The early part of my life was filled with debilitating fear and self-doubt.  Growing up the daughter of 2 alcoholic parents I lived in constant uncertainty, which lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair.  I remember the overwhelming thought that somehow I just wasn't "good enough" and never would be.

As I became an adult and moved away from home, the fear stayed with me. My mind was consumed with thoughts of self-loathing, self-criticism and self-judgement.  I was painfully self-conscious.  I never measured up to my own self-imposed standards and therefore felt trapped and isolated by my own thinking. Although I didn't know it at the time.

In my early 20's I was introduced to a wise and gifted teacher, whom would guide me through a process, which would include new decisions and actions that would transform my thinking, and ultimately my life.

There was a time in my life when I believed that all of my problems were "out there", and that if only I could arrange "out there" (life) in "just the right way",  I wouldn't be afraid, and therefore problem solved. Right? Not really.

It was a radical idea when my teacher suggested I examine my thinking and my beliefs, instead of trying to change the world around me. Didn't Gandhi say "be the change you want to see in the world"? 

Through this ever expanding and unfolding process, I came to understand that the experience of my life is born out of my thinking.  When a building is built someone had to have the thought or idea and then it takes form.  Carlos Pomeda says, "you can be in a holy place and it can mean nothing to you, and visa verse, you can be in a profane place and it has great meaning". It is our awareness, belief or thinking that makes it valuable or meaningful, or not.

If I think people don't like me then that is the experience I will have. For this purpose it doesn't matter if they like me or not, but what I think about them liking me or not does matter because that is what creates my experience. What if I believed everyone cared about me and wanted the best for me. How different would my day be? How different would my life be? This is what I began to understand as I did the work with my teacher.

In "A Return to Love" Marianne Williamson defines a miracle as "a shift in perception".  I have come to believe in that same definition. When my thinking began to change, my reactions and actions changed, and then... my life changed.  Paradoxically though my actions had to change first. Instead of reacting to my fear, anxiety, worry, etc., I would pause, reflect, journal, meditate, pray and continue to get honest with myself, my teacher and others about my fears and the actual root of the fears, which yes, for me was my belief thinking.  

I have come to believe that the solution to my fear wasn't to change, fix or control the world around me and the people in it, but rather to change my relationship with fear. To think about it differently. Fear can be a great motivator for change, and it can even be Grace, because if we really pay attention, we might find that it shines a light on a place in our lives that needs attention and healing.

Changing my thinking has allowed me to experience greater joy and freedom in my life.  I don't so easily fall victim to the circumstances of my life, therefore, allowing them to dictate my peace of mind or happiness. 

Through my yoga practice I have had a shift in perception. Where I had been only self-conscious I now experience greater God-consciousness.  I have come to believe in a part of myself that has never, and can never be affected by fear. It is bigger then fear.  It is my center, my core, my solution - it is the underlying wholeness that is my Essence. 

I believe in a loving Spirit of the Universe that only wants the best for me.  Love conquers fear, every time. I just had to believe it...