“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Elizabeth Appell
Have you heard the saying, “No mud, no lotus.” In order for the beautiful Lotus flower to blossom, it must first emerge from the depths of the murky mud and darkness. The journey BEGINS when the lotus searches for the light above. Does the lotus know what a beautiful flower it will become? It just knows that it has a longing, and that longing sends it seeking from out of the depths and emptiness, so that it can reach the surface to the light above. Once it surfaces, it finds warmth, freedom, nurturing air and light. It goes from being in its tight, once thought of safe little bud and it begins to blossom into all its true beauty!
How many of us are really living as our true authentic selves? I wasn’t for many years. Moving faster and faster to stay ahead of life. It eventually caught up to me. Even when life showed up in the form of panic attacks every time I’d drive on the interstate, I was still trying to ignore it. I turned up the music louder, sang more, drove a little faster, cracked a window, until I had to call my husband to talk me through until I made the way to slower roads where I felt safe. At first I ignored this as a fluke, then it continued. I knew something was going on in me but I wasn’t sure what it could be. None of us want to live in these places of unknowing, pain or past trauma, but in order to heal them it’s necessary to revisit them, give them the attention they deserve, nurture and heal that part of us so that we can move on. Without my knowing and without my permission, my yoga practice was allowing life to catch up to me.
I spent many years in the murky darkness, dealing with pain and a broken heart. Somewhere deep down I knew it, but I was so busy, keeping busy, I really didn’t know or want to know what it was. I was always trying to move ahead, on to something new, shop for clothes, a car or home and I would numb out what I was feeling and ignore it all.
My time spent in the “mud”, ignoring what my heart really needed was costly. When I was 20 I had a terribly painful case of Shingles on the left side of my face. By the time I was in my mid-late 30’s I had terrible stomach pain almost daily and I eventually ended up with Bells Palsy on the right side of my face and the panic attacks started in my late 30’s. Each of these circumstances came at a time in life where I thought I had made it through stressful events and everything was just fine. I worked very hard to make everything look pretty and perfect…on the outside. As it turns out, life will catch up to us…you can only stay ahead of it or make it look pretty for so long. Eventually its a race we get tired of.
What’s the first step to live more AUTHENTICALLY and heal yourself? When you finally PAUSE and gain just enough COURAGE to ASK yourself what is it that’s going on within ME? We have to stop looking outward and blaming everything around us. Once you understand that, you’ve already dug deep into your Courage and started a path to healing. You don’t have to know what the next step looks like, allow your willingness to show up and be seen and heard to lead you one step at a time. When you do that, the people that can help guide you on your path out of the darkness and into healing light will unexpectedly show up for you.
One of the stepping stones to healing, can be a yoga practice. Yoga for me, is the only activity that I’ve discovered that brings us up against..OURSELVES. All that you are and have been, shows up on your mat. Through the movement and breath work, all of those pieces of ourselves show up. All of the past joys, love, pain, trauma, our past that was never given the attention it needs, shows up. We try to ignore it, shake our head at it and keep pushing through our yoga practice and life off the mat. But our true self is patient, resilient, relentless and won’t give up on us!
Yoga brings us back to ourselves, our true self. Maybe that scares you a little? But how can you truly begin to LIVE and LOVE WHOLEHEARTEDLY in your life, if you continue to run from the wonders of yourself that are trying to catch up to you. All parts of ourselves come out in our yoga practice and we can no longer deny them.
IMAGINE THIS.. a beautiful picture of yourself that has been made into a jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle is put together, but some pieces are missing leaving empty holes, some have been forced into spaces they don’t belong to complete the picture; therefore these pieces are marred, bent and a little scarred. The image is distorted from what the picture is really supposed to be. It’s incomplete, it’s not a true representation of the beautiful YOU that you are!
How do you want the true you to look on the inside? In order to put the puzzle together, pieces will need moved around and placed where they belong. To do that, you have to undo some pieces, place them to the side and then work with each one individually. Enter the unexpected! Friends, yoga buddies, teachers, new friends…I call them my TRIBE…they all show up for you! They offer support, guidance, compassion; they sit with you in the murkiness and hold onto you until you are ready to take the next step on your own.
You begin to nurture and heal each puzzle piece individually until it’s ready to be placed from where it was missing. Slowly the puzzle and picture of YOU comes back together. It might be a little tattered, there’s some pieces that are bent, the corners are turned up a little, some of the colors have faded, but when the puzzle all comes together it gets to be everything it was meant to be…YOU! YOU in all your beauty, like the lotus flower that emerged out of the mud to blossom into your most AUTHENTIC YOU! Then you get the opportunity to step back and soak up all the beautiful pieces that are YOU! You are beautiful, imperfect, vulnerable, courageous, loving, authentic, strong, wonderful, YOU!!!
Deep down our souls are calling for us to live fully from a place of Love and Belonging. It’s what we are called to do. Find a yoga class today and BEGIN. Be willing to show up with all your puzzle pieces and give yourself time to just BE with yourself. We have to start by looking at all the pieces before we can start to put the picture together. Take your time, be kind, gentle and patient with yourself. Do the work when you can, sit and just be when you need to and then return to work on the next piece. The beautiful picture of you has already started to emerge and come together because you chose to BEGIN.
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” – Rumi