This morning, my youngest son and I packed up a coin purse full of reminders of home to help anchor him as he prepared to venture to his first day of kindergarten. Two mini animals he picked out to remind him of me and his papa (me a mini cheetah and my husband a mini snowy owl), a quartz crystal that we all squeezed and placed our love and energy into, and his favorite essential oil to smell, orange essence x 5. He bravely walked around the home collecting the items, and carried the bag with him throughout the activities of the morning – eating breakfast it lay next to his plate, playing catch it lay next to his feet, and at last, stuffed it into the front of his new red backpack ready to travel with him to school. Right before we left the home he confidently opened up his essential oil, which happens to be called “Brave” and rolled it on his wrists and his neck.
In the car on the way to school, he said to me,
I am not brave…
I am scared.”
I assured him that he in fact was very brave, and that he could be both brave and scared. Being scared about something unknown, new, and in the future is really normal. I reminded him of his anchors, his brother at school, and his awesome teacher. He didn’t resist what I had to say, rather just sat and gazed out the window. After a heart to heart hug, we said our goodbyes and off he went to school with his papa as I went on my way to teach a morning yoga class.
I look forward to picking him up and hearing first hand from him how his day went and to congratulate him on this major step into the unknown and the courage it takes to move with fear into this new journey.
I have been thinking all morning and reflecting on fear. How real it can be and how paralzying it can sometimes feel. Yet, how fear can also be the catalyst to push us deeper into understanding ourselves and this world around. I shared with my students the energy and thoughts spinning through my mind, and they all vulnerable shared movements, journeys, and experiences that required them to face fear, drum up strength and courage, and ask for support when needed. It was such a beautiful reflection that our lives here on this planet are full of experiences, every breath, every moment. We all are moving through emotions that are in motion. We all experience and face fear, even after kindergarten. We all are asked to drum up courage, confidence, and trust in ourselves… be it in our working relations, our families, our partnerships, or our relationship to our own minds, bodies, and hearts.
We don’t often openly discuss our personal fears or our vulnerabilities. More often than not we discuss our accomplishments, our successes, our goals, our breakthroughs. We introduce and define ourselves with a laundry list of achievements, write out our names with a list of initial to follow it, and share outwardly a smile or vision of strength. This morning in class, when we all shared that each one of us had a story of fear inside of us, it broke down a layer of difference between us all and we could unite as one vulnerable human race, living, learning, and growing together.
We were not paralyzed in our fear in practice this morning, in fact it was quite the opposite, we did a strong, focused, and intentional practice that brought us deeper into the present moment. To breathe the conscious air flowing in us and around us, to feel the earth below us, to be reminded by the vast sky above us. We practiced as a way to pull us into our bodies, focus our minds, and feel into our hearts in the moment, in the now. As Thich Nhat Hanh beautifully states, “we can realize that right now we are okay.”
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future.
If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay.
Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously.
Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky.
Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.
~~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I probably won’t mention to my son tonight that facing the fear of kindergarten is just one of the many ways fear and courage may show up in his life. But, I will remind him that I am so proud he was able to share his vulnerability, his fear, and his truth. And… this is my blessing for all beings, may we be vulnerable, may be acknowledge our fears, and may we be guided to live our truths.