The day is grey and windy but I hurry across the street, large coffee in one hand and pulling a small suitcase with the other. Filled with excitement and anticipation, I’m going to Art class! Finding this art class saved my sanity. This is the reason why I say Creativity and Fun are Important for the future
I’d been a year in the neighborhood for a year and as a single mom with young kids, it was a lonely, stressful time. Life was struggling to keep my head over water and care for my two boys, one in full-on rebellion at age 6, and the other a handful at 3.
3 hours of creativity and fun with like-minded friends!
I didn’t know it at the time, but the class and the projects I took home with me were combatting the effects of low-level stress and depression. Here’s how:
Focusing on an enjoyable activity produced feel-good hormones and took my mind off problems and anxiety
Social time with other artists of like mind helped me feel I belonged, boosting self-esteem
Creating positive experiences produced lasting benefits: Build new and good memories
Leaving less time and space to dwell on past pain.
It’s too bad that over time this favorite activity went to the back burner again! Although I’ve always loved making art, it’s easy to neglect. Over time I keep re-learning that part of my essential self-care is hands-on art play. I create in all kinds of ways in my life but becoming absorbed in creating art takes me to a place that is deeply nourishing like nothing else.
Our lives are busy and we can lose track of what we are here to do.
That’s why I’ve learned to examine my life and decide what is essential. Having kids, hammered home to me the truth that to help them. I had to be stable. My artist self grounds me and benefits me in other ways too.
Being with other artists is refreshing and enriching. Friendships are just as important to a healthy life as a good diet. Making connections is not easy, but there’s nothing like creativity to loosen us up and spark laughter and fun.
We are all under the low-level stress that COVID 19 is causing- there’s uncertainty because of a lack of experience with the situation. Frustrated that life is topsy-turvy, we need more than ever to encourage our creativity and have fun!
Walking at the edge of the lake, my feet tingling in the cold water, I listen to the woosh of each wave, and feel the sun on my face. Time stands still and I feel lighter, happy taking in the sensations. For a time I can forget that I’m confused, feel adrift, and just want the answer to my life purpose!
You are not alone if you struggle to understand what you want, who you are, and what you are meant to be doing.
How is it that we are artists and healers, yet the world demands that we either work for the pay ignoring our dreams, passions, and ideas or struggle to survive?
Here’s the thing. We get so many messages about what is and isn’t possible to do. It causes confusion because living life as a social being makes you want to please other people.
Inside though, we know there’s something different. Something we want, a sense that we are created for wonderful things. I believe this is true, and that there is a way out. But the way may surprise you.
Our life purpose does not remain the same throughout life. It’s changeable. It also balances between serving a collective purpose and satisfying our personal needs.
That’s why I say our life purpose is porpoise!
It’s playful, moves around, and is part of the larger pod’s purpose.
As a child, our life purpose is to learn. Unfortunately, learning about ourselves is so neglected at this stage. I remember for myself, being encouraged in many ways, At a certain point though, if we want to be an artist, we get the message that we must be more practical and pursue something that will provide a stable job.
It can be confusing!
The young adult stage is where we lose track, because of the demands of society and the fear of not succeeding. Our purpose at this stage is to clarify what we want and learn some more, but this doesn’t usually happen. Instead, we’re confused about how we fit in and wondering if we don’t.
The next phase is being a householder. We find a home, settle down. If we have children, then our purpose clarified- we must raise these kids and take care of them. It’s a very satisfying process for most people.
Also, a time when we are focused outside ourselves more than ever. Our job’s purpose is to clothe and shelter ourselves and our family, which may make it
Feel more fulfilling.
On the other hand, if we’re not happy in our job, or established, it can be a time that starts to pull us apart. If we can’t relax into our work, because it has low pay or low satisfaction, stress begins to build and we may develop habits that numb the pain, from alcohol to emotional outbursts.
At some point being a householder purpose is not so compelling. We may start to feel unhappy, overwhelm, pulled in many directions. An empty nest may trigger attempts to escape, either again through addictions or outbursts of senseless energy.
