Not long after I woke up, the ball of anxiety started forming in my stomach. I was restless and stressed out. My kids needed cheques for school fees, and it was just another reminder that the money is not flowing into that account as quickly as it needs to be to cover the school fees, the soccer fees, the grocery bills – you name it.

Of course, the money stress started the gremlins dancing. “Self-employment? Pfft! You thought you could make money at this, but why is it just trickling in so far? You’re not a business person. You’re just busy doing a bunch of writing stuff that’s not going to make you any money, and meeting with a bunch of people dreaming up big ideas that will probably mostly fall flat. You need a job.”

And then the ultimate gremlin assault. “You are worthless. Your daughters need a better mother.” Oh yeah, I went there – in a very short trip from writing a cheque to dumping all over myself.

I needed a run. Badly. I needed to pump my legs, to feel the pavement beneath me, to feel my heart begin to race, to sweat out all of those ugly gremlins. It wasn’t the meditation I needed this time around, it was the punishment.

“But we need a break today,” my aching knees whispered. “You’re pushing a little too hard. Keep this up and we’ll fail on you.”

“I don’t CARE if you need a break. Breaks are for sissies. The pain will make the punishment feel that much more gratifying. I need to SUFFER this morning.”

I argued back and forth, but in the end, it was the fear of not being able to do anything for weeks – maybe months – on end while my knees repaired themselves that convinced me today wasn’t a day for running.

I pulled out my yoga mat, feeling resentful and unsettled. Yoga doesn’t come easily for me. I’m usually glad I did it after the fact, but I have a hard time convincing myself it’s worth it. It feels too slow, too pedantic – especially when I’m as restless as I was this morning. And yet, something told me that yoga was where I needed to go.

Sure enough, halfway through my hour-long yoga dvd, something clicked and I knew that the mat was where I needed to be. More than the punishment of running pain, I needed the quietness of yoga to calm my mind, make space for Spirit, and put me back on track for the day.

It was in the middle of the warrior pose that I had an a-ha moment. “I’m not breathing. I’m stopping my breath at the end of an inhale – almost as though I want to deny my body the opportunity to exhale. Almost as though I want to hang onto the old breath and not make space for the new.”

It was a revelation for me. It’s not just breath I’m hanging onto. It’s old stories, old gremlins, old limitations. It’s the old idea that I don’t have a business brain, therefore I’ll always end up spinning my wheels and never making any money. The old thought that my writing is just a hobby and not worth spending time on when there are important things to do like making money. It’s so much old baggage around what makes me worthy and what makes me a failure.

It’s time to let that go. It’s time to exhale.

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