“Get Clear I thought to myself.” I was about to teach my first wilderness yoga retreat of the year, third one ever. Being a sensitive individual, as most yogis are, I knew I wasn’t clear. I could feel my procrastination habits clicking in. I was being extra efficient and crossing lots of insignificant things off my list to avoid feeling ineffective. But the fact of the matter was I nervous. My nervous energy was presenting as excitement, fear, heaviness and restlessness. This heightened emotional state wasn’t the the high vibration of clarity that I was preparing to teach. My inner voice was screaming, “How can you possibly teach a retreat on clarity without being clear?” I knew I needed to do something. This problem required a serious action.
Instead of putting my head down and pushing forward, I did the opposite. I cleared my schedule, packed my gear and took off on an adventure. But this wasn’t any adventure, this was a class V whitewater river expedition into the heart of Idaho’s wilderness. You don’t take off down the South Fork of the Salmon River if you aren’t clear, the risk is way to high. This section of river has strong water, steep waves and stout hydraulic holes. As we drove to the put in, my illogical fears about the clarity retreat began to dissolve and very real fears of survival took their place.
At our first class V rapid, which was a mandatory scout, we gazed at the complex patterns of rushing water with anticipation. Anticipation to be below the rapid, anticipation to see if we would grease our lines and anticipation to know if the river was going to let us pass. After a few moments in silence, we picked our route and took off.
My partner, Jon, lead the way and I watched him make the first critical move. As I fell in behind him, I was off angle. I missed the move and crashed over the massive hole I was trying to miss. I kept my gaze downriver and was lucky to push through. The rest of the ride was wild but I stayed focused and before long I was below the rapid! The anticipation subsided and one thing was clear. I was exactly where I needed to be.
That night in my tent I reflected on the adventures of the day and the events leading in the trip. I couldn’t believe I had almost lost myself to the emotional pressure of my upcoming yoga retreat. I was so grateful I choose to remove myself from all distractions and connect to my clarity within. I realized that getting clear does not always correlate with doing more. We don’t have to have everything crossed off our to do list and we don’t need to become more efficient. In fact we often times need to do the opposite. We need to clear our schedules and unplug from our devices. We need to create space to face our subconscious fears and focus on what is important. When we do this, clarity not only washes over us, it expands from within us and radiates out of every fiber of our being.