For me that has meant challenging fears. Not an easy task. I came to realize I had been living with a lot of fear. Fear seemed to be everywhere and most of the time I was entirely unaware of it. There is a saying "Do one thing that scares you every day.". Every day? That's a lot! How about when something scary crosses my path? Instead of avoiding it I would deal with it right there. With all my built up and suppressed fears I knew I wouldn't ever have to wait long to confront one, maybe even daily. I'm not always successful of course but I relish the opportunity for experience even if I am whimpering a little or a lot on the inside.
The studio I call home is a beautiful space. Open and warm, with plenty of light. A simple place where you can relax, but about 2 years ago the room next door to the studio opened up and the owner decided to expand. It made sense. More room, offer more options, and allow more flexibility with classes and workshops. The renovations took place fairly quickly. The work was hired out and soon enough there was a second studio. With the new studio came more classes, more teachers, more workshops, more students, .... and more props! Props with no home. Soon enough a make shift arrangement of tables, stacks and piles began to form. I would face students away from the prop wall to help them keep focus, while it starred me right in the face.
"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured."
I'd often discussed the situation with the owner to see what she had in mind. She envisioned a giant custom cabinet with slots and space for everything. She even had a picture of a cabinet that she adored from a studio that belonged to a friend. A custom cabinet sounded fantastic but seemed way over my head in terms of time and effort, not to mention I'd never built anything like that before. I wanted to volunteer my services, after all I'm not just a yogi. I've always enjoyed building things, even as a kid. But this was daunting. Where would I find the time? Would I be able to build something good enough? Could I even do it at all?
Finally an opportunity presented itself. I had some available time over the holiday season. I could give this a try. I had the time. I had the tools. I'm pretty certain I had the knowledge. Yet everything I'd built so far was for myself. I was the only person to use and to judge what I'd built. My projects had only ever needed to satisfy me. I'd never built anything so large and so public. Nevertheless, in a rush of courage and excitement, I fired off an email to the owner asking if she'd be interested in letting me build a cabinet. Before I could even comprehend what I'd just done, she replied with a resounding "YES!". No more time for fear, now I was in this up to my neck! I was about to come head to head with the prop pile!
I met with the owner as soon as I could to get all the details and to get started. I wanted to take advantage of this energy and courage before it had a chance to fade or my available time ran out. I laid out a plan in my head and got to work. First I sketched out a rough scale drawing on paper, just to make sure I knew what I was doing. I sent the picture off to the owner to see what she thought. She liked it! No backing out now, this was really happening, I was about to build a giant props cabinet for everyone to see.
It wasn't easy, the 3/4 MDF was heavy and lugging it from the store, cutting it, and hauling it up to the second floor studio was no breeze. Not to mention it was the middle of winter to add a bit of chill to the story. Luckily I had some helper yogis to assist me with all that hauling, thank you helper yogis! But now it was just me, an empty studio, a bare wall, a whole lot of wood and a plan. Now the test began! I felt a tonne of pride in every little accomplishment, even just getting those large pieces up and into the studio. Piece by piece a cabinet began to take shape. Sure there were a few small set backs. I'd designed the cabinet for myself at 6'2" and when I began putting it together I realized that the majority of the teachers wouldn't be able to reach the stereo shelf, some alterations were in order! Painting took forever, would you believe it took 2 full gallons of paint? Luckily again I had some lovely helper yogis appear and paint with me. Thanks again magical helper yogis! As I saw it slowly take shape I finally knew, in no uncertain terms, I could do this. I was doing this! The end of the prop pile was nigh!
Certainly I have faced bigger fears in my life and do even as I write this article. Perhaps I've embellished a little and added some melodrama for the sake of story. Yet I believe each fear we face is a reason to celebrate, regardless of size. A reminder that the lessons on the mat apply to our lives. The arm balance that scares you, that you fall out of and then achieve for the first time set precedents in our minds. Our yoga practice serves as a life practice. I changed my way of thinking, challenged a fear, and a cabinet resulted. Benefiting many in a quiet and simple manner. My name isn't on it. The cabinet doesn't talk and praise its creator. I'm not rich or famous from the effort. Yet I was challenged and changed. I feel the gratefulness it brings others and the pride it created within myself. Bringing a little more Saucha and peace to this little yoga studio I call home.
P.S. I was so spurred on by the success I kept on with the building and organizing. I moved my attention from the left corner of the studio to the right corner. Behind the door sat another world of prop piles I was determined to conquer. Inspired by a photo the owner sent me of a wall hanger one of our teachers had used to organize some very space consuming and unique props, I got to work. A very interesting build, not something you would see just any old place. Now the new little studio feels much bigger, warmer and friendlier. I enjoy teaching and practicing there and I think every one else does too. Accepting a challenge in your life or even dealing with a challenge you can't avoid can change you in a positive way. Creating the courage to face them and to experience them for what they are. In my case to "build" a better practice. : )