The richness of being human lies precisely in our lack of perfection. This is the source of so much of our longing, and out of that longing emerges creativity, beauty, and goodness. With appropriate openness and humility, it is the cracks that let in the light. Once those cracks and flaws are embraced and accepted as part of the self, then and only then, can the light flow out of us, into the lives of others and into the world.”
- David Benner
How exactly do we build up our authenticity and courage, and recognize those moments of doubt and insecurity? One way is to practice mindfulness and attention. We practice being here in THIS moment, becoming more aware of our thoughts that say, ”I’m not good enough, smart enough, funny enough, 'whatever' enough.” Through mindful living, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, we learn to stay in the moment, in the uncomfortableness, and accept this vulnerable state. And the more we can do that, the more we build up our courage and fearlessness to be who we are.
The opposite of mindfulness is “mind-wandering” - the most frequent and universal cause of unhappiness. As Harvard psychologists found, “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” When we're wandering, almost half the time, we’re not paying attention to the present moment. We aren’t happy since our minds aren’t here, in the now. So nurturing mindfulness means continually noticing where our attention is and bringing it back.
This is one reason why yoga is so incredibly helpful. When we are on the mat, we are often focused on proper alignment or perhaps we might be holding a pose longer than is comfortable. If our attention wanders, we might fall out of the pose or perhaps not get the full benefit of the asana. Our yoga practice translates to real life situations, where we sometimes need to hold discomfort longer than we’d like. As we practice both on and off the mat, we build up our resilience and courage to stay. We become more aware of our judging or impatient or critical thoughts, (or perhaps others’ criticism, too) letting them go, thereby increasing our courage to live wholeheartedly.
In my Fearless Warrior session, I’ll share numerous ways in which we can bring a deep sense of mindfulness to our days: simple practices that won’t add to your “to-do” lists, but can be incorporated into your daily activities. By nurturing this awareness, we can live with courage and openness, freely sharing our gifts and talents with those around us.
Anne Kertz Kernion
Anne is the owner/artist of Cards by Anne, an inspirational greeting card company. She's also a yoga teacher, frequent lecturer on neuroscience and spirituality and a presenter at the 2016 Fearless Warrior Yoga Conference.