A quick four-step guide for those, like me, who are not brave, rich or have it all figured out.
Over the course of my life, I’ve been often called brave. As much as I love flattery and I am not trying to be too modest, I don’t think it is true. Or to form it more precisely, the kind of ‘brave’ I am is available for everybody – it is really not that hard to achieve.
Fear is a call for action
Last weekend, I was camping with my friends at Blue Pool, Gippsland. There was a rope swing hanging of a tree branch over a stiff edge overlooking the pool. All I needed to do is grab to it and make a big step over the roots of the tree and swing myself strong enough to jump high enough to get to the deep water. I always find it much more scary when you actually have to do something to take the jump, like make a step, rather than just submitting to the circumstances as there is no other choice. And there were so many things that could’ve gone wrong, like: I could’ve slipped, tripped over, or stepped not too far, or too far and the likelihood of it all happening was already high as my legs were shaking and the pool seemed way further than I thought it would be.
Bottom line, I was definitely not going to jump even though I already had a glass of wine and a seven-year-old in line behind me encouraged, ‘it is not that scary…’ Cute.
Then my friend suggested to start the jump from lower down the tree roots. That way I wouldn’t have to make much of a step and I won’t be swinging that high. Needless to say I embraced this option and it all went well, no crazy accidents in this story.
What happened is that in this situation I had several choices: I could have jumped of the high cliff when I was at the pick of my fear (that would be the one if I was actually brave), I could have taken the easier jump (which I did), or I could have just given up on the whole idea and go back to lie on the beach sipping wine (what was totally available).
Now what if the cliff was actually stiff, there was no easy jump variation available and there was no way back because behind me there was nothing but lava? I probably would have been ‘brave’ then and jumped with my legs all shaking. Except that it is not being brave, it is just taking on the only choice left.
So you see, it is not that I am brave, it is that life keeps putting me into this burning-cliff-situations. Or… I just actively pursue these situations because I know that these are key to fulfilling my goals. I create my own reality and you can do it too!
Step one – see the impossible
The universe urges me to act courageously when there is actually no other choice, or at least I don’t see one. If you really want something to happen in your life, the first step towards it is to see no other choice as possible. As long as there are other choices, there are excuses, there are possibilities and there is a chance of them fulfilling themselves instead of you fulfilling YOU.
For example, if you are day dreaming about leaving your office job and becoming a gypsy-artist but really you can still see yourself sitting at your desk everyday and being miserable, you’re probably not going to take the brave option and run into the wild. If you still see your current job as a possibility, it means that you probably don’t crave the gypsy life that much, which is totally fine! You might watch movies about gypsies, make vague plans to change professions, do an art class once a week… but you will only take the plunge and make a life changing decision when you will truly see no other choice.
So how to speed things up and make it all happen for you? Like everything: you can fake it till you make it. I know now you can see yourself sitting at your desk everyday, I mean obviously… you are probably doing it right now! But… maybe try and visualise yourself in five years time: can you still see yourself doing this? If the answer is ‘yes, it is not that bad’, you will probably stick to your weekly art classes for a bit longer. If your answer is, ‘absolutely not, it is impossible!’, you probably already started acting towards a change.
Something that honestly cannot be seen as a possibility, won’t happen. The universe will urge you to act. The thought, ‘I can’t believe it happened’ is often followed by a subtle, stinging reminder, ‘well I always knew it could.’
Step two – see the possible
It is actually easier to fulfil a desire when you see only one possibility, even if the possibility is incredibly frightening and unfamiliar. It is the only one you see, so it is the only one possible.
In March 2017 I went through a traumatic, personal tragedy. After that life at all seemed impossible to me: I could see only pain and grief, I could not see any future for myself. There were moments when I could see death as a possibility but somehow there was still some strength left within me that guided me to eliminate this option too.
It was a dark time in my life and for a while I thought I will never come out of it. I remember speaking to a friend on the phone saying, ‘I can’t take it anymore, it is too much’ and she said, ‘but you have too, you don’t have any other choice’. And it was true! So I had to act and to act I had to see a possibility or some direction that is at least slightly possible.
