I was recently invited to help a coach and friend with her upcoming wellness retreat. She has taught nutrition for years and was finally ready to pass the torch on in this particular aspect, so that she could focus on the other elements of her growing business. She hoped to pass this responsibility on to another who encompassed the same knowledge and spark that she once had. Since I have a passion for nutrition, she thought of me. Nutrition is an area I am comfortable and well versed in; I often preach to friends and family about it. If someone mentions energy or weight, I run through how they are eating and suggest experiments to see what works with their body. I can answer questions about most diets out there, because sadly I’ve tried them all.
There’s just one problem, I am terrified of public speaking! It doesn’t matter if there are four people or one hundred people. I even got sweaty palms leading a conference call with seven team members I’ve worked with for years.
I wanted to take advantage of this fabulous opportunity; I was flattered that anyone would give me this control at a retreat that people pay good money for. Ultimately, I wanted to share my knowledge and let those at the retreat hear from someone who shared the same struggle, someone that they could identify with. However, there was that little nagging voice inside my head saying, “You’ll only embarrass yourself and those running the retreat,” or “Who do you think you are to teach anyone anything?”
We have all had those moments where we have to ask ourselves if this fear is holding us back. Is our intuition keeping us safe? These are questions that took me a long time to genuinely answer.
I love this quote from Neale Donald Walsch about the two:
“Caution is what causes you to look both ways before crossing the street. Fear is what keeps you frozen on the curb forever. You know the difference. You can feel it. If you’re ‘stuck’ right now, you’re probably into fear. Get out of there. You’ve already looked both ways. Now cross the street for heaven’s sake. The cars have long since gone. The coast is clear. Your only obstacle now is your own mind.”
This is a great metaphor. As I have learned to tune into my body more, I recognize where these emotions sit physically. The feeling of tightness, especially in your chest - that’s fear. The feeling of hitting a brick wall or being in quicksand – that’s also fear. That feeling in the pit of your stomach that something’s not quite right - that’s caution, or what we call gut instinct. It’s there to protect us. These emotions show up in different ways for everyone; you have to know your body in order to fully understand them. You’ve heard it many times before, that meditation, prayer, journaling, nature and just giving yourself a moment of silence to do a quick scan can help tune in to what your body is trying to tell you. It takes practice if it’s something you’re not used to doing, but don’t give up. I spent a long time recognizing these feelings, and then connecting enough to say, “Oh, this is what’s going on”.
I know this is all easier said than done. Pushing past fear is a challenge, one you have to practice over and over again. We never become fearless, only comfortable in our discomfort. Learning to listen to your body after spending years disconnected can feel like searching for treasure without a map. You have to believe that it’s in there, even if you’ve buried it deep down, and be patient with yourself as you reconnect. You didn’t do it overnight and you won’t undo it that quickly either.
At the end of the day, I recognized that it was fear holding me back and I took a leap of faith instead of turning down a great opportunity. Unfortunately, despite the soul searching and the push to become “unstuck”, I ended up not making the retreat when my mother was hospitalized. The hard work was done and the lesson was definitely learned though. I know the universe has something equally as exciting just around the corner for me anyway.