What if your life IS your teaching?


In the spring my friend and beloved yoga teacher, Jill Knouse, asked me this question: "What is your life trying to do through you?" It was a question that required a deep pause.

I couldn't answer it.

I don't think it's the kind of question you can simply answer - and if you can, I guarantee you aren't really hearing the question.

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of being a conduit for something. They want a simple existence, one where their life is precisely how it seems.

But what if we're missing the point?

What if life isn't just to buy groceries, pay bills, go to spin class, and have a social drink after work? What subtleties that actually make you come alive are you missing by not looking between the moments of sheer entertainment? If you could really listen to the space between everything, what would you hear?

What is your life trying to do through you?

In July I kicked off an experiment - one that would not only bring me back to my roots, but would return me to some deeper truth I all too quickly had forgotten. The experiment was The People First Project, and the truth? We are all doing the best we can with what we know at any given moment.

In one week the project comes to a close and I will have coached 40 people in 60 days. Forty dreamers, thinkers, soul seekers, yes. But also forty human beings doing the best they can to heed the call of their life and guess what? It turns out this isn't as easy as we think it should be.

Every single person that was part of the project wanted to be part of something bigger in their own life and at the same time hadn't a clue how to move through it without the fear it can invoke. My guidance every single time? Bring the fear with you.

"What? But I am scared and unsure of what I am doing, what do you mean bring it with you?!"

Bring the fear with you. Without it you could lose out on some pretty important lessons.

If we stopped being so obsessed with fear harming us, we might actually get to know what it has bottled up inside of it. Fear is commonplace; what if we've been misinterpreting it all along?

What if it weren't designed to scare you, hold you back, keep you small, whisper terrible lies, or convince you that despite the words of well-intentioned friends and family members, you can't actually follow your dreams?

What if wrapped up inside fear was the deeper desire to belong, to stay safe, to be heard, to be seen, to serve without criticism, and to give something wild from your heart that even you don't fully understand yet? What is your life doing through you? Look to what scares you...you just might find the answers you've been searching for.

Either this is the sweet irony of a calling or it really is so simple that your calling can hide in plain sight, wrapped up inside the one place you've refused to look at - what scares me?

I'm less and less scared of what I do want to share, and more afraid it won't leave my head or heart.

Sometimes I fear that I have too much to give and not enough time, not enough of an audience. Do you ever feel like this?

These are the moments when I start to hustle or faux-hustle in an attempt to speed it up. As though if you don't heed what scares you in 30, 60, or 90 days there is something wrong with you.

These things have no deadline other than the ones we give them. I guess if there were a deadline, it would be your life. And trust me, there are plenty of people who will live an entire life and not heed a single thing. And there are those who have spent thousands of lifetimes attempting to heed one call.

The choice is yours. All. Yours.

What if you could retire your need to compare, retire your need to "get it right," and retire your need to do it today? What is left over? I hope what's left over is permission to be right where you are. Fear and all.

I guess, in a way, this is why I did the project. It wasn't fancy and it didn't pretend to be anything other than what it was - a simple offering of my calling and the risk to get it wrong. I didn't promote it except for right here and it didn't make for catchy social media content. That wasn't the point.

I would far rather live a life that honors my soul than show you that I am. Someday, the trends will shift as they always do. Facebook groups will be as archaic as chat rooms and Instagram will go down with Myspace but what about you? Will you have actually spent the time to deepen your awareness of YOU, or will you have spent the time trying to convince others that you were?

We don't actually need others' approval to inquire about who we are. What we do need is our own permission and the willingness to ask ourselves, "What is my life trying to do through me?" and then...get to work answering it.

Andrea Wilborn