Forgiveness

How to Overcome Your Greatest Fear

What do you fear? Do you fear dying? Many people do. Fear is not real. It is dreamed up by the ego and our overly active minds. Some people even say that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. When you look at it this way, you may realize that the only thing that we have to fear is fear itself. When you have the courage to push past your fears, to face them head on and live with a heart of love and good intentions you will feel wonderful and find the abundance that you deserve. 

I know because I lived most of my life trapped by fear. There is nothing worse than feeling trapped. I was SUCH a fraidy cat starting at a young age even though nothing truly bad ever even happened to me with the exception the one time that my sister played a trick on me. She once hid under my bed when I was roughly seven making scratching sounds as she talked in a scary voice. My doberman growled and I remember being so frozen in fear that I could not even yell for my parents. When I finally gather the courage to run to my parents for help, "sweet little" Mandy (my big sister) quickly snuck back to her bed where she pretended to be sleeping. That is my earliest memory of fear. All a hoax, you see. There was nothing to fear at all. Our minds will play terrible tricks on us if we allow them to do so.

The mind is powerful. It must be trained just like any muscle in the body. We must think positively and tell ourselves what we are truly capable of overcoming. We must also practice awareness to determine what is real and what is and an illusion. 

When your are quaking in your boots, be aware of what is really behind your fear. Awareness helps us to stand strong.

When your are quaking in your boots, be aware of what is really behind your fear. Awareness helps us to stand strong.

Later in life I wanted to attend yoga classes. I had done yoga before and knew how much I enjoyed it, however, having the courage to start taking yoga classes again was not as easy as I thought it would be. I would drive into the parking lot and if it appeared to be full I would literally drive away paralyzed in fear that the class was indeed full. I somehow felt that I did not belong and that I did not know what I was doing. My self esteem was so low and I was not even aware that this was the reason for the fear that was holding me back.

You see, that is where it all begins. Improvement begins with awareness. Once I was aware of what was holding me back I grabbed a friend and eventually pushed through my fear. I not only went to classes on my own, but I also completed yoga teacher training and opened my own studio. I have since led over 3000 classes and two teacher training sessions to train other instructors. I travel and lead corporate yoga, workshops and retreats, as well. Recently while working with the Avon Corporation, I had to push through yet another set of fears; the fear of being hooked up to a wireless microphone and telling my story in front of hundreds of people and then teaching to a diverse group people (some in chairs and some on mats). After the first few seconds on stage and seeing all of the smiling faces looking back at me, I knew that I was not only Ok, I was actually living my dream. 

Endurance events teach us how to push on and gain mental strength. I learned this running the Honolulu Marathon. 

Endurance events teach us how to push on and gain mental strength. I learned this running the Honolulu Marathon. 

Life is a journey not a marathon. It is about taking baby steps to know and love ourselves, and to grow into the best versions of ourselves. We may hit many bumps in the road, but those obstacles are there to teach us and to help us grow. We learn through our mistakes and challenges. What is important is to first be aware so that we can change what we do not like. Change, after all,  is what helps us to grow. Next, we have to practice acceptance free from judgement. Finally we have to forgive, first ourselves and then all of those who have wronged us in life so that we can move forward toward our greatest destiny.

Sometimes it is the biggest obstacles that propel us forward and unlock us from the fear that holds us back. Last week I was given the opportunity to audition for TEDx Cincinnati. Giving a TED talk is a life dream of mine. I applied last year and did not get in. This year I was ready. I was still shaking in my boots with fear, but I knew I had to stand up and use my voice to awaken, inspire and empower others who have not found their voices yet. When you believe so deeply in your mission, nothing can hold you back. So I am super proud of myself for pushing through my fear.

Auditioning to speak at TEDx Cincinnati.

Auditioning to speak at TEDx Cincinnati.

