Updated: Feb 13, 2020
There has been a huge convergence of issues these past few weeks and they’ve come together to form a personal big bang for me and like that, something amazing has been created. I’ve been kind of mesmerized lately at the issues in my life that have been slowly popping up to the surface. This has happened before but this time it’s been gentler with less need to sit on the kitchen floor eating a pint of vegan ice cream. Since I started diving deeper into my yoga practice, I have become more and more aware of my bullshit and some of it had been really uncomfortable to look at. I looked at my past self with judgement, pity, disgust and embarrassment. I’m learning to be kinder to myself.
Back story…always a back story. I was the youngest of three girls. I grew up feeling like the ugly duckling. I wasn’t as pretty or as smart as my sisters. I didn’t have as many friends, I developed early and “too” much, I had red hair, freckles and I was a vegetarian. I felt like such a misfit and that stuck with me through my teens, 20’s, 30’s and even my 40’s. I looked for a sense of purpose outside myself. I went from bad relationship to bad relationship trying to make things fit that never could have. I took every insecurity into every new relationship and I packed it all up and took it all with me every time I moved. While my issues weren’t very deep below the surface, I did not know how to deal with them so mostly I just looked away, justified them, and I put down what others had, trying to convince myself that it’s not what I wanted. I turned my envy into disgust. When I watched others get something I wanted or get recognized and praised for something I was doing also but getting overlooked it only deepened my mental scars; unlovable, stupid, ugly, worthless. While that was going on inside my mind, the darkest corners I wouldn’t acknowledge, were seething with jealously but outwardly my body stood tall acting like it didn’t bother me. Of course, you can’t lie to yourself because some where you know the truth. But I couldn’t admit to myself that I was hurting, and that I was vulnerable.
The past few years I’ve spent much more time reading yogic text and philosophies and in training's for both mind and body. There is so much to learn, and I’ve been trying to keep myself grounded and learn at a pace that I can sustain and retain the information to pass along to my students. I’ve slowly let go of some of the ego and admitted what I am and am not capable of doing, at least right now. Humbling lesson! As I’ve come to be honest and true to myself things have become easier. I was treading water for so long I forgot that I could float. The more honest I am with myself the easier everything is. That sounds so ridiculously easy, but it wasn’t for me. I’ve found that each time I acknowledge a truth I can unpack it and move forward. I literally feel lighter. The tension in my shoulders, my back and my hips are melting away, like they don’t need to remain flexed to carry this burden and I feel my physical body relax. The more my mind is at peace, the more my body is at peace, and the more my body is at peace the more my mind is at peace. They feed each other and it’s either crap you shouldn’t be ingesting or it’s something that nourishes you. As all these subtle shifts are happening, I am listening with an honest heart to where I’m being drawn. I have been surrounding myself more and more with people I admire, people who I can learn from and people who keep my mind active on things that matter. I start every day walking the dogs, drinking coffee and studying ancient Indian texts. I practice yoga, I meditate, I chant and play the harmonium, I show gratitude. I take care of my body, my mind and my soul, three very different things with very different needs. I have become more vigilant of my emotions and try to lessen the automatic reactions to things I find unpleasant. The more I let go of the untruths the easier everything is becoming, and I find myself floating in directions I didn’t expect.
I began my advanced yoga teacher training in September, but it took me a while to get to the point I could commit to it. Once I shut up long enough to listen and let go of some of those old toxic ideas, I jumped in. I have such an appetite for learning now that I did not have when I was younger. During one of our training's we had a guest speaker, Kaustubha Das come from the Bhakti center in NYC. Everything he said spoke to me in a way nothing had before. I could not get enough of what he was saying. I remember thinking, this is what I’ve been looking for and he’s going to leave and then what do I do? I felt like I had to absorb as much as I could. Thankfully he and his friend Raghunath are co-hosts of a daily yoga podcast, Wisdom of the sages. Every morning since at 5:30 or 7:30 depending if they’re in the US or India we join online for a live study of the Bhagavatam. This is how I start every day. Every day I feed my soul. Every day I become calmer, I let go of shit that doesn’t serve me and never has. Everyday life becomes easier.
Back to my big week. I’ve had several people recently comment on their perception of me decades ago and while it is all very sweet, I know those times to be some of the unhappiest of my life. On the outside I seemed happy and, in some ways I was, but inside I was crippled with insecurities. Did I ever let anyone know me? It’s given me a lot to think about lately. Then a few other things have come up, people annoying me, so yogic of me, right? Why suddenly was I bothered by certain people? I believe things you don’t like in someone are sometimes a reflection of things you don’t like in yourself, so I always look at that and yes, it’s been true on some occasions but on the others not. But I did discover jealousy (YUCK), insecurities and a fair amount of envy. Turns out I’m annoyed at people because they have what I don’t! Silly reason, right? I’m annoyed not so much at the person but at the feeling that I have inside that that person(s) is showing me or bringing up to the surface in me. If anything, I should be thankful that they are showing me something because it’s only when we see a problem that we can fix it. I’m the type of person that likes to understand how things work and why things are the way they are. Once I realized what my issue was, I was able to let it go. Then came a bit of wisdom from my morning study. What if I’m a ladder? What if my purpose isn’t to transcend to some higher spiritual plane but to help others get there?! As a passionate animal lover and vegan, I love to help others transition to a plant-based life. If I can help someone cook differently and they go on to become famous vegan cookbook authors in turn helping more people should I be angry at that? NO! This has taken me a lifetime to understand and now it finally makes sense to me. I’m finally able to look at someone’s success and be happy and feel happy! I am a ladder!
It is this flow I have been in lately that brings both problems and solutions together. As I was able to see my issues and begin to let them go, I was given a way to look at them that helped me even further. This is how I am living lately. Every issue I have seems to pull me into the direction of a solution and again it’s because I am living in a way that supports the life I want. I am listening and looking honestly. Outwardly I may seem no different but inside I am at ease! Letting go of control I'm floating back to where I need to be.
In the words of Ram Dass, we're all just walking each other home. Let me know if you need a ladder.