I had a yoga class ‘aha’ moment this week…it was just a small comment in the middle of arm balances that got me…and nothing I hadn’t heard before:
Focus on your own mat. If you find yourself turning over and looking at her thinking ‘I want to be like her,’ what do you know it is like to be her? Maybe she’s going through hell. Maybe she’s in heaven. What do I know?
I can only know when our eyes meet. When I start knowing her stories—and her story will be different from mine. But the emotions will be the same.
Bam-—there it was.
We all know exactly what ‘love’ feels like. We know the sensation of ‘anger’, ‘jealousy’, ‘joy’, ‘calmness’, ‘anxiety’ …it hit me and it is so clear—we are all the same, our essence is one. And the story really doesn’t matter.
But the connection matters—the fact that we listen to each others’ story, that we respect each others’ story. And that we respect our own story, that we trust the emotions related to that story and fully allow ourselves to express them.
Because that is the only way we will all understand that we are never alone—that we are always held.
So my big courageous invitation to everyone today is: Acknowledge what is real in the moment. Sit with emotions that come up. Let them wash through. We might think ‘well, but you don’t know what I’m going through right now!!!’ True. I might not know all the details—but what about the emotion attached?
I have a sense I’ve felt that emotion—just as we all have.
Our essence is the same.
Our story might be different—as a matter of fact it certainly is different, because we all have our own unique magical story. Our exterior circumstances might be different. The gift wrapping might be different. The gifts are the same.
My dance teacher told me the other day how it is so different to teach ecstatic dance in Asia—because it takes awhile to overcome shyness in this culture—but once people do, they are absolutely not self-conscious.
They fully express themselves in such beautiful ways.
And it came to us—this is a result of the fact that the concept of privacy here in Asia is so different. As a matter of fact ,it doesn’t really exist. Everybody lives so closely together and people never really spend time on their own.
Whereas in Western cultures, we are so trained to hide certain things—to be aware of how people ‘perceive us.’
And right at that moment, we are out of our body; not centered—because in order to see how we think others see us (which in no way can be the true reflection) we have to step outside of our own body; we have to go into a network of stories and interpretations…and we’re not with the emotion and experience that’s going on right now.
For me personally, the most amazing practice to drop out of my head is to dance.
To shake and hope and scream and move however my body wants. The second my head starts observing I shake it (somebody said to me the other day after dance ‘you were head-banging a lot today!’ which made me laugh out loud…. guess I had to shake out my thoughts a lot that day—my little secrets to get myself out of my head and into my body).
Dancing is my personal way of doing so—but there are many other forms.
Go explore. And love. Love everything in the experience of this life—it will wash through. It will pass.
If life is amazingly high right now, enjoy! Because it will pass.
Afraid of something? Breath right into it. It will pass. Incredibly sad? Let the tears flow. It will wash through.
What I’m trying to say is: love what is presenting itself in life right now. It’s all that matters. And remember that the people we encounter are in their story with they are full of emotions. Have respect for that story; love them for where they are at in their story.
Love yourself for where you are at in your story.
“You’re alive; you do exist, that’s true, but what are you? The truth is you don’t know. You only know what you believe you are, you know what you learned that you are, you know what you were told that you are, you know what you pretend to be, you know the way you wish to be seen by other people and for you it may be true.
But is it really true that you are what you say you are? I don’t think so. Whatever you say about yourself is just symbology, and it is completely distorted by your beliefs. When you finally see yourself without all the knowledge that you’ve accumulated, the result is: I am. I am what I am; you are what you are, and the complete acceptance of whatever you are is what makes the difference.
Once you completely accept what you are, you are ready to enjoy life. There’s no more judgment, no more guilt, no more shame, no more remorse.”
~ Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz, The Fifth Agreement
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Assistant Ed: Bruce Casteel/Ed: Bryonie Wise