One hundred and fifty people auditioned and only twenty of us were given the chance to give a 2.5 minute audition. I prayed that I would go first so that I could listen to other presenters and enjoy what they were offering, but of course I was number 16. I tried so hard to listen to the other presenters as their speeches were gripping and inspiring, but I my mind was focused on trying to remember my own speech and I was so incredibly nervous. I was simply trying not to cry. We lined up in front of the stage after the intermission. I listened intently to a speech or two and then everything was blurry as I reread my written speech to myself. I carried my papers nervously to the stage. As soon as I stood under the lights and said my first sentence I felt an odd calm. A divine presence came over me and it was as if the universe was naturally speaking through me. What I had originally dreaded I was truly enjoying. I was offering my heart and my soul to the world. In telling my story I was freeing myself from fear. More importantly I felt that if my words touched and inspired just one other person in the audience, the whole process that brought me to that stage and all of the terrible anxiety that I faced that evening would all be worthwhile. 

Soaring over the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Soaring over the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Each time that we climb to the peak of a mountain it feels exhilarating. The balance, however, is that every high is followed by a low. The valleys in life are there to help us to appreciate the highs. This appreciation gives us more momentum and courage to move forward toward the higher mountains that we may face in the future. I now know, that the TEDx audition was just a start for me. I know that my purpose is to help spread conscious awareness through my yoga philosophy of awareness, acceptance, and forgiveness so that others can overcome the intimidating obstacles in their lives. All things are possible when we believe and let go of the fears that hold us back from achieving our true greatness. 

Gratefully & Courageously Yours,

Libby Shively McAvoy

P.S. - If you enjoyed this article, then please check out my latest post on my other blog about the importance of "acceptance" at TotalSoulfulJourney.com

 

 

Love takes Courage and a Box of Kleenex

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Have you ever been addicted to something? Have you ever suffered extreme loss? What about fears? Do you fear anything so much that it haunts you or shuts you down? There is a song on the radio that made me realize that love is just as powerful as any drug out there (watch the video below). Music is powerful. It can trigger memories, feelings and instincts. Love, however, takes you to your highest high and also your lowest low. You put your faith and trust in your significant other and sometimes with no warning you are left alone. This causes feelings of abandonment and insecurity. It causes us to close down and a little piece of us dies. Losing a loved one in a relationship is a huge cause of stress, whether it is a long term relationship or a marriage. You share memories, laughter, and intimacy with that person. Those memories are triggered for a long time to come and unfortunately cannot be turned off easily, which makes it difficult to move forward and to love again. But surrenduring to what is and knowing when to walk away is key! It allows you to open the door for what may be. 

Now, lets talk about the ego. It is extremely important to keep the ego in check when going through difficult times during a breakup. We go through every range of emotions from sadness to anger and everything in between. But, compassion is critical. Compassion is your desire to alleviate the suffering of others, or your feeling of sympathy toward others. In the case of a breakup, compassion toward your Ex can be difficult, but when we set the ego aside and realize why we loved that person to begin with it is a little easier. Try to maintain compassion. In the end you will feel better for it. Positivity attracts positivity. Your heart will heal faster as a result. Remember, always forgive and rise above. Holding grudges only hurts you more in the end.

 

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So, grab a spoon and a pint of ice cream. Binge watch your favorite Netflix shows for a day and then get outside and go for a hike. Reconnect with the things you love to do. Stay plugged into your friends and family. This might be hard if you shared mutual friends, but make the effort. If need be have open communication with your Ex about how and when you will see friends so that you do not awkwardly show up at the same place at the same time. Respect each other as you move on. Sometimes zero communication, at least for a brief period, is easier. Other times treating each other as business partners helps the transition. You will find what works best. Please just watch what you say because although words can be forgiven, they cannot be forgotten and it is easy to say things we do not mean when our emotions are elevated. 

You WILL be ok despite the fact that you don’t feel like it at the moment. Everything feels better when you are in love. Do not close down to the possibility of loving again. When we hit rock bottom, we bounce back up and sometimes twice as high, meaning we end up with a better ending. You are the author and the architect of your life. So, write a new chapter. Add new characters. Try new things. Remember, you have a purpose and you are worth it. Keep moving forward and don’t lose your way. All of our roadblocks, bumps and bruises make us stronger, build our character, and give depth to our soul. They help give meaning to our lives and help us to better understand others, which help us to connect. 

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F.L.Y. First love yourself. Spend some time alone. Prepare yourself for your next true love by fully loving yourself. Make as many self improvements as you can. Be very honest about what went wrong in your previous relationship ~ sometimes we can improve and sometimes we cannot, but it is always good to be aware. Accept the situation, forgive yourself and your EX, and when you are ready move forward with excitement and full compassion. The heart is resilient and will love again. It is the ego that will hold you back.

