dinaforheadshot_opt“Fear is a powerful adversary. Fear keeps us trapped inside boundaries. Fear keeps us from learning something new, from making discoveries, from making new friends. Fear prevents us from reaching our full potential and from truly living our experiences. Take your fear, place it on a raft, push it out into the abyss. Defeat the enemy. Be fearless.”

As we look ahead to the dawning of a new year, we find excitement from the brimming possibilities life and hard work can bring. We set goals, intentions and go full steam ahead with plans. I believe taking time to reflect on the past year is also noteworthy as well, as it can bring much insight into areas of our lives we might like to change for the better. Usually, I pick an evening before the New Year to sit down and make a list. First of my achievements, barriers I have broken and areas I created a positive change. Then I make another list, this one noting all areas of my life where I might feel stuck, complacent, or afraid. When I look very closely, I begin to see a pattern. The bottom line is fear. Fear is the common denominator to all lack of change, growth or freedom.

It is so easy to say don’t be afraid or just be fearless. But how does one begin to look at what we are afraid of in life? This is not a comfortable task, but a very necessary one. One of the hardest tasks in life is to try and see fear as a positive, growth-producing emotion rather than something to be avoided at all costs. Although probably none of us is ever going to be thrilled by the prospect of feeling afraid, we all need to demystify and declaw our fear by increasing our capacity to examine it. Unexplored fear has the tendency to hold us powerfully in its grasp, thereby limiting our ability to live fully and happily. On the other hand, when we have the courage to look fear in the face, we often find a treasure house of self awareness and unrealized potential.

Befriending fear by realizing that it has much to teach us is an important step on our path towards becoming authentic, confident selves. Although it’s not an easy task, viewing fear as a teacher is necessary in order for us to keep it from becoming a demanding and overbearing taskmaster. As I face my own fears, I use encouragement, comfort, and support from various sources. My desire here is to share what I learn with you.

Try sitting quietly one evening or morning, or really whenever and make your lists. The first should be filled with your accomplishments, goals that were met or intentions and positive changes in life, love and mental attitudes. Then lovingly, make your second list with openness in your heart to see where fear might be holding you back. For example, in 2012, I had to make a decision, was I going to let the fear-driven media about all the bad things happening in Greece stop me from leading a yoga retreat there? People told me all kinds of things and reasons why 2012 was the worst year to do this. I should wait, I should go somewhere else; some even said it would be impossible to get a group big enough to go.

Well, I have learned to never listen to people! When they say YOU can’t do something, they really are telling you they believe THEY can’t do it. We did it anyway and it was a success!!!! I had to make a choice, to condition my mind negatively, or to find lots of positive affirmations to reinforce my believing in the trip. And it worked! And I’ll tell you. It works every time! You align your thoughts, words and actions with what you need or want to see happen and it will. We are capable of so many amazing things. And most of it begins in the mind and with a will.

Again, looking at fear as a tool, a teacher to help you change is a beautiful way to dive in and explore. To seek change to be better, more free in all ways, more whole. It’s an ongoing process, but oh so liberating when you break down a wall, or an old pattern, or smash to bits the perimeters you may place around you. So now you have a path to explore fear; go ahead, take your fear, embrace it, then, place it on a raft, push it out into the abyss!

Wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR filled with love, laughter, light, prosperity, health, happiness, wholeness and NO MORE FEAR!!!!!! I love you all dearly and am so blessed to be able to share my thoughts, however random, however provoking, and I hope healing with you. God Bless!

~ Read more from Dina on her website www.nastekalayoga.com and like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nastekalayoga.