Lessons on love + fear

 
tall trees-self love-fearless-peace-how to face your fears

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance... ~ John Lennon Of all the places in the world, I read this quote pasted on the wall of a port-a-potty at a music and yoga festival in the forests of Oregon.

The quote stayed with me one evening when a friend of mine had an anxiety attack.  She began to feel oversensitive to the lights and sounds of the environment around us and her mind filled with fearful thoughts.

I brought her back to our tent with another friend.  We soothed her, listened to her, gave her pillows and earplugs, and reminded her to breathe.

Soon, she began to feel better.

As we called in grounding, soothing energy for her, we heard a woman outside with a baby.  My friend went outside to see who it was.  It happened to be someone she knew, so we invited her into the tent with us.

She said her name was Love. 

Instead of staying up late on the dance floor, we chose to relax in my tent, three women learning from Love.

We asked Love lots of questions, and when we asked her about her experience giving birth she shared, "It was a constant practice of being present.  As soon as I let my mind wander to the past or worry about the future, there was pain..  But when I was fully present, everything was fine."

I realized this insight also applied to my friend who had the anxiety attack - the anxiety only became worse for her when she immersed herself in worried thoughts about the future.  

However, as soon as she came back to the present, focused on her breath and the loving people around her, she relaxed.

In every moment we have a choice - to choose fear or love.  We can choose to be stuck in the past, worry about the future, or we can be fully present in the moment.

Fear exists in the future.  Love exists in the present. {tweet this}

This is why yoga and meditation has been such a valuable practice for me.  I can now catch my mind when I spiral into worried thoughts, and I naturally come back to my breath and the sensations in my body.  This immediately brings me back into the present moment, and I realize everything is fine.

When you find yourself full with worried thoughts, how do you come back to the present moment?  What helps you remember to choose love over fear?  I'd love to hear what works best for you in the comments below.

I am excited to be back to teaching three weekly yoga classes in Sonoma County this month (details here).  I am also getting ready to travel and teach at Burning Man and Erica Jago's (now full!) EARTH retreat in September...

I'm sure I will return with many fresh insights and stories for you.

Until then, sending love, Meredith