Our Deepest Fear, Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us;
It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
I haven’t been teaching yoga very long, but I’ve been immersed in the practice so wholeheartedly since it came into my life that it feels like I’ve been around awhile. Part of this is how much you turbulence and change you experience through your late teens and well into your twenties, part of this is how transformative the practice of yoga can be with consistency, commitment, supportive teachers, and sincerely doing your best to live your yoga.
One of the most pivotal points in my teaching career to date came when I was invited to a yoga teaching training in Costa Rica. I applied, expected nothing, doubted I would get in, forgot about it, and obviously got in. I had every reason not to go with work, expenses, everything, and somehow every obstacle I thought was in between myself and this training resolved itself. It was like everything in my life, and everyone in my life was pushing me TO GO TO COSTA RICA.
I met some of the most beautiful women on this retreat. They were just as beautiful on the inside as they were on the outside; and not only were they beautiful, they were all incredibly talented, and intelligent, experienced yoga teachers. They were exactly who I wanted to be as a teacher. They taught flawlessly sequenced classes, they were confident, they were inspiring, they radiated beauty in almost everything they did and I was immediately intimidated. I didn’t believe I deserved to be there in that training with them, I didn’t believe I had anything to offer that they didn’t already.
It was easy to believe that. The training was intense. It challenged everything I had learned, forced me to think critically, and shed light to many blind spots in my teaching. When I practiced teaching to the group I fell flat in my cueing and sequencing, felt totally confused, and not quite myself. It was SO OBVIOUS to me and to everyone around me that I was shrinking myself and melting into my own insecurities.
It took time and quite a bit of inner work to actually believe that I was in fact deserving and adequate and did have something to offer. It took realizing that at one point during the training everyone felt the same way that I did, and in the same ways I felt I had so much to learn from all of the women involved they also felt that they could learn something from me.
It took realizing how selfish it was to shrink into my own insecurities, to dull my shine for fear of judgement, to not take risks for fear of failure. It stunts not only my own growth but the growth of others. How could I stand before a yoga class and let others know that it’s okay to make mistakes, and to take up space, and be completely yourself if I could not myself?
It was time to stop playing small. It was time to stop giving up my power. I went home and wasn’t afraid to make mistakes, I didn’t seek escape when I felt discomfort, and I stopped backing down when I felt challenged. I spoke with more conviction in my classes and I stopped looking for validation and approval after the classes I taught. Did more people start coming to my classes? No, not yet. That’s really not what I care about anyway. Did I start teaching better yoga classes? Yes, I did, but I still have a long way to go. Getting better only comes with time; committing to the inner work, committing to the practice, not wavering when it gets difficult, and never ever again believing that I’m not deserving enough or capable of sharing something beautiful. It might inspire someone else to do the same.