With love and acceptance,

Libby

We Have All Been a Little Lost in Life...

We all have an idea, a road map if you will, of what we think our lives should look like long term.  As it turns out we are in control of very little in our lives, and sometimes major things happen causing trauma, depression, and even PTSD. An unexpected crisis can throw us way off course, leaving us feeling lost and frozen with fear because we no longer know which way to go. It is especially important during uncertain times like this to forge forward, or risk getting stuck in the pain, the fear and the negative energy that overwhelms us when we're feeling down. This is also the time to trust the journey, putting one foot in front of the other each day to create a new and hopeful path going forward.  

When trauma happens, we are often tempted to turn toward potentially destructive behaviors such as addictions, self isolation and recklessness, which can push us deeper into a downward spiral of dispair. Whether you lose an arm, lose a job, or lose a loved one, there are constructive ways to get your life back on track by creating an upward spiral of positive energy. For example, getting up early to exercise and start the day with determination gives you positive momentum and those feel good endorphins. In addition, find something, even if it is small to be grateful for each day. When we are in a state of gratitude, it's much easier to feel better about life. Allow yourself the grace to take baby steps toward the door to happiness and the path toward healing the trauma that derailed your original journey. Be compassionate toward yourself starting with acceptance and forgiveness, then go back to our roots of awareness, in order to grasp control of your feelings and reactions to those feelings. Change is the very nature of life. Once we have the tools of awareness, acceptance and forgiveness, we are able to deal with the traumas that arise in life, or past traumas that reoccur. Most importantly look yourself in the mirror and say, "I love you" every day!

We are writing the books of our lives. Each day we are faced with many choices, some more difficult than others. When trauma is involved every decision and choice can become monumental. Connecting with friends and family and avoiding isolation is critical in healing. Do what it takes to find happiness as long as it is healthy and takes you on an upward spiral.  

For me, the recent trauma of putting our very beloved dog down really knocked me off my tracks. The first day, honestly, I screamed and cried. The second day I did not want to get out of bed, but I KNEW I HAD TO PULL OUT OF THIS DOWNWARD SPIRAL, so I thought to myself what can I do? What will bring me happiness? And.... the answer was a puppy. This might be extreme for some people, but it was exactly what my family and I needed, and Tucker, the love nugget, is bringing us much love and joy.  

For others they might find comfort in eating healthy homecooked meals, connecting with past friends, volunteering, watching a comedy show, simply laughing, going on a nature walk, or joining a yoga class. Just take time and brainstorm positive solutions that will fuel good energy. Numbing the pain is simply prolonging the pain and will ultimately cause more suffering for us and for our loved ones. In fact, there is something called secondary PTSD. This happens when family members are traumatized by being around a loved one who isolates and pushes them away (among other things) as a way to cope with their own PTSD.  Secondary PTSD can tear families apart and destroy lives if we do not rewrite our books with happy endings.  

Sadness is a part of life. It is unavoidable and it also helps us appreciate our happy days. This is really the Principle of Polarity; which is to say everything has opposites. All things can be transformed with the power of your mind. Hate can be transformed into love. Sadness can be transformed into happiness. Even an empty bank account can be transformed into a full bank account. It also ties nicely into the Law of Attraction, which is to say the power of your thinking attracts the outcome of what you recieve. So when we wake each day with positive determination, even with baby steps, we set into motion that law of attraction to bring goodness into our lives and put us back on track on our journey toward well being. 

Sending all those who are suffering and hurting healing and loving vibes. Life is hard sometimes. Let's all pull together and make some lemonade out of the lemons we are dealt. It IS going to be OK!

Much Love,

Libby

 

P.S. - For those of you who feel paralyzed by severe trauma, depression or PTSD, there are additional resources available to help you through your journey.  You are never alone!

Recommended books:

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga - Reclaiming Your Body - by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper, PhD.

Daring Greatly - By Brene Brown.

Untethered Soul - by Michael Singer

Additional Resources:

PTSD Hotline - mentalhelp.net

Now Mental Health - nowmentalhealth.com

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - suicidepreventionlifeline.org