Fear as a Compass


the thing that you are most

afraid to write.

write that. 

-Nayyirah Waheed, salt.


A yoga teacher training like the one that I have embarked on revolves around confronting this singular, terrifying emotion.

Fear of embarrassment. Fear of judgment. Fear of failure. Fear of not having the right answer, of not knowing what to say, of not looking the way you think you should look.

Fear of not being perfect. Fear of not being enough.

We are asked to get up and speak in front of everyone, or (even more terrifying for a lot of us), in the center of everyone. We are asked to talk about what most moves us. We are pushed to share personal experiences, dreams, worries, confessions…things that maybe we haven’t told anyone before.

Sometimes, when I talk about environmental issues, or my dreams/goals for the future, I find my chest tightening and my words coming fast.

Why is this, I wonder?

Do I doubt in my ability to manifest real change in this world? To bring about healing on this earth?

Or do I sometimes stumble to find a voice to express my visions for the future, for the environmental battles that need to be waged (and won), because I am afraid of my own power?




Am I scared of my own innate wisdom, strength, and purpose? Am I scared to step into my own, to hold space? Am I scared to be totally vulnerable… unyieldingly authentic and open? Am I scared to use my voice? Am I scared that by doing so (bringing my thoughts and intentions into the world), I will be compelled to follow through with what I say in the biggest of ways?

As environmentalists, we are asked to confront hard questions, to step into difficult situations, and to use our voice all of the time. We are asked to conquer fear. We are asked to stand up. We are asked to honor our being, our presence, and our place in the world by doing what calls to us: by being brave enough to stand up for who we are and what we believe in.

I hope to continue tapping into that inner hum, that core source of aliveness, that fluttering that tells me that I’m going in the right direction. I hope, as I move forward (throughout both my personal and professional life), that I continue to speak out from a place of love and passion for this beautiful planet. I hope to come back to the feeling I have in these circles again and again and again by continually putting myself out there. By raising my voice. By being both peaceful and wild. By being mostly rational and yet, and YET, being a firm believer in the impossible, too.