Then there’s retirement. Everything depends on how we meet it- with enthusiasm or fear. At any time through all these phases we may be unhappy. The solution is not often what we think it is.
That’s because we’ve been taught to focus outside of ourselves for happiness. We love our job or hate it, our spouse or children or friends give us happiness or aggravation.
The truth is, whatever we do, whatever happens, we can be aligned with purpose.
The one thing we crave beyond all other things is not money or happiness, it’s belonging. So your best bet is to keep on going, making tweaks- don’t quit your job, get a divorce, or move. Above all find out for yourself who you are.
Focus on feeling like you belong, that you’re worthy, that you matter and by golly, people like you! Somewhere along the way, we were taught that these feelings are given to us only if we deserve them. Nope, you were born belonging, you have a fundamental right to be exactly who you are.
If you’re an artist or a healer, your creative gift will flow from that stability and ease.
I nourish this foundation through art, enjoying nature, and yoga. Take the time to nurture your connection to the totality of existence, to God, or Source, or Cosmic Intelligence, whatever you name it.
Let the rest get taken care of by this Force! Join me in this exploration of happiness and belonging!
Here are the links to a starter course or workshop:
Last week I talked about breathing space. We provide ourselves space to just ‘be’, by letting go of mind chatter through the breath, attention and new beliefs.
No amount of mental understanding got me to where I am today. It helped somewhat, but it never got me to the true knowing that who I am as created by the Source of everything. I had to support that understanding through my breath and body. The effects of this were to silence the negative voices, calm me down, and build a deep sense of peace. I call it the bottom-up approach.
I must also add, that no amount of outside force ever did more than help with the symptoms. Massage, chiropractic, talk therapy, essential oils, goji berry juice, and organic food, all supported me by helping me feel better day-to-day, but lasting change has come to me through a disciplined effort to train my whole being to feel good.
The reason I had to do this was for me it has been so painful to believe that I am creative, but that Source did not support me.
Because, if it did support me, then I would have been receiving prosperity effortlessly as an artist. That’s why my whole life has been a search to feel better. While much research and reading have gone into my journey, teaching my body to feel good in the present moment provided the grounding to absorb new beliefs- My thoughts could shift to thinking ‘yes, I feel well’ because I did.
Yoga covers the old thoughts that I am not good enough, that I am stuck and overwhelmed with thoughts like ‘I feel calm, restored, good about who I am” because it provides a real experience of peace and contentment. Our thoughts create reactions within the body, there is a strong feedback loop.
That’s why a yoga or meditation practice is best-done every day.
We must build the groundwork. A short daily routine is better than a class or two a week. One reason for this is that its easier. In class, we are often focused on the teacher or our surroundings. By ourselves, we can practice self-observation.
I understand how hard it can be for many people to give themselves a chance with yoga, and to stick to it. We are not just stuck in mental patterns, our body is an addict for whatever emotional state we are used to. It is necessary to keep conditioning ourselves to be calm relaxed, covering over the old beliefs, whatever they are.
We must make an unshakable decision to change, to deeply explore what nurtures us and makes us feel whole.
Then we must create a plan and commit to it. How many times do we meet resistance and say “I guess it wasn’t meant to be’. Guess what, when you forget your yoga class or to practice, it is a message from the Universe- not that this isn’t meant to be- but that there is resistance!
I’ve been through that and I know. When I was ready to give up, if I looked up and out someone always gave me a hand, a friend, my yoga teacher, my mom, (God bless her soul). And in the end, when I was lying on the floor weeping, I could somehow bend my knees and put my feet flat on the floor, bend one knee and then the other, and then gently bring them to my chest.
This is yoga, these are the tools, they work to help you breathe, calm down, and feel better. I spent my life finding out how to end my suffering. It turns out to be this simple: change how you feel. We create a new feeling with our body in a steady easy way with someone helping us who has done it for themselves. Along the way, we gain mobility, strength focus, concentration, new beliefs, and gratitude.
Get started on your plan now- book a discovery session to see what program is a fit for you!
What makes us happy? Have you ever set your heart on something happening in your life, only to find it doesn’t fulfill you? Is happiness depends on you?
