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Doing the Scary Thing

I recently attended the 2024 NAPO Summit in Long Beach, CA. NAPO are my people - my professional organization: National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. It was a fabulous conference (my third time attending), and I equally love the learning and the connecting. Again, these are my PEOPLE. They love organizing, they love systems, and they love each other! This year, however, I added a responsibility to my schedule: leading the two morning wellness sessions.

It came about through a few conversations with key people, and all of a sudden, I was in charge! I had the freedom to pick what we would do for the sessions, just that they focused on wellness. Since the summit was a 7-minute walk to the beach, I decided one morning would be a walk to, and then on, the beach! For the second session, I had the thought of doing a yoga and/or meditation session, but I've never taught one before, only been a student for 20+ years. After hours and hours of online searching, YouTube watching, worksheet filling out, and brainstorming, I came up with a simple flow and practiced it so I would have it memorized.

Anxiety loves knowledge and information; it helps to calm the questions and the "what if?" thoughts. When I arrived at the hotel, I asked the security guard for access to the room we would be doing yoga in. I walked around, sensing the space and thinking where I would be in relation to the students, how their mats could be laid, and any acoustic or noise issues. I asked my contact what kind of mats we would be using and determined the comfort level of the mat + carpet in the room for floor work. I reviewed my notes for the class. But I still was anxious!

The first morning, it was 45 degrees and rainy outside, but yet about 15 women showed up for the walk on the beach! We checked out umbrellas from the front desk and paired up, chatting as we walked in the rain side by side under the umbrellas. It was fabulous! I was so distracted by the conversation to notice I was cold and wet!

The second morning was the yoga class. Even though I had done all I could to answer questions in my head, I couldn't do anything more but wait. Sometimes you just have to do it. You just have to show up and do it. And that's what I did.

The good thing about yoga is that there is a bent towards relaxation and breathing, both of which are excellent when you're nervous. So, as I began the class and led it, glancing through my notes and stopping to demonstrate, I was reminding my body to calm and do what I know. Sometimes you just have to put it out there - and see what comes back. I was surprised how quickly the class went and how much joy I had in teaching it. Afterwards, one participant asked me if I taught part time (in addition to organizing). Another asked where I did my yoga teacher training. Giggle giggle. No and no! That was fun!

And then, as participants were gathering their things, one caught my eye. As I approached, she said, wiping back tears, "I didn't know I was carrying that much stress." Wow. I know we store emotions and stress in our body, which is why joyful movement is so good for us, but I wasn't expecting to create an environment where it could happen! I was so humbled and grateful to be a part of such a beautiful gift to my organizing friends.

So now that I've done the scary thing, I'm better for it. And I'm so glad I get to do things that scare me, that make me use my resources, and force me to grow in ways I wouldn't normally choose. I have a sense that this is a gateway into a new area of my life - whether it's joining a yoga teacher training or exploring how to teach what I know and have experienced about my body and wellness. And I wouldn't have even thought that possible until I said YES to something scary. The scary gave way to the joy, and now I'll never be the same.

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