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  • michelle m. davis

Time to Say Yes!

I don’t know about you, but I thrive when my world is organized. For me to do my best work, I require a clean, orderly, and peaceful environment. Perhaps being surrounded by calm allows my imagination to soar, often discovering solutions or recognizing opportunities. It’s also critical when I sit down to write. If my “to do’s” aren’t done or this’s a bit of chaos, words never seem to flow because my mind is stuck on what must be done.

However, my last three months have been anything but calm. A lot of wonderful things occurred … but like with any change, it rocked my daily routine. And while I did my best to keep on top of my game, inevitably, some things fell through the cracks. Eventually, when I slowed down and started to pause, taking one day at a time, the disorder dissipated. Slowly, my body relaxed, and my mind began to find focus.

Still, my environment was far from “settled.” Saying I had no intention of adding one more thing to my plate would be an understatement.

But then I received an email on a Tuesday from my yoga teacher … she asked for four of us to volunteer to teach the sequence during our upcoming weekend of training. My first reaction was hell no!

First, some background ... Last fall, I enrolled in a year long, 200-hour yoga teacher training. As an incredibly inflexible human, I hoped this experience would help me grow in multiple ways—not only on my mat, but also in my ability to do try things I am not "good" at. Normally, I shy away from activities where I won't shine.

Part of the requirement for this course is to teach an hour-long class. I had assumed there would be sign-ups, giving me ample time to perfect the postures, memorize the cues, and the refine the playlist.

But instead, I received an unanticipated opportunity. Of course, I could decline and wait until later when I felt assured I’d deliver a perfectly rehearsed class. Or, I could say yes and risk failure.

Now this wouldn’t be a big deal for a lot of people. But it was for me. And here’s the thing—I recognized it—and that is why I volunteered. I realized it wasn’t about teaching a flawless class. My lesson was to show up, do my best without the assurance of being fully prepared, and accept whatever outcome occurred.

Leaving our comfort zones is hard, especially for reformed perfectionists. To let go of our habitual need to have our ducks in order and instead dive headfirst into the unknown is really about giving up control … and I’ve certainly written plenty of blogs on that topic!

When I responded to the email, I knew what I was up against … I had to surrender and allow.

Of course, I made many mistakes that Sunday afternoon. I miscued the breath, spoke too quickly, and confused my right with my left. But looking back, saying yes was my victory. I allowed myself to become vulnerable.

And guess what … the class went well. In fact, I had fun, despite my fear of not being good enough.

Looking back, I’m still surprised I agreed to teach the yoga sequence without my typical “hours and hours of preparation.” But doing so showed me how often I hold back in life, afraid to move forward until I’ve created the perfectly devised plan. I suppose there’s something to spontaneity. And while I doubt I’ll automatically morph into a carefree, unrestrained, spur-of-the-moment woman, perhaps—every once in a while—I might say yes when I’m far from ready.


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