2.8
June 4, 2012

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Sweat the Small Stuff:

Let Your Emotions Be Your Guide.

My refrigerator door boasts an altar of sorts—a flag of Ethiopia and two quotes.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

~ Donald Neale Walsh is one of them.

And the other, from the Bhagavad Gita, says:

“Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself.”

As I’m about to bid farewell to perhaps the most daunting emotional period in my life to date, I’ve recently become hyper-vigilant with my self-observation. This perpetual state of keen witnessing is not born from a place of self-indulgence. Rather, it is the seed from which all that I intend blossoms. It is that sweet, sacred space of pure, unadulterated love.

Prone to being highly analytical and intellectually minded—a result of decades of ego driven conditioning—I am especially mindful of not seducing myself with words.

Unlearning all the stuff that hinders our spiritual development and growth is, for me, what tolerating the consequences of being myself entails.

Whenever we practice yoga, it invites us to get in touch with ourselves in an integrated fashion.  Mind, body and spirit are intrinsic parts of the whole.

Yoga raises the question:

Are we ready to accept ourselves as we truly are—gifts and flaws—with grace and equanimity?

I began practicing over a decade ago, and recently, my practice has led me to a very necessary place: the ability and willingness to sit with my feelings.

Despite encouragement from those wiser than me whom I have encountered along the path to get deep and intimate with my emotions, I shunned this critical part of my healing process.

Anger, fear and shame are dark, primal emotions that by their very nature are shrouded with heaviness; one that blocks our light and stunts our growth. Yet, even in knowing this, I continued to dance around them.

How do we be with our emotions?

By having the courage to face our fear, the tenacity to confront our anger and the fortitude to uncover shame, we crack our hearts open to being vulnerable. Too many of us have been programmed to view vulnerability as a sign of weakness when on the contrary, it is the manifestation of our greatest strength. It is only when we are open that deep, cathartic healing can take place.

Another key point to being with ourselves and our emotions is to sweat the small stuff. That seemingly insignificant, no-big-deal, thing that incessantly gnaws at us when left unattended, eventually balloons into a lethal, uncontrollable time-bomb.

Paying attention to these tiny things is exactly what we need to do as they serve as markers for our triggers.

We tend to over-invest in the symptoms of our issues and not getting to the cause. Addiction to pleasure is the reason for this. Yet, when incidents keep repeating themselves in our lives, victimized we ponder, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again!”

And here lies the danger of ignoring the source and continuing to flirt only with the symptoms: it sets us on an implosive path of self-destruction.

Can you name one tiny thing in your life that you’ve repeatedly dismissed? Can you remember the first time this little thing happened? How did you feel?

As you recall this incident, observe where your body is registering this feeling. Is your heart pounding, is your belly “flip-flopping,” do your legs feel wobbly? Or, are you feeling dizzy or nauseous?

Whatever the mind and intellect may choose to discard, bury or numb out, our bodies and spirit remember with vivid intensity. These raw feelings are begging for acknowledgement so that they can release us from our unconscious self-imposed captivity.

As consequences of being myself push me beyond the confines of my comfort zone, I am allowing my emotions and feelings to chart my course towards bliss and freedom.

And so it is.

~

Editor: Brianna Bemel

 

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Nadine McNeil

Nadine McNeil, aka Universal Empress, is a full-time yoga teacher, transformation life coach, Women’