This online business thing is a whole new ballgame for me & recently I was presented with the option to quit.
OR to reinvest my resources & continue.
I seriously considered quitting.
The amount of time, skill, labor–& therefore money–that has gone into this seemingly simple website is far greater than I imagined it would be at the start. Of course, I do have high standards & a tendency towards perfectionism (coupled with a fairly optimistic streak). However, I am also getting “mate’s rates” in some areas & doing as much self-learning as I can to minimize costs. All-in-all, when it came time to decide whether to stop at Basics & refund those subscribers who would be expecting to step into Seasons next month, I was literally doing the math. It would cost me about the same to quit as it would to continue with just this next piece of the overall online yoga school (there are several other key pieces yet to be completed). At least, in dollars.
If I gave up, it would cost me the same & I know I would also have to work through a sense of failure. If I continued, I’d not only have to come up with the money to fulfill my online promises to the same standard we’d already established, I’d still have to work through that same sense of failure. How’s that possible?
I had come face to face with my fear. The fact that people were waiting on me to decide meant I needed to acknowledge my fear enough to discuss it with them & determine my options. Which now meant I was responsible for facing my fear either way I went, simply because I had shared my predicament with others.
By sharing my vulnerability, I gave myself the opportunity to strengthen.
Certainly they had their own vested interests in my continuing (they wouldn’t be paid otherwise), but because I had chosen friends as co-creators in this enterprise, I knew I could trust that they had more than their own pecuniary interests at heart. We all want this to be a service with style, integrity, support & reward for everyone involved. I had communicated from the beginning how important it is for me that the process be as yogic as the product, & I felt/feel they share that intention. So they offered support & solutions which gave me a much-needed sense of solidarity. This external support reflected a lack of internal support in myself, which is why I say that either way I went with this I’d have to confront my fear of failure.
Now, I want to digress a moment here & say that I’m starting to find that a fear of failure seems to be identical to a fear of success. I know that sounds absurd & I’m not sure I am wise enough just yet to communicate it clearly when it’s still mostly a felt-sense, an inner-knowing, but here goes: Basically, if I succeed, then what? If all my greatest & wildest dreams come true, if I tick everything off my list, if I have enough resources to buy what I need, to be where I want, to do as I wish, then what? Who would (or will) I be without my unfulfilled desires? I have so thoroughly aligned with them that I am them. If I fulfill them–if I succeed–then who will I be? So, sure, there’s an ego fear of falling flat on my face–of putting all I can into something & then finding no one else gets it. Yet there also seems to be an ego fear of being wildly successful too, because then what?
In all this, it became apparent that Values are key. In these past few years I’ve been grappling with the ‘delusion of control’ as I like to call it–meaning that most of the control I think I have over my world is pretty much a delusion. I cannot control how MYOGA will be received. I cannot control how you will understand my words or actions or creative offerings. The only thing I have any control over is my intention underlying them, which brings me back to Values. Etymonline says this about the origin of that word: from Latin valere “be strong, be well, be worth, have power, be able, be in health,” from PIE root *wal- “be strong”. In chakra language I’d be looking at the 3rd in the belly for commitment & willpower–the fire to activate the desires rising out of the 2nd chakra & the root support system of the 1st chakra, to then move my activated desires out into the world in the upper chakras.
So I started asking myself really, really basic, fundamental questions like “Why do I teach yoga?” And because I haven’t been teaching yoga for a few months now, I had to admit I wasn’t sure. I mean, yes, I know all the sound reasons for practicing & teaching & I espouse the Basics because–like brushing your teeth–you just need to do it regularly, not necessarily in fancy ways. But why does the world need my way of teaching yoga? Isn’t there enough yoga out there already without me putting myself into debt by putting more of my way of doing it out there too? Haven’t I done enough to help spread the goodness of yoga in the world by teaching these past decades in countries not so inundated with this now nearly-saturated spiritual marketplace? Besides, what do I know anyway? It seems the more I know the less I know. There are all-ways innovations & creations & new insights, so is what I’m offering really needed? These are all stories woven of the Fear of Failure.
On the side of the Fear of Success, I was hearing exactly the same stories, plus getting a vision of a widening & somewhat unsettling Void. If I complete this & put my all into it, then what?
Obviously the common denominators in both scenarios are Me & Fear. And fear is considered a demon or shadow of the 4th chakra, the heart area, where we step out into relationship with the rest of the world. Where we know love. And where the expansion of the upper chakras comes to meet the actualization of the lower chakras. One of my most favorite quotes, & one that I read to classes when we’re in this 4th chakra, is this from an author I can’t seem to trace:
“Surrender is the most profound form of alignment with reality, with what is actually going on inside us & around us at any given moment.
And it opens us to love.”
So, first I gave up in a sad, small-minded way. And in giving up I realized how much more I could still Surrender. The reality of the moment was that either way I went I was going to have to extend hard-earned resources. So then the choice of which way to go came back to my underlying values–in which direction will I simultaneously act from & also further activate my strength, wellness, worth & power?
By Giving Up in a larger-hearted way, I mean this deeper Surrender that requires the courage to ask difficult questions & to wait, sometimes in a sense of suspended animation, until the answers crystalize. By Giving Up, I mean releasing oneself from the suffering of the current struggle & having faith in the longer journey. It’s this Giving Up that enabled me to then Get Up with my Values re-examined & re-ignited.
So, here I am, still connecting to you from my own place on the path. I realize it’s that sense of communion–union through community–that’s a key part of my values. We are all one species. It’s our tendency towards separatism that creates suffering. Why do I continue to teach & promote myoga? Because it’s quite apparent I continue to need to learn it! Thank you all for teaching me.