I have been sifting through old journals, written yoga classes, pictures and memories in the back of my mind, in the hope of finding the perfect piece to post here as my first blog. Sharing some of my story through written word has been one of my highest intentions, and it has felt amazing to channel all this positive action and energy into its development. At the same time, the experience has also provided me with quite a bit of unexpected shadow work, work that helps bring some of my deeply hidden or denied judgments, secrets, insecurities, patterns and thoughts into the light for observation and maybe a little healing. I want to share them here with you as part of your healing too.
As I sat in front of my computer I began to feel completely stuck. Even writing my own bio seemed difficult! I found myself judging my experiences as boring or even shameful. I harshly criticized the words I used to explain my feelings. Every picture seemed to have a flaw that made it unsuitable to integrate. It was as if I had handed my victimizer a step stool and microphone so that it could voice its hurtful opinion about everything I am with more force and conviction.
With hunched shoulders I stared at my computer and found myself face to face with a sense of worthlessness…a worthlessness that I know has been lying deep inside me since I was a little girl. The feeling hit me in my stomach, and I could feel my neck begin to tighten as I forced the tears back down my throat. The issues have buried themselves deep within my tissues, and like boiling water, they started bubbling to the surface as I attempted to connect with myself and piece together my story and my heart’s mission.
This is not the first time I have been faced with this part of myself. I believe that everything comes in cycles, and in the last 20 years this little bit has risen and fallen with the natural ebbs and flows of my life. Like waves. I have come to understand, though, that - while this seems so ugly- there is actually something really beautiful about mindfully sitting in these feelings and sensations. It’s like swimming into a breaking wave. It’s scary and unpredictable. You don’t know if the wave will knock you down, and take the air out of you; but if you take a leap of faith, and lean toward the incoming wave, you wait…it is dark for a moment. But when you hold that breath deep in the belly and allow the whitewater to pass over you, you come up and find that revitalizing breath again. I often find this when I am alone with my feelings….afraid to lean into the dark for bits at a time and acknowledge these parts of myself…afraid I will get knocked down and my air taken away. But if I lean in, let go and let the feelings pass over me there is a gift of genuine connectedness and true compassion.
Years ago I had no clue how to handle the thoughts, the feelings, memories and emotions that would swell up inside me. So with a smile on my face, I would stuff all of the anxiety and fear deep inside and float away from my body to make sure I felt nothing; or, I would fight back – swim against the tide - with all I had to the point of exhaustion. Now, because of my yoga practice, I have the knowledge, the tools and the internal motivation to lean in…to turn into the dark when I need to, with the knowledge and peace that I will surface again, turning into the light and taking in the beauty of my true self. To surface with a deeper and truer understanding of who I am. I now know that the opposite of feeling defeated is not winning but it is surrendering. I can’t control what others think in an attempt to protect my heart. I have to let go and surrender to my heart’s highest intention, and trust that those who resonate with me will show up when I need them.
So I sat there and allowed myself to feel all of it. I actually sat there for quite some time, letting it all wash over me. It is so easy to become pulled back into old cycles. It is why I come to my mat time and time again to practice dropping the judgement and meeting myself where I am.
I found my breath and began to calm my body and mind. I sat back into child’s pose because there has always been something about this posture that reminds me ‘I am enough’. I opened my heart and connected with gratitude. What an incredible gift it is to know that all of this would pass…that the moment was present so that once again I could let that little girl inside let go of even a small portion of the burden she has carried for so long. The tears finally moved out of my throat and out of my eyes. Washing over me. Cleansing me. And I could breathe again.
Sitting with myself I began to realize that whatever I choose to share is perfect because the intention is greater than the process. So with every little bit I share, I am practicing ‘expressing without judgment’. Moving the energy around and sinking into my own unique flow. Each post will be a declaration of the love that I have found for myself. My whole self - the light and the dark. Diving under and surfacing again.
Light and Love,