how I recently went from Giving Up to Getting Up &, in the process, learned the Value(s) of both

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.

complex to simple
an example of how much complex attention to detail is required to make something Simple that works!

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.

Please feel free to follow, like & share!
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7 thoughts on “how I recently went from Giving Up to Getting Up &, in the process, learned the Value(s) of both”

  1. Hi Melissa,
    Being a subscriber to MYOGA means that I was especially interested in your process here – I pay monthly, so there was no sense of being owed anything. I can say this: you are immersed in the yoga community, so it may seem like the whole world is saturated with yoga, but I can assure you that it isn’t 🙂 where I live in coastal rural NSW, there is one, maybe two types of yoga classes, and the closest one is half an hour away. I know there are lots of online classes, but none of them ever interested me before I saw yours. Yoga with the seasons and chakras? That’s how I do yoga – and I wanted to learn more about it, to go deeper. That’s why I signed up – and then you know, unexpected things happen, like a friend joining me 3 mornings a week. This friend is a man in his 60s who has never been to a yoga class before. So we both started doing basics together, and we are both challenged but in surprisingly different ways. Your classes have become part of our daily routine, and we would be sad to see it go. Just sayin’ 🙂

  2. Thank you Sara! You taking the time to write this has meant so much to me, as it helps me to get a wider perspective on who I’m doing this for (aside from my own obvious growth & development along the way!), and why. I really appreciate this.

  3. Hi Melissa, I feel the need to write here as well and say, No you cannot stop!!!!! I have learned more about my physical self in the last five months than I have in the entirety of my life prior. No hyperbole! The line “Freedom to Unfold” is a perfect descriptor, as it is true! Plus I would miss your words terribly and the thoughtful way each lesson leads into the next….the way something you have said or shown weeks prior suddenly emerges into a new lesson, and I get why you were having us do something that seemed so simple and innocuous. These realizations happen all the time for me, every week, if not daily….and I am pretty much doing at least one of these lessons daily at this point. It is hard for you to know these things due to the online format, but you should know that these practices have come to be very, very important to me. And I will also say that the online format is so valuable because it means that I can do this…anytime, almost anywhere. (I even have an extra yoga mat and block at my office at school, so I can fit a session in there when I am at school all day). All this to say, you words, your lessons are having impact…real, physical impact! Just send me a note if you ever feel like you need more encouragement in this realm…

  4. Thanks for your words Melissa and hi from Wellington. Giving Up or Getting Up is your decision and either is respected. Please know how special a teacher you are. Each time I feel like I’m having a one on one studio session. The beauty of those one on ones is that your teaching is different, special.

    The opening, the spreading, the lengthening and articulation and getting to “the edge” all feel like you are really taking care with every asana and every narration of it.

    I’m just glad you’re getting up.

    Thank you

    Namaste
    John

    1. Hello John from upstate New York! Great to hear from you–I truly appreciate you making the time to offer such kind & encouraging feedback. I’m so pleased to hear from those like yourself, for whom the online yoga school is working!

      Namaste, Melissa

  5. Thanks for your words Melissa and hi from Wellington. Giving Up or Getting Up is your decision and either is respected. Please know how special a teacher you are. Each time I feel like I’m having a one on one studio session. The beauty of those one on ones is that your teaching is different, special.

    The opening, the spreading, the lengthening and articulation and getting to “the edge” all feel like you are really taking care with every asana and every narration of it.

    I’m just glad you’re getting up.

    Thank you

    Namaste
    John

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