[thunder + lightning]

You know that saying "be careful what you wish for"?

Sometimes you really should mind that saying.

I love thunderstorms. Love love love them. There's something so thrilling and enlivening about them.

I also love when Kammie, our older dog, snuggles with me in bed.

Saturday night both things happened. Kammie and I were sleeping peacefully when a flash and a crash woke both of us up. "Oh it's just a thunderstorm," I thought. I nestled back down and prepared to let the storm lull me back to sleep.

Kammie had other plans.

Kammie is deathly afraid of nighttime storms. She panted loudly, hid under the bed, got back on the bed, shook violently, and paced back and forth across me. She just generally lost her furry little mind. Suddenly my perfect snuggly nighttime storm was not so perfect.

It stormed for the better part of the evening. For the better part of the evening, neither of us got any sleep.

Sometimes, like Kammie, I become irrationally afraid of something that used to not phase me (this fear of storms is a more recent development in Kammie's life). Things that I cannot control paralyze me and I become stuck.

But that's what I love about yoga: it pushes me right past those fears.

For months, I've struggled with a certain pose. Full wheel is what most people think of as a backbend. I've also heard it referred to as upward facing bow, which I think creates a more accurate visual for the pose. You start lying on the ground and end up looking like a bow, with the ground as the strong and your body as the wooden portion of the bow. I'd start to go up, become convinced I'd snap my neck, and lie down. I'd take bridge pose instead, all the while thinking, "I can't do that".

One day I took a class on yogaglo that was focused on learning how to do full wheel. Towards the end, we all had to go into the pose five times. The first three times were the usual routine: I'd set my hands and feet, determined to go up into the pose, only to end up lying on my back thinking about how I'd failed yet again. As I set my hands and feet for a fourth attempt, my thoughts followed a very different trajectory from their usual "I can do this". Instead, I thought, "I can't do this. But maybe You can help me".

It turns out that the fourth time is the charm. I suddenly understood what I had done wrong in previous attempts (my hands were too close together, I was too afraid of snapping my neck).

Since that day, I haven't struggled once with wheel.

Suddenly I feel less like Kammie in a nighttime thunderstorm. Suddenly I feel less afraid, on and off the mat.

Suddenly what scared me the most has become my new favorite pose.

So get out there. Watch a thunderstorm outside your windows without shrinking in fear. Try that pose that scares you (safely).  Go to a new type of gym class by yourself. Bravely sample some new food. Go on a date. Make new friends. Ask for something at work that you deserve but are afraid to ask for. Take a risk.

You just may find that what scared you was just what your life needed.

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