Success, fame, and love: these are the sorts of things we often strive for, thinking that when we achieve them, we will feel happy.
We have ideas, we set goals, make plans, and we strive. We think that if we ‘get there’ we will be happy- the better job or promotion, an income figure or a new car, or maybe a love partner or other relationship.
The problem is, it makes you happy, but just for the moment. but before you know it, there’s something else we must achieve to feel fulfilled. How do you break the cycle and be happy right now?
When I first learned of this from a yoga teacher, I didn’t understand why I should let go of the things I love and enjoy- like good food, good company, and a fine bottle of wine. That’s for people who don’t enjoy life! Monks and aesthetics! It took many years to get it, and the patience of kind and caring teachers: attachment to the things is being dependant on what’s outside you!
Our possessions give us momentary pleasure. If you give too much importance to them, we start to find that we always want more. Even though you get this, we are bombarded with messages that the latest, the newest is desirable- Apple has made a fortune on this!
Attachment can also be a problem when we reach for goals. With the help of much research on happiness, I have found out that the final outcome of my goals will give me little joy. It’s how we are wired. Our brain just doesn’t get rewarded when we struggle for months or even years to achieve some success like more money or fame.
Instead, we get tired, lose motivation, and feel unhappy. When and if we ever get there, the reward doesn’t satisfy, setting us up to struggle once again. Or we just give up and feel we can’t achieve what we want and accept dissatisfaction.
Research has shown that the endorphin hit, or joy reaction in the brain is relatively the same no matter how big the accomplishment. Since a small achievement gives your mind and body the same amount of satisfaction as a large one, the answer is to break our journey into as many small achievable goals as possible That way, we are always getting a hit.
For instance, my goal is to build a successful business. While my long term ambition may be a certain sales figure or a number of students, I break down the big goal to tiny pieces.
Like writing this blog…
Today I woke up feeling discouraged. (Truly) The to-do list of an entrepreneur is often overwhelming- what task is important vs. urgent. Sometimes it feels like I don’t get anywhere!
Luckily, I have tools to combat this. I know I’ll feel better by accomplishing something small and within my control. I can’t control how many people enroll, but I can write a blog every week to educate people on the value of my offerings.
Just doing the first draft created a whole lot of good feelings in my mind and body! Since the process of growing my business is sharing what I’ve learned so I can help people, every week I can a few good endorphins rush every time I take a step towards accomplishing that task.
Instead of being dependant on that sales figure, I make sure to acknowledge and rejoice every step of the way! The process doesn’t rely on any one’s opinion or actions either, except my own. Hopefully, this drives me to continue doing what needs to be done toward my goal. That’s what all those gurus are talking about when the urge us to live in the moment.
The same goes for fame.
We all like to be appreciated, even approved of. We may be very disappointed with this, as it’s very hard to get people’s attention! It’s still true too, that the results are fleeting. Unless we are surrounded by fans at all times, we are not getting the feel-good endorphin hit. Maybe you would like to find someone to love. Pin all your hopes on that and you’ll seem nothing but desperate, driving away potential partners.
That’s the reason that you need to let go- then all of a sudden, someone comes into your life!
Focus instead in the small steps towards that goal- get out and enjoy an activity you love, meet with the people who are already friendly and supportive.
We need ways to keep it fresh, finding joy in the small steps we take every day!
That’s what non-attachment is: surrender to the process of getting somewhere. It may even be it turns out to produce a different result than you were planning! You will be ready to embrace it and enjoy it! Your Happiness depends on you!
Happiness depends on you. Success, attention, love, they create a biological chemical transformation in our mind and body. When we look only for the end result, we’re always chasing the dragon- we’ll always crave the next hit.
Have you found yourself creativity blocked? It doesn’t matter if it’s a hobby you love or part of your work. The trouble is, we can’t turn creativity on and off at will.
Here are 3 simple ways to get started. I recommend you build these activities into your week, and you will get immediate results from doing them right now. 😊
1. Tune into the source of creativity
Firstly, You need to release the idea that it’s you who are creative. Encourage the idea that your ideas come from a limitless source of creativity and let them flow through you. Then, forget good or bad and get into the process.
