So very, very scared, but doing it anyway

I quit my job. Thursday is my last day at my nice, benefits-laden job that pays me to write. Yeah, I know, let's not even get into it. It's a career I've had for 10 years, and instead, I'm choosing to teach yoga. It's pretty dang terrifying. You'd think it would be the scariest thing I've done so far in 2011. Wrong-o! I'm frightened off my rocker that I just applied for a 10-day vipassana meditation retreat at the Northwest Vipassana Center. It's unsettling on the financial level (I'm leaving paid vacation behind), but it mostly freaked me out me because I'm afraid of everything on the daily schedule. I've heard from many that meditation retreats are the hardest thing they've ever done. To quote Omar, NO DOUBT. Although it's not like the center makes it sound easy. It states very clearly on the website: 10 days of noble silence; 10 days of 4 a.m. wake up calls; 10 days of me and my head. I'd be crazy not to be afraid. I mean, doesn't this place look threatening?

But it also has become clear that 10 days was the only way. Let's take my New Year's resolution -- made eight days ago -- to meditate daily. I've already skipped two days. I don't have that kind of resistance with yoga. Oops. I spend more time overthinking meditation than doing it. (Clearly.) Unlike with yoga, I haven't had a "eureka" moment with meditation. My yoga moment was a huge shift. I was on retreat with San Francisco teachers Rusty Wells and Janet Stone in 2007 on Isla Mujeres in Mexico; Janet was working our hips like, well, a mo-fo. It was brutal. All of a sudden I felt a curious twinge. By shoulder stand, tears were leaking onto my mat. I straight-up bawled during savasana. Since then, nobody has had to talk me into keeping up my yoga practice. But meditation brings up a whole boatload of crazy-ass resistance. My motto this year is "Scared But Doing It Anyway." I've mostly gotten over the fear of quitting my job, but have not come close to conquering scary, scary meditation. So tonight, I went to the Northwest Center website, filled out the application for a week in March, shuddered and clicked send. And maybe screamed a little bit.


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