Sometimes I forget that when I graduated college, I moved across country to live by myself in Seattle, WA, a city I was not familiar with, to live on my own for a long time. I had no job, hardly any money, no family or friends (except for my friend’s very cool aunt) and no place to live, yet everything seemed to work out. I was more sure of that move than anything else at the time. It was gutsy for sure and although it was shorter lived than anticipated, I’m so glad that I took the chance.
There are times though when I feel that I’m not that brave anymore. I love to travel and I still get a thrill of going to new places. In my previous life as a meeting and event planner, traveling for work was a given and I loved it! However, it seems that as I get older there are too many moments of apprehension that seep into my being when traveling, and mostly those happen when I’m on my own.
For example, last Thursday I took the train to NYC to take class with Dharma Mittra. I’m hoping to do my 500-hour training with him in the Fall so any free time I can find to take class with him is a real treat. It had been awhile since I had traveled up to take class and even then, I had gone with a friend(s) that were more familiar with the city and the studio. New York doesn’t intimidate me. I love the vibrancy and rhythm of life the city holds. In fact, I’ve visited there a multitude of times. Not to mention, I was born in New York and raised by New Yorkers. So even though I grew up mostly in Virginia, I have always felt connected to the city and the people.
That being said, I was nervous about the trip and in fact, I hemmed and hawed about going on my own for months before I finally decided a few weeks ago to by a ticket and JUST GO! I’m really glad that I did because what I realized is that I had forgotten how wonderful it was to travel on my own and that in some way, a story I was telling myself had been holding me back from going on new adventures and trying new things. It was time to reflect. Where was this worry coming from? What was the shift from back then to now? Having more life experience, shouldn’t I be better prepared for adventures?
Going back to the time I lived in Seattle I realized that while living there, on my own for the first time as an adult with bills to pay and job to keep, etc., that I developed my first real bout of major anxiety. I had been on a trip with friends to Eastern Washington and at some point in the night I broke down and begged my friend to take me home (three hours away!). I couldn’t breathe, my chest was tight and all I wanted was to be in my own home, in a familiar place. It was the first time anything like that had every happened to me and I had no clue how to handle it, except for some fancy deep breathing I had learned in yoga class. I was embarrassed and scared. My friend finally acquiesced and took me home. Our friendship was never the same. It made me sad, but I figured I had done something wrong to deserve it. Little did I realize that I had experienced a full on panic attack.
In my memory, it feels like that was the turning point for me. Following the trip, I locked down on my schedule and kept to familiar places. I think that’s when the anxiety really set in, though I’m sure it had been there long before. Perhaps in my younger years it was clouded by naivete. Surrounded by friends and family while attending school I never had real cause to panic like that since I always felt safe and secure in some way. Needless to say, less than six months later I was back home in Virginia.
Where does this lead me? Well, I’m not that same girl anymore, that’s for sure. All that has shifted. I’ve got more years and life experience under my belt to tell me that I have no need to worry about things like traveling alone. And ultimately I know, I always land on my own two feet. That’s been proven time and time again!
It’s time to play a bit more and relish in the excitement of experiencing new things. And here’s where my yoga practice and study comes in because I realize that in giving my power to worry, I’m inadvertently allowing my small self to take over rather than connecting to my higher Self and the deeper intuition of trust in the Universe. If I’m really practicing my yoga, then I should be looking at life with the child’s eye, connecting to my inner joy, taking in experiences as the transient moments that they are, and scrubbing through my karmas to clean up for the next life. After all, it’s all just practice, right?