For me, a lot of judgment surrounds art. I was critiqued as a young adult, and I began to doubt myself. The pleasure of creating was squashed by the idea that my art was good or bad. I often judged my work only to find that others appreciate it, or a little time puts a new perspective on it. Now I try to let go of analysis and expectation right from the start.
Julia Campbell, in her book “The Creative Way”, helped me to let go of these judgments by pointing out that art is a gift, and it comes from a higher source. This takes the pressure off.
Look at it this way: your ideas come to you for a reason. In the same manner, they are meant to be acted on and not creativity blocked
Whether you believe in God or not, there is an energy in everything that is continually being expressed. The same force that brought the universe into being. That’s where creativity comes from, and it’s our birthright, as every human has the ability to imagine and to build. (see my blog ‘Embrace Your Inner Artist‘)
To tune into this source, take the time on a regular basis to pray, meditate or just feel gratitude for the beauty and power of all creation. Set a time for this practice and a place. Bring to your mind everyday the truth that we are in a process of becoming, and that creativity is a gift, as natural as breathing.
2. Make art with a small ‘a’
Secondly, Forget about ‘Great Art’. You don’t have to paint a masterpiece or write an epic poem, that kind of thinking just stops us in our tracks!
Whatever your art, craft or hobby, take a break and try something new. You won’t expect to be a master. Mistakes and failures are part of creativity blocked. It’s easy to get caught up in the product- especially if your job involves creativity, so find time for play without having to worry about the end result.
Relax, inspiration flows from play. Put on your favorite music and dance, recite Shakespeare sonnets to a tree, or doodle. Take some time to fool around and you will likely find yourself humming that new tune you were seeking or visioning your next project.
Then, set a date with yourself once a week to see or try new things, enroll in a course to learn something you’ve always wanted to do. Like learn a language, ethnic cooking- or take a yoga class! Do this by yourself, it’s not a social practice, it’s just for you alone.
3. Fill your bucket
Thirdly, and most importantly, As an artist, we need to spend time absorbing- not just creating. Get out in nature, there’s nothing more soothing and beautiful.
Walking is what I love. Down to the creek, or a trip to the lake. You can bike, canoe or jog, but make sure to slow down and enjoy the sights and sounds. Wind and water and light will renew your soul and give you the relaxation and soothing that fills up your creative well.
In conclusion, We need to fill our bucket regularly. At any rate, we need to plan to get out of there every day for 20 minutes. Your body and mind will both benefit. The time spent on this will improve your productivity.
These are just a few ways to nurture your creativity.
Moreover, We all need to build routines that keep us healthy, and all the ideas we’ve just covered have multiple benefits. In conclusion, They don’t just remove creative blocks, they nurture us.
Probably you are experiencing a lot of stress these days. How could you not? Between a global pandemic and the economy crashing, our finances are affected, our work and social life too, and the worst is a lack of certainty about everything. How to work in a less stressful life?
It’s different for each of us. Some of us have underlying issues and are at risk, exposed daily to this corona virus, and many of us are self-employed and struggling.
Life is always uncertain.
We are not safe and stable at the best of times. You may lose your job, have to move, or split with your partner. Our children struggle, our relatives die, we get injured or ill- we’re not safe at any time.
Many of these fears live under the surface and we maintain an illusion of safety until it’s front and center- like now.
As a spiritual seeker you believe that abundance and prosperity are a mindset, that the Universe backs us. We want the freedom to fail or thrive on our own terms. In our present situation, we can only keep Stress and Overwhelm down for so long.
What to do with the feelings of stress and overwhelm?
In yoga, we practice self-awareness at a basic level.
I was so uncomfortable with who I was! I suffered because I received judgment- You’re too loud, interrupt people, laugh at the wrong moment. Pushy, insensitive, self-centered. These criticisms had me cringing in all my relationships.
