By Mary Boutieller
Sometimes we have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable to move past our fears.
Recently, I had a growth spurt that caught me by surprise—a life lesson I thought I had already conquered, and it started with the words: “Maybe we could do a fundraiser.”
If you knew me, you would never think of me as “playing small”, but those were the words that came up for me over and over again. In coming up with a goal, I thought raising $5,000 for two organizations was very daring—nothing I had ever tried to do before. My husband, John, said we should double that amount, and my friend agreed! I know it sounds really weird but, in agreeing to “go big or go home”, I felt some fear well up inside me. Who was I to ask for this? How could I be so bold? What if I offend someone? And, as though my life flashed before my eyes, I realized that this was an old pattern of mine coming to pay a visit.
As a child growing up in an unpredictable household, I played small so as not to be seen. As a teenager and young woman, I shied away from opportunities that seemed beyond my abilities. I didn’t want to stand out or seem special. In a very real sense, I just wanted to survive. It took a long time for me to find my inner strength—to believe I was capable.
The fundraiser brought back a flood of old emotions…what if I disappoint people, what if I fail? In saying yes, I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I realized that my fears weren’t about the dollar amount. It was about putting myself out there in a way that felt really vulnerable, and trusting that my supportive and loving community of friends and family would be there to catch me. I had to remind myself of why we were doing this—to give back, to give thanks, and to make a difference along the way.
Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
Old patterns about who we are or what we believe about ourselves or others are simply worn out tapes which occasionally come up just to remind us of how far we’ve come on this life journey. They mean nothing, unless we give away our power. I was glad to recognize this old tape, to marvel at its arrival, then boot it out the door.
I don’t know why all this came up again, but I know that I’m done playing small. I want to show up, put my heart out there and be unafraid that it might break. Because even if it does, I know that others are by my side, ready to patch it up, lend a hand or be there if I fall. And that is huge. That is the gift.
Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.