe even into forbidden territory given the unspoken messages communicated by well-meaning but unconscious caregivers. I chose Risky because it conjures up leaps into the air and daring feats of courage and that, in and of itself, makes me feel more brave.
Acting was one of my young girl dreams. I graduated from an acting conservatory when I was 20 and soon after, moved to Manhattan to storm the stage but fear won out. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of standing out, fear of not standing out, fear of being mediocre, fear of not knowing what the fuck I was doing, fear of fear of fear of fear of.
I didn't know it at the time. Fear is a shape shifter, often presenting as a simple matter of schedule, I'd love to do such and such but I'm just too busy. Or level-headedness, the voice of reason, maturation. Or distraction, doubt, procrastination. But I'm on to fear now.
A couple of months ago, I signed up for a workshop in how to write and perform your own solo show. It's in New York City. I pay a sitter a chunk to stay with Fluffy. I gas up the car, drive to the train, buy my tickets, stay overnight, return the next day. It all costs a gazillion dollars and takes over four hours of travel each way.
As I made my way to the first class I worried I'd stand out. I worried I'd be the oldest one coming from the farthest away. I worried it would make me look desperate. I'm happy to say that not only am I not the oldest one nor coming from farthest away but that I don't give a shit about any of that. I only care that I've been doing it, risking it, getting up in front of the class, even though my inner critic streams from my ears like a smoking genie from a lamp and tries to silence me.
Tomorrow is my last class. I have been having a ball. Even though I haven't been brilliant every minute. Far from it. Even though I've been nervous and a bit self-conscious. Even though I've wanted at times to bolt from the room. I say to myself, Kyra, look at what you're doing right now, right this minute. You're here. You're risking. It doesn't matter how it turns out. The power is in the present moment.
The power is in taking the risk itself.
There are times in the class when I feel good, calm, excited, inspired. And there are time when I feel the resistance taking hold, the tingling in my chest, the shortness of breath, the stiffening in muscles of my face. I hope I remember that the next time I ask Fluffy to stretch. It's easy to forget what might be surging through his body when what I ask of him doesn't trouble my body at all. It's easy to forget what it feels like when you are stepping into a larger version of yourself.
I may not have a clearer idea of what sort of solo show I'd like to write one day but I do have a much clearer picture of what courage feels like: Shaky. Raw. Exposed. Shy. Tender.
I don't take it lightly.