You could be the opposite, shy or sensitive, but most people are trying to prove their value, and it comes out in many ways. Observe myself? It was an exercise in self-criticism, in confronting the pain of not being good enough- it was asking, ‘what more should I keep bottled up, how should I change so I will be loved?’
When my yoga teacher said, ‘notice the breath in your body. That is self-observation’. It was such a relief. How could my breathing be wrong? It couldn’t. Nothing was asked of me but to observe my body and my thoughts, passing through me like clouds.
I learned to notice my emotional and energetic state through my breath- I am agitated, or I am calm- not to change, but to be alert in a state of relaxed observation. This is truly the gift of yoga to have a less stressful life.
I was less anxious and calmer. I learned to use the tools to feel better.
We often try to push away negative feelings. We observe our feelings in relaxation or meditation and let them flow through us. Do I feel rejected, angry, stressed or overwhelmed? Well, that’s only natural, I am in the middle of a divorce, or my children are small and I don’t get much sleep. Or, I am working very hard to realize my dreams and I get afraid.
No big deal. My weaknesses and faults are my strengths. In the overall movie of my life, I am a kind and loving person. I am worthy of love because I exist. I learned to relax into new beliefs like these.
Stress and overwhelm tell us to slow down. To take some time to allow for recovery. From this quieter more accepting place, we see things more clearly. Our own solutions arise. We can meet our problems as obstacles to overcome instead of failure or disaster wrought on us.
Who you are is a deeply feeling and responsive being.
What control we have is to release our negative beliefs and the excess doing and striving. Take it easy, step by step. We live in a world of love. We can ask assistance, we can receive, and when we stick together, we can make sure that we are all cared for in this time of need and to have a less stressful life.
The Universe has our back, and we are the Universe.
I looked down at murky water swirling below, the cold stone of the bridge against my belly- I wondered why my heart was so sad. I was sixteen and my life was a mess. No one understood or saw who I was, and I didn’t either. I didn’t seriously consider leaping off, but I couldn’t really see the point of it all. I need to improve Creativity.
When we’re older, we just keep on keeping on. I’ve often told the story that my artist’s mother suggested I become a dental assistant. It made my furious at the time. But why did I buy into it? I decided that artists are not appreciated, even worthless. Many other messages led me to that conclusion, because it’s a common belief in our world today.
I carry on like most of us do, but for a long time, on the inside, I’ve struggled to justify my existence, and to create. I held that belief that I was unworthy and it made me feel angry, sad, bored. It took a long time to change that and feel joy that I am a creative being and that it’s important.
It doesn’t matter what you do. Whether you paint, take photographs, or play an instrument… whether you sew, craft, or bake- it’s your art. Every day that we do our thing, from bookkeeping to house cleaning, we express ourselves. Our lives are a creative process!
Our great big brains, combined with opposable thumbs make us human. They give us is an incredible power to shape our lives, from making tools to problem solving. What it really comes down to is the stories we tell ourselves about being an artist or not being one.
My mom’s suggestion revealed more about her than me. Her advice came from her own negative beliefs that finding a moderately good paying job was more important than what a person wants or is good at. She came by that belief honestly!
It is beliefs like these that keep us from living creatively.
Every person is unique, and it’s important to discover our creativity, to honor and express it. Because this gives us deep satisfaction, and that supports us in doing the work we are meant to do. Anytime we feel bored, overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious, the root of the problem is not being fully tuned into our creativity.
It was the practice of yoga that help me shift the belief that artists aren’t appreciated . I learned how creativity supports me as a yoga therapist- how I observe people, connect with them, and design a personal practice for them. It also helps me grow as a mother, a parent, and a friend.
Expanding my idea of what an artist is has helped me become better at all these roles, and it helped me relax a bit about my burning desire to express myself through art. As I loosen up about what it is to be an artist, I allow myself to dream again.
It’s about breathing space, and yoga’s role in this gets most of the credit for it. When we take the time to look inward through a meditative yoga practice, it replenishes us. We get space to just ‘be’. My mind doesn’t take me there, I go there through the breath and attention.
Now I fully embrace that my whole life is being created by me in everything I do, every thought I think.
