Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone or The Importance of Getting Over Yourself

Last Friday I got pretty serious (for me that is) & opened up about issues I have within myself I desperately want to fix overcome (read it here.)  I struggle with comparing myself to others.  I don't  feel worse about myself or become jealous of those who have more than me because I know my life is pretty fucking great & in general, I like myself (Jew nose aside.) Comparing myself results in avoiding situations that will make me look weak.

One of my major obstacles is working out with friends.  I've taken many yoga classes, spinning classes, I even went to a tap aerobics class last year. I tend to prefer working out alone because if I need to slow down or go into child's pose, nobody I know is actively judging me.  When I don't feel 100% confident in my abilities, I feel safer doing said activities alone.

One of my closest friends has been trying to get me to take yoga classes with her & I've always managed to come up with legit excuses to get out of joining her.  We don't live near each other & with LA traffic, that is an actual reason to not get together during the week. About a month or so ago, she mentioned this "yoga thing" that was happening once a month, taught by a yogi who she really liked.  The night of the first "yoga thing", I actually had prior plans.  AMEN.  A legit excuse that didn't involve lying.  I "regretfully" declined but told my friend to DEFINITELY count me in for next month.  Truthfully, I put the commitment in the back of my mind & totally forgot about it.  Then March hits & BAM, she sends me a link to buy my tickets for the March yoga session thing.  Oh. Shit. She's serious.  The excuses started flowing thru my brain on how I was going to get out of this.  Honestly, I didn't even fully understand what it was. I read & re-read the invite to see if I could gather just how rough this was going to be. It was called #ShineTribe: The Sessions. WHAT does that mean? All I could decipher was it was an hour of yoga, there was limited space & I needed to bring a journal.  There was some talk about community & building a tribe...I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.   I was really hesitant to buy my ticket & commit, but even more so I  didn't want to disappoint my friend by bailing.  So I reluctantly & skeptically bought my ticket. 

Let me tell you, I am an IDIOT for even considering not going. This was one of the most uplifting & positive experiences I've ever been a part of.  #ShineTribe was started by two beautiful souls, Jocelyn & Laura who were yearning to create a tight-knit community of women of all different ages & backgrounds; a "tribe" if you will in LA.  Women you can lean on when in need. Women who won't judge you when you're at your best or worst. Women who will help you grow.  Women who will celebrate you.  Women who won't laugh at you when you need to go into child pose because you feel like you're about to die.  Women who will accept you as you are, no questions asked.

Photographer (& founder) Laura happened to snap this pic while I was introducing myself.
Initially, we spent time meeting each other & sharing what we hoped to get out of the evening & possible future gatherings.  I've never been a total girls girl or tomboy. I've always had a mix of male & female friends, but at different points in my life I have always had what I consider to be a really strong "tribe" of women around me.  I grew up spending my summers at an all girls camp, I joined a sorority in college & when I moved to Chicago, I had a really supportive group of girlfriends there thanks to camp & the sorority.  But when I moved to LA, I knew one other woman (thanks to a camp friend).  I didn't & still don't have a big group of girls to surround myself with here.  LA can be such a tough place to live, but it can also be absolutely incredible as I experienced last Friday.  Is it bad that I don't have a big group of women to surround myself with? No, not necessarily.  But after spending an evening talking about it, I realized how powerful it can be to have a solid group of women supporting you.

After the introductions were complete, we transitioned into an hour of yoga, which was way more intense than I was anticipating. The nerves set in because my girls were about to see just how inflexible I really am. While in my first downward dog, I glanced over at my friend  & noticed how she was so focused on herself, she was paying ZERO attention to me. My nerves instantly just melted away. I was able to continue on for the next hour completely unaware of how I looked or what my friends were even thinking. Btw, I don't think my friends are judgmental assholes. These are ALL my own issues.

After yoga, we spent time setting intentions,  journaling & sharing intimate moments with each other. I found myself opening up to complete strangers; something I never do.  I don't want to give too much more away of what else transpired that evening,  but I can tell you those two hours completely changed me.  The women I met were incredible & if I hadn't gotten the F over myself, I never would have had a chance to meet them.  In just 2 hours, I got over my fear of doing things that I'm not an expert at in front of my friends & it's OK if they're better than me. WHO CARES.  So please, learn from my mistakes. Don't be afraid to go somewhere or try something new because you fear you'll look dumb.   I learned so much about myself that night & while I've only been to one #ShineTribe session, I know there will be a lot more in my future & I can't wait.

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