“Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness…when we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle…that is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship.” – Chogyam Trungpa
As my teacher Chogyam Trungpa would say, “The moment you realize you have fallen off the horse, don't ask questions about how and when, just get back on the horse.”
This year has been so hectic for me that it was only until recently that I realized that I had been off the horse for quite some time and I’d been on some kind of rollercoaster where I couldn't really see what was going on. I was doing without really listening. There was no space. I was struggling without knowing that I was really suffering. I couldn't point out why because on the outside everything looked okay, but my inside was boiling with stress, frustration, pain and sadness.
I realized that my present state was not aligning with my heart - I was lacking joy and I was trying very hard to push through, not understanding why I was unhappy. It affected my health and my emotions to a point where I lost my sense of Self. I stopped living my life.
What I knew to be true is that when someone is in a dark place, the best thing to do is simplify life and slow it down enough until you start to breathe. Then you start to listen and see what gives you joy and what does not. To get out of the analytical mind and into one’s own heart is a practice!
I removed what I could from my daily schedule and started to spend more time by myself. I truly love spending time alone, but after a few difficult years, I stopped enjoying my time alone and it was challenging to go back into my inner home. That was a red flag for me. I knew once I felt discomfort in my own company that it was time to change my practice.
I experienced a fear to be by myself - something that was once so important to me and that I loved doing became strange and no longer familiar. It created a distance within my own being. And yes, I had many reasons to justify why and how I got there. But being a victim does not help you get out of your own way. I wanted to love what was once my strength.
So I jumped fearlessly into the task of going back home. First, I went back to study with my favorite teachers. Then, I added a meditation practice to my daily schedule and practiced some restorative yoga to slow the mind enough so I could start listening to my inner guide. One afternoon, my friend came to visit and as we sat outside with a glass of lemonade, she suggested that I take a trip by myself to a far place. My heart raced with an anxious feeling but my inner voice was smiling and saying, sit with that and see what arises from that feeling.
Once you meet that inner voice - your inner guide - you are back on the horse knowing that the next time you fall, you’ll be ready to get back on faster. Sometimes I call the inner guide “the tool box”. Know your tools and use them in times when you lose yourself and when you’ve left your home. Know when it's happening, and without analyzing it, get back on the horse again and again until it becomes second nature.
“Becoming “awake” involves seeing our confusion more clearly.” ― Chögyam Trungpa
With love and light,