In times of stress, I have a hard time sleeping. It doesn’t matter if it’s happy exciting or letting fear and doubt get the better of me. My body gets so tired, I toss and turn, have wild dreams, and wake up in the early hours, sound familiar?
So when my friend Alice started talking about the wild dreams she was having, I completely understood. Her dreams took her all the way back to high school- unable to find the classroom, sure she had missed the exam, or forgotten to study! Mine involves my children falling into swimming pools mysteriously full of sharks (I rescue them, don’t worry) or trying to get my dinner back from tigers!
For instance, I find travel stressful, and I used to have upsetting daydreams about getting hijacked on the plane. When I realized that I tended to worry about leaving my home, sleeping in a strange place, and encountering wild dreams, I began to turn it around.
You see, the unconscious mind creates wild dreams as a way to process and explain the underlying stress you are experiencing. Now, in May of 2020, it’s COVID 19. There are many factors outside our control, we are or are not working- both have their problems, and we are not able to interact with our friends and extended family.
At other times it could be work, family, money. Once you take a little time to identify and write or talk about these underground worries, they begin to lose their power! Explore the stories that have come up- like exams or hijackers- very calmly. Perhaps soothe yourself with yoga or meditation. You can then re-frame your experience, bringing new feelings to help you fight the stress and sleep better.
Not getting sleep is an upsetting situation.
So on top of the stress that may be causing it, we now have something else to wind us up! Here’s how you can stop that cycle. In the course of my research, I learned this: most of us can function very well for at least three nights with intermittent sleep, and if we make a plan we can resolve the problem by then. Oliver Sacks tells a remarkable story about a man with a brain injury who could never sleep, they thought he would die! Well, he spent 8 hours every night resting and lived to old age. So relax, it’s not the end of the world.
So start by making a plan:
There is plenty of advice about sleep out there, let me tell you some of the best points. First, sleep hygiene. Follow a bedtime routine like you were a baby. A nice bath, some light reading, calming music- whatever you like, just always follow the same pattern, do it every night, even when you are sleeping well. It’s like insurance. Also, many people are advised not to stay in bed or have naps, if they aren’t sleeping. This is to keep you in a routine- after all, if you spend the day napping, it will be harder to sleep, creating a vicious cycle.
However, if I got out of bed when I couldn’t sleep or woke up from a bad dream, I would never rest- that’s true for many highly sensitive people. I learned this from a very useful book- The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron. So I take naps in the day and I stay in bed at night- and if I spend the night just resting that’s OK. I practice breathing exercises and meditation (beats just lying there thinking) and it often puts me right to sleep!
I also do light yoga before bed- anything with forward bend helps.
And I love to listen to hypnosis designed to help me sleep. Hypnosis can be much like a meditation, and helps your unconscious mind find calm.
It’s also important what you don’t do: stay away from blue light- that means your phone, television or computer screen. There are blue light blockers, and your phone may have one. Check and use it. Also alcohol- it may knock you out, but typically wakes you again at 2 am.
Magnesium supplements may help you sleep, but if sleeplessness persists more than 3 nights I don’t hesitate to use over-the-counter sleep aids or herbal ones with ingredients like HTP, valerian, and melatonin- check with your pharmacist to find out more, especially if you are on other medications. Do not use any of these if you are pregnant without consulting your doctor. One of these remedies always helps me get back on track. However, if sleeplessness persists more than a few nights, check-in with your doctor.
The bottom line is sleep is a natural process you can support in many ways! Stay calm and take a step by step approach. Hope this helps and you have sweet dreams!
We believe that earth is a gift, given to us to be cherished.
We source clothing from companies that choose sustainable and earth-friendly fibers: including organic bamboo, organic cotton, and Tencel. And who use non-toxic Oeko-Tex 100 certified dyes that are free of heavy metals and allergens.
We choose products that are committed to caring for everyone involved the producing of their clothing from start to finish. Who seek to build long-term relationships with their partners so that they can grow together and sustain the livelihoods of all peoples. All of the overseas factory partners are audited by these companies to ensure that they exceed national standards for health and safety, workplace conditions and workers’ protection.