This was when I came up with the idea to open my own studio. It was always something on my mind and a kind of long term goal but when no other possibilities were available it became my reality.
When there are several choices there is doubt and the possibility of future regret, so the equation is much more complex. When I decided on founding Active Sanctuary Yoga, I didn’t see any other choices so it was relatively easy for me. It was the only idea I had that I believed was capable to bring me back to life and give me purpose. The only things I knew how to do best were teaching and managing. I also couldn’t see myself continuing to teach for other people as I grew out of it and frankly, I wasn’t getting as much work anyway as I was clearly set on a different task. So it all came together in less than six months time! Again not because I was brave but because it was the only option I saw possible.
So step two is actually to see your desire as possible: this is what we call manifestation. The possibility of your desire being fulfilled should be as clear in your mind as the impossibility of all other options. If it is the only thing you see, it can be nothing else but your reality.
Step three – ACT upon it
This is when things get practical. Unfortunately, there is no secret formula that values procrastination and laziness. If we now compare all of my brilliant ideas to the traditional writings of Yoga, we will see I haven’t actually came up with anything new.
Patanjali 2000 years ago written about the obstacles on the way to spiritual enlightenment (which could be a metaphor to any small or large goal you are trying to achieve). The nine obstacles, according to the his canonical writings, are: Physical illness, mental laziness, doubt and indecision, negligence, physical laziness, lack of control, illusion, inability to maintain the achieved and a scattered mind (sutra 1.30). To avoid these obstacles, the practitioner must DO something to free his consciousness from these impediments (sutra 1.32) This ‘something’ when it comes to spiritual awakening is Yoga and meditation. When it comes to your personal aspirations, you are the one to judge.
But whatever it is you are craving for, it will not be fulfilled without action. One of my teachers once said, Tamas (the heavy, grounded state of being) can only reach Satva (the peaceful, enlightened state of being) through Rajas (the active, ever changing state of being). I put this idea in my studio’s vision because it is ever since been my truth.
So this is the secret: eliminating other options and manifesting possibility are awesome but you can’t get away with it without acting. Without action nothing changes and as I said before, it is easier when there is no other choice.
As all of my students know, I am a great believer of action and not a fan of overly ‘relaxy’, passive Yoga styles. I believe you have to DO something, body or mind. Especially when you are depressed (the ultimate expression of Tamas state), especially when you are at your rock bottom – SOMETHING is a start. No action is no change.
Only action is what saved me from my breakdown that time… which is why it is called Active Sanctuary.
Step four – let it go
It all may sound a little bit demanding… you also want to remember not to be too hard on yourself. Beating yourself up for your failures or racing against the flow may be very exhausting and not helpful to achieve your goals. Sometimes you just need to let them go. Nothing always works out and maybe something is not meant to be and you gained a lesson instead. I am definitely not cultivating giving up! But I do think that after you really done everything within your power to fulfil your desire and put it all on the line, it won’t feel like such a failure to let it go. And failure is always better than regret for not trying.
From my experience, it is when you let go that the universe aligns the one extra step that was missing for the fulfilment of your desire. When you let go, life can relax and finally just fall into place.
When I made the decision about opening my studio, I was very determined and excited but a little bit all over the place. I searched for businesses for sale and travelled inter-state to look at various places. Few deals fell through or just didn’t feel right and few months in I was already thinking that it is time to stop. I thought, oh well… maybe this breakdown didn’t led to a breakthrough after all. I’ve done my best; if it is meant to be, it will come to me. And it did! Only few months later I saw the ad for our beautiful space in Prahran, absolutely fallen in love with it and called it my own in a heart bit.
To summarise, a new year is just started and I am sure you have lots of goals you want to achieve. Some might be scarier than others and you may be going through other struggles as well. If you really want something to be fulfilled this year, ask yourself: Is it the only option I see possible? And if so, fear might vanish and you can start seeing success as your only option. While manifesting your desire, don’t forget to bring it to life through action and action only. Then let it go, there is no point in overthinking it… but only when you know you’ve done it all.
Cheers to a year of authentic fulfilment!
Your teacher, Anna Bukchin
Come meet me at my studio in Prahran, Sign up for classes HERE