The first time I taught meditation was on my teacher-training course and fuck me was I uncomfortable. I was not in my comfort zone.
There was a group of about 12 of us and we were taking it in turns to lead a session. At some point I was going to have to put my hand up and give it a go.
I could feel myself vibrating I was so nervous.
And after the first person went I stuck my hand up to take my first meditation class.
I did not enjoy the experience.
STEPPING OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE TOO EARLY
As I started leading the group through a guided meditation I could feel myself fighting with the nerves. It was like I was constantly trying to run away from them.
And as we moved into the group discussion after the meditation I was all over the place. My voice was shaky and the way I approached the whole session was rushed and panicky.
I was not comfortable in the discomfort at all.
I had pushed through my fear too early.
WHEN TO PUSH THROUGH FEAR
It’s important to push through your fears because by stepping out of your comfort zone, you can step into the challenge zone which is where growth and learning can happen.
But it’s not about saying fuck it every time you feel fear.
It’s about being discerning about when you choose to push through that feeling of fear.
ENTERING THE PANIC ZONE
Choosing to lead the meditation session in that moment was not the right time for me to push through my fear because my emotions were too high.
I was too nervous, so I lead my session with a nervous energy.
And when I reflect on that experience, I came to realize that what I was doing was to run away from the nerves, the anxiety and the fear.
So rather than entering the challenge zone so I could grow.
I entered the panic zone.
And the panic zone is when the challenge or obstacle you’re facing is too much for you to handle in that moment.
So you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed, which is going to have the opposite affect of you growing by overcoming your fear, because you might fall apart under the pressure you’ve put yourself under.
And now, that fear you were trying to overcome has been made worse because you’ve just added another layer to it.
NO GROWTH BUT A LESSON LEARNED
I was far too overwhelmed when I lead the class, so the growth I was looking for in that moment didn’t happen. My mind and body were too chaotic and the experience felt like a blur.
But what I did get from the experience was the opportunity to learn a lesson about when to take on fear and when not to and the lesson was that it’s wise to take a moment to breathe before you step into your fear.
To notice the fear you’re feeling. To acknowledge it. To accept it and not just say ‘fuck you fear ‘ and dive head first into facing it.
TAKING A MOMENT TO PAUSE
What would have been a better approach would have been to sit with my nerves for a few more minutes.
To take a moment and pause.
To take a deep breath before acting with courage to push through my fear.
And that moment you take before moving through your fear doesn’t necessarily have to be a breath or a few minutes.
It might take a few days or a few weeks for you to steady yourself before you’re ready to take that step and move through your fear.
There’s nothing wrong with that because overcoming fear is a step many of us never take.
So whether it’s a few breaths or a few weeks before you take that step, ultimately you’ll be taking a step out of your comfort zone and into the challenge zone.
FROM COMFORT ZONE TO CHALLENGE ZONE
So if you’re facing a fear right now, don’t be afraid to admit it to yourself or admit to other people.
It’s OK to experience fear, we all do at some point in our lives.
Just the simple act of being open about the fear you’re feeling can reduce its hold over you.
The next step is to take a moment and become aware of your fear.
To notice what thoughts and feelings you’re having about it and then steady yourself, whether that’s a few breaths or a few weeks.
So rather than being stressed and overwhelmed when attempting to overcome your fear, you’re able to be comfortable with the discomfort.
So you move out of your comfort zone and into the challenge zone.
So you can learn.
So you can grow.