My nickname at home is Patty Pioneer. For my 50th birthday my beloved David treated
me to the one present I really and truly wanted — a chainsaw. That was almost two
years ago, and until just a few weeks ago I hadn’t had the nerve to even turn it
on. Still sitting in its cardboard box in the basement, it seemed to taunt me every
time I saw it, calling me, “Scaredy Cat…Wuss…Girl!”
I’ve had a fear of power tools since high school, when I was forced to take Shop
class and build a jewelry box. I believe I managed to convince the teacher to handle
the electric tools for me then, and I successfully avoided them for the most part
over the next 35 years. Even so, I longed to overcome my fear and step into the
fullness of my nickname. (I live in the woods; trees fall down on a regular basis.
I was tired of ‘calling in the guys’ every time there was a storm.)
So, a few weeks ago, I pulled out the electric chainsaw (by Greenworks,
very cool and much lighter!), sat down and read the manual almost cover to cover
twice. I envisioned myself holding the saw. I rehearsed my stance. I gathered the
(almost) proper clothing (very glamorous). I practiced dirgha breath as I turned
on the saw, activated my core, lengthened through the spine, and focused solely
on the present moment as I made my first cut.
It was glorious! So satisfying, that I cut up three more fallen trees and taught
myself to clean the saw and adjust the chain!
Again and again, I am thrilled at those moments when I am able to move through my
fear and on to the other side of it. Always there is a rush of joy, freedom, gratitude.
(I’m reminded of the jump I took from an airplane last year at this time — forever
a highlight of my life.)
I encourage you to ask yourself today, What am I not doing that I long to do? How
might I take even a small step in that direction? How do I prepare myself appropriately
to live into that possible reality?
Yoga teaches us to do this skillfully. To breathe, to be with physical and emotional
discomfort, to mindfully and carefully crawl, step or leap into the unknown — whether
that be the unknown outer world or our vast inner landscape. And for that I am eternally
Many blessings to you and yours, and today may we not let the things that scare
us stop us!