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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Wild and Precious Life

May 29, 2019 02:00AM
by Mandy Roberts

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? — Mary Oliver

This question, from one of Mary Oliver’s iconic poems, can be terrifying. I spent many years afraid of truly going after what I wanted in life. Looking back, I see I was afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of rejection and, in hindsight, I see I was secretly afraid of success too. That fear had kept me “safe” for years, yet was I really living my most inspired and aligned life?

It took years of digging deep and uncovering all sorts of old stories to explore what my fear was about and where it came from; I’m not sure I’ll ever be done digging. I’ve realized that I am the only one who can change my life. I am the only one who can live my most wild and precious life. It is up to me. No one can do it for me. How liberating, yet truly terrifying, that realization is.

As a yoga lover, I see the handstand pose has been transformational for me in how my practice on the mat blends into life. I’ve toyed with the pose off and on for years. I have gingerly tested it, but I have not truly dedicated myself to it for an extended period of time. Can you hear my fear even here?

To me, my relationship to handstand is no different than any other challenging relationship: You have to put a lot of effort into it to see results. Maybe I don’t believe I can actually do it. Maybe I fear that I’ll put in the time and effort, but I’ll still fail. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe it’s a fear of success that has held me back. Am I talking about a pose or my life? Really, it’s all the same.

After all, once I land a solid and consistent handstand, I’ll need to learn an even more challenging pose to keep growing my physical practice. It’s pretty scary, but I signed up for it. This is what yoga is all about—stretching ourselves in every way we can.

Lately, I’ve been examining and questioning my mindset. I’ve been fearless in this pursuit, so I have been dedicating time every day to explore this daunting pose, even if I don’t feel up to it. My passion doesn’t come so much from a desire to land handstand as from a determination to not let my fears hold me back from anything I desire. And funny enough, in a yoga-is-a-reflection-of-life kind of way, the effort is coinciding with some deep emotional shadow work that I’ve been diving into lately.

I have no doubt that facing my fears in one arena affects everything I do. Though I still struggle with my fears physically and emotionally, I’m learning to trust myself and my foundation of support. I’m learning that the desire to live my best life far outweighs the fear of getting to the end of my life wishing that I had made other choices. You know, even though I may fail, I think I’m finally ready to live my most wild and precious life yet. I’m all in.

Mandy Roberts is the owner of FORM {yoga} in Decatur and co-director and senior retreat leader with Soul Nourish Retreats. For more information, visit

Have a personal story of awakening to share? Let us know! Contact [email protected].

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