Here is a piece of my heart, the story of a journey that has brought me into a deepening relationship with Self.
I spent most of my teens and early twenties limited by my need for control and the fear of loosing that control. I judged, compared, criticized, and reached for perfection. When I found yoga, it woke me up to the beauty that lay within me. It ignited a deep desire to find a true sense of peace within myself. This was my first healing step towards a deepening of self love. I began to explore my body and found places that held deep trauma, pain and suffering. I looked at my mind, thoughts, and beliefs, and questioned how they served my life. The teachings of yoga opened me to the transformational power of my own breath and how I could access new layers of consciousness through meditation and mindfulness. By studying the ancient teachings of yoga I did my best to understand what the sutura’s were expressing regarding following a pathway to liberation. Through these studies I was deeply blinded by avidya, the innocence of our Divine nature. I was ultimately confused and seeking with a real intensity a way through my inner conflicts, restraints, and self-destructive behaviour.
Mostly the path was deeply healing. In hindsight, my early interpretations of the teachings were restricted by my limited life experience. I realized I was using the path to reinforce the already latent patterns. One way I did this was by following a rigorous vegetarian diet that ultimately depleted my iron levels, ferritin reserves, and blood. I cleansed my body in every way I knew possible with the underlying intent to purify and seek truth. But in the process, deepened my false perception that there was something ultimately wrong with me. My friends and family kindly suggested that I relax a little and enjoy the pleasures of life. But I often felt helpless without some level of holding myself in a self-imposed cage of my own insecurities. I withheld from many worldly pleasures out of fear. The more I went along this way, the more I became vata deranged and out of balance.
I began to dance with many ways of feeling safe in my body. This search for safety has been a way to deal with the underlying anxiety that has challenged my daily experience, anxiety that arose from childhood traumas. I reached to others to fill me up, but often was left pushing them away and not getting what I yearned for. My practice was not always healthy but my inner desire to know what loving myself felt like was deeply entrenched in the fibers of my being. I was committed to finding my truth.
I would love to tell you that one day when I was in an intense posture with my foot behind my head doing advanced pranayama that I suddenly woke up. There was a flash of light and I came into contact with my true nature and there I stopped being so hard on myself. But for me it was not like that. It has been a slow and gradual unwinding a process of loving my imperfections. A process of untangling conditioning and belief patterns, that keep me small and feeling insignificant. I began to slowly shine light into the places I was scared to look, the places where I felt alone, small, vulnerable and full of shame.
Over the past few years this untangling has become a daily practice of holding gently what arises rather than pushing it away. I remember when I found the book “When Food is Love: Exploring the Relationship between Food and Intimacy” By Geneen Roth my eyes expanded and my heart opened to see myself and how I was operating in the world with a new lens. Every day it gets easier. Sometimes I go sideways and then backwards but I keep trudging forth. For me there is no other choice. Life is way too glorious to stay stuck in the muddy and dark places. It keeps getting better, easier and more expansive with each time I breath, notice, reflect, sit, witness, cherish, love, and embrace myself for who I am. My beloved teachers, guides and support networks along the way have been such radiant sources of love and inspiration.
Remember how beautiful you are and keep shining. Keep seeking the light. It will find you and fill you so full of love. In the words of Brene Brown, “ You are imperfect and hard wired for struggle but worthy of love and belonging…vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage, truth and courage are not always comfortable but they are never weakness.”
Trust your unique process to lead you home to the center of your soul. You are loved and you are not alone!