Reflection #5

In a rainy holiday day, sitting quietly, “thinking” or “reflecting”…(what a dangerous combination!😊) As I “reflect” as usual, it is hard to pin-point a single thought. I feel the excruciating pain of expectations! I am, and have committed myself to share my (inspiring?!) thoughts, based on my experiences – which is all I have. And fear starts creeping in, the “what ifs” of my world. What if people judge me (which isn’t it the point anyway – provoking thought?). What if someone thinks this is “yoga law”, or a “new” philosophy, or a religion, or confuse the message with the messenger…plus all the fear based etceteras! I feel the insecurities, the uncertainty, the instability of all! There is something called the “impostor” syndrome, where one starts doubting his/her accomplishments – self-doubt. I hear this very loudly in my head – oh the voices! 

I read this newsletter about a person who works independently. He describes the struggle of the shift from a “normal” work environment to an independent world. In a non-structured environment, it is about (re)assessing our own basic needs, especially around stability. How much do I need? What is more important in my life? The price and balance of a 9 to 5 job versus my personal time? How do I create best, under someone else’s requirements, or at my own timing? Should I wait until I retire to live the way “I want to” live? Very personal and challenging questions for me. 

What does this all have to do with yoga and spirituality? It is my experience when I practice yoga, I recognize that discomfort. Do I get to choose to do as much as I need to do? What does “less is more” mean? Do I choose to engage as much as I need to engage today? Why am I doing this? Many times it brings me to stop on my tracks. Step back. This allows me to give myself permission to experiment, and then experience.  

In my professional work with trauma, especially in professional settings the burnout, the empathy and compassion fatigue is real. We succumb to the expectations, and then we are frozen. I always bring it to the why I am doing this. In my spiritual world, I also can create my relationship with “it”.  Many times, this reminds me of who I am, and my ultimate purpose. It also reminds me this is a process, not an immediate goal; and that healing is messy. And I always have a choice, an open choice, a loving choice, not mandated, or obligatory. If I remember my why, then the question becomes, is this good for me, my spiritual life, the life of my spirit. I am then able to surrender. 

When I was a kid (and my childhood is a blur regarding chronology, names, etc.), I remember going to a retreat over the weekend with my school mates. Most of what I remember was a verse of the bible (please do not ask me to quote, remember? Blur!). What I was left with is (paraphrasing here!) that we all have a lamp in our souls that may dim. This lamp’s light dims with the experiences, demands, expectations, and all the afflictions of our world. How do I make this light brighter? The light is spiritual life for me. As hard as that may be, I look at what I am doing, and how these actions are keeping my light from losing its strength. Just listening, intently. How kind am I being to myself, really. Is it ok to slow down? Is it ok to make a mistake? Is it ok to not meet others’ expectations? Is it ok for me to apologize? Is it ok for me to forgive? For some, this may be a very easy process, for some of us, it is not, and needs constant monitoring, daily practice. 

This is why I need reminders, placers to check in, relying in loved ones; moments of meditation and silence. Yoga has been very helpful for me mostly all my life. It is a tool to process the ingrained tensions absorbed from the environment. It is also a great way to move, feel healthy physically, and all the other secondary (for me) consequences of the practice. Moving through it all; letting “it” not dim my flame. By becoming truer to myself, I am able to allow truthfulness around me. By becoming more loving to myself, different than selfish, I can then allow love to thrive around me. Simple, not easy. 

As Brené Brown in her research on vulnerability says, it is through that vulnerability that I find my strength. It is to allow room for others to also be vulnerable, and thus strong. I remember I am not making anyone anything; not possible. I am simply remembering who I forget to be. I think I am my body, my job, my belongings, or titles; when in fact, I am that flame. That flame is a drop of the Love waiting for us back.