From the farms, to the mills, to the factories, each item of clothing is produced in the same region to reduce the ecological impact of shipping materials from one country to another. Once the pieces are ready, they are slowly ship them by sea to Canada.
A long time ago one of my yoga teachers told me, “everything in existence is as it should be”. Do We Need to Accept Everything?
And lately, I’ve been seeing this quote everywhere- “Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Rumi
As a young adult hearing these ideas, I put them somewhere deep inside to ponder. Why is there suffering? How is this compatible with my values? It is evident that there is much in this world I did not accept. And at the heart of this was me.
If you were to ask me, do you love yourself? I would have to say its complicated. And so, re-reading the little book on Creating Affluence, by Deepak Chopra, when I came upon his declaration that his purpose was to heal and to make people happy, a great ‘AHA!’ shouted out inside of me. I have been putting the cart before the horse- the first heal then spread joy. Just a matter of priorities, and it is everything.
How to reconcile my own suffering? Family dramas, the roles we each take on. I was the rebel, the black sheep in my family. I readily embraced this as my only means of attention. My pain was simply the continuation of suffering handed down by generations and it did not bear examination.
I could not accept it. I could not accept in so many ways.
Long ago that seed was planted- ‘everything in existence is as it should be’ by my yoga teacher. For so many years I gave myself radical love in the form of yoga, as taught to me by my teachers: go to your mat; breath and stretch; soothe and nurture yourself. I had no idea the power of it. I only knew that it felt good.
I’m a yogi because I identify as one- it made me special, way back in the seventies and eighties, I was unusual. It was something I did that helped my health, gave me a place in the world because although I loved all the arts, visual, written, acting, I was not encouraged. These were impractical pursuits, but they were my passion, and so I suffered, to my very core. And it is in that field beyond right and wrong that I begin to find myself and accept.
As we allow all feelings, all our experiences and responses to be accepted, then we step into the great cycle of nature- which is healing us, providing opportunities to grow, and fulfilling a great purpose just beyond our understanding.
Imagine my surprise, when my friend Joan told me with complete certainty that we can only really rely on ourselves, that we are alone. I instantly countered, “Oh no, we are all in this together!”
What do you think, was I right? I’ve been thinking about it, and it goes something like this- if you really believe that we are all in it together, why do you have issues of abandonment? Maybe because you believe it, but are afraid of not belonging: wishing and trying hard to be a part of the togetherness but feeling like you’re on the outside. So maybe I’m not so sure.
But if you say, well, I’ve been let down, obviously, I can only rely on myself. Now you don’t feel abandoned because you won’t put yourself in that position.
If you believe that, you take care of yourself first, and save up resources to ensure your safe and comfortable. You invest your energy primarily in people and activities that are the most important to your own security and happiness. When crisis’ happens you’ve prepared for that day. Or if someone else has a crisis, you decide to help based on the risks and rewards of doing that.
On the other hand, if we are all in this together, you feel free to jump in and help or interfere with almost any situation. You may become spread too thin or stressed out because you try to make everyone happy all the time, despite all the evidence against this being possible. If a crisis’ happens, you’re there, if it happens to you, you expect help from your peeps.
The idea that each good deed can be counted up and balanced out directly back to us is another common. Relationships are gained and lost as we mentally add up whether or not so and so has paid back our investments. You cannot expect much, in the end, with these calculations, and it just reinforces the belief that we are all alone or else abandoned.
It’s complicated, but I think the ultimate truth is that we find our way together. If you have ever hit rock bottom, you know that helping hands come from unexpected places. Your world crumbles as you reach for supports that you thought were there, and you’re caught by surprise at the kindness and support of someone you barely knew.
Does this grace come to us all regardless of whether or not we believe we’re alone or in it together? One thing is clear to me, feeling alone and abandoned sucks. Being able to see past the beliefs that keep me feeling that way- that is my goal. You can do this by getting to know yourself through the practice of yoga.
What do you think? Which world view do you hold- alone? together? Please comment, because I would love to hear from you!