Now or Nowhere

vulnerable

adjective

  1. 1.

    exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

    “we were in a vulnerable position”
    synonyms: in danger, in peril, in jeopardy, at risk, endangered, unsafe,unprotected, ill-protected, unguarded;

    open to attack, attackable,assailable, exposed, wide open;
    undefended, unshielded, unfortified,unarmed, without arms, without weapons, defenceless, easily hurt/wounded/damaged, powerless, helpless;
    rare pregnable,impuissant, resistless
    “they evacuated children from the most vulnerable cities”
    exposed to, open to, wide open to, liable to, prone to, prey to,susceptible to, subject to, not above, in danger of, at risk of, at the mercy of, an easy target for, easily affected by;
    in the firing line;
    rare susceptive of
    “he is extremely sensible and less vulnerable to criticism than most”
    antonyms: well protected, invulnerable, resilient, immune to, above

Right. So this is just a little overwhelming.

In case you missed my Love Life post earlier this week, I’m on a vulnerability quest at the moment. But it’s proving to be a very tricky business to navigate. I think I found a starting point but now I need a road map. I need someone to throw me a freaking bone – or ten. Luckily, Baron Baptiste has stepped out a series of universal principles for stepping up to the edge in his book, Journey into Power. So in trying to get my head around them – and in locating where I left my courage to look out over the precipice – I’ve tried to summarise the main points here.

The Eight Universal Principles for Stepping Up to the Edge

Principle 1: We Are Either Now Here or Nowhere

All life happens in the present moment. All we really have is the moment that is right here, right now, in front of us. Any moment that happened in the past is a memory and any moment that will happen in the future is a fantasy. Memories and fantasies can be very nice, but they lead us nowhere except into the past, which no longer exists, or the future, which doesn’t exist yet. The past and the future are not places. They are, essentially, nowhere.

Principle 2: Be in the Now and You’ll Know How

20140416-061245.jpgWhen you tune into the present moment, you rein your focus back in from the distractions happening around you. When you make this directional shift from paying outward attention to paying inward attention, you can really hear what your body is telling you.

When you are in the now, a world of options opens up to you. You already have the answer to ‘how’ within you; our bodies are encoded with this innate knowledge. They key to accessing it is by coming into the moment. Each time you think you don’t know ‘how’ is a clue that you aren’t willing to trust your intuitions – use this question as a tip-off that it’s time to tune in and trust the light of your inner knowing.

Principle 3: Growth Is the Most Important Thing There Is

We have two choices: we grow, or we die. It’s that simple. Growth is forward movement; anything else is stagnation or, worse, regression. I would even go so far as to say that growth is the answer to the age-old question of the meaning of life. It’s the whole point of our journey: to grow and evolve so we can remove all the parts of ourselves that keep us from living in the light, living from our essence, living as our authentic selves.

Maybe you can’t initially touch your toes in a forward bend, or perhaps your upper body is not strong enough to sustain you in Chaturanga. When you hit that edge, you are faced with the choice to either move through or flee. The choice is always yours. But…

You can only grow beyond where you are if you accept where you are in the first place.

Principle 4: Exceed Yourself to Find Your Exceeding Self

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. It’s that simple.

Principle 5: In Order to Heal, You Need to Feel

The irony of spiritual growth is that instead of being some miraculous experience, it feels a lot more like going to pieces. We spend our entire lives stuffing down emotional and physical injuries, but these wounds don’t really disappear. Cellular memory is a powerful thing, and deep within all of us is a record of every feeling we tried to suppress, every emotional scar we keep buried, every physical ailment we thought was healed. To truly heal from the inside out, this psychic debris must be brought to the surface so it can be released.

Principle 6: Think Less, Be More

You can psych yourself in or out of anything, not to mention think a pose to death. Analysis paralysis is the ego’s way of keeping you rooted in your intellect rather than in your spirit. But when you drop your brain, you actually give your body and soul a chance to chine.

Aerodynamically, a bumblebee should not be able to fly. But bumblebees don’t know that, so they just do it. They open their wings and take off, oblivious to the fact that their round little bodies weren’t designed for flight. Wouldn’t it be great if we were all like bumblebees, unaffected by beliefs in our limitations?

Principle 7: We Are the Sum Total of Our Reactions

We don’t really have experiences in life. What we have are reactions to experiences. Things don’t happen to us. Things happen in and of themselves, and what we do is react to them. Built into our hardwiring as humans is the fight-or-flight response, which we needed way back in the cavemen era to keep us safe. But there is a third option, which is neither to fight nor flee, and that is to just stay and breathe. Working your edge teaches you to rise above the stress you feel and move into equanimity. When you do that, you are operating from your centre, from cause rather than effect.

Principle 8: Don’t Try Hard, Try Easy

When you find that you are straining, whether in a yoga pose or in life, you’re probably trying too hard. Your ego is in it, and you are driven by an ambition that ultimately creates imbalance and suffering. That is the point when you should ask yourself: Where am I holding on? Am I holding on to tension, or to my ideal of what I am ‘supposed to’ be doing? Where can I let go more? Where can I struggle less? Where can I just surrender?

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