The 4-letter word that’s holding you back

I open the car door, stepping out into the warm summer night. My heart is racing, my palms are sweaty. I swallow hard, trying to get rid of the lump in my throat. There’s a moment when I consider sitting down and driving away but I pause, take a breath, shut the door, and walk towards the studio. As I get inside I gaze up at the 7 metres of silk fabric hanging from the ceiling. Inwardly the voices are screaming – what are you doing here?

I walk towards the teacher. Hi, I say, in a soft shaky voice. I’m here for beginner’s aerial. It’s not long before I’m standing on a crash mat looking up at the ceiling with the silk in my hand. The instructor tells me “You’ll know you’re strong when you can climb up and down 3 times” – Up to the ceiling I say, he smiles and nods.

This is how my circus journey began. This was my vehicle for exploring the quotation:

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear” ― Jack Canfield.

The idea began in September 2014 when I promised myself that I would live more presently and push myself to do the things that scared me. Why? Well because I knew that in November 2015 my world would change as we would be moving to Sydney.

I wasn’t afraid of moving countries, I feared having to speak to new people and find new friends. I’ve always been a shy introvert and engaging with new people was one of my weaknesses. I remember the first day of high school and the first day of college… my mouth opened but the words wouldn’t come out. I was nervous, I was uncomfortable and the idea of having to speak to new people was a challenge.

I always wondered if confidence was something that I could learn… and with this new chapter on the horizon, I decided that now was the perfect time to test this theory. My circus journey helped me unlock a side of myself that I never knew existed by forcing me to step into fear each time I was at the studio. I remember feeling useless, feeling like this was something that I would never grasp (I couldn’t lift myself off the ground). But each time I showed up, I welcomed fear with a racing heart and a knotted stomach. My only expectation for the year was to push myself into doing things that scared me. I never envisioned performing in a shadow dance routine or putting together a silk act after only being at the studio for 5 months.

After performing in front of 180 people, I felt the most awake I ever have. It took hours of visualisation, focused breathing, internal debates and practicing discomfort to reach that point. The lessons that I learnt from circus are the ones which guide me every day.

Confidence is a muscle, it is something that can be trained with consistent practice. After many years of feeling trapped in my own body I knew that this was something I wanted to share with other people. But how would I do that in a new country, not knowing anything about anything really (my constant struggle with imposter syndrome). I was lucky enough to have beginners mind on my side. How could I fail? I came across AntiGravity Teacher Training and immediately knew I had to do it.

I thought I had conquered fear through circus, but quickly realised that she was there to greet me again. So, I said hi, stood up in front of 18 people and taught the first class I ever had. That moment unlocked a variety of pathways which have lead me to this moment right now.

It’s those little incremental steps we take each day that change the pathways of our lives. Looking back at the past 3 years, I feel like a different version of myself. I now walk up to strangers to engage in conversation, I hear my own voice in class every day instead of just the sound of my judgemental thoughts (of which there are still many). I’m still shy, I’m still an introvert, but I’m not as fearful. Instead of running away from fear I greet her with a confident smile and ask her what she is here to teach me today.

When the opportunity to partner with Alanna at Yoga Pavilion emerged I jumped at it, knowing that this was where my journey had been leading me. The ability to share what I have learnt and provide the space for others to grow, to have fun and to reconnect is priceless to me.

Every day you receive an opportunity to change the pathway of your life. Fear can either hold you back or propel you forward.

Will today be the day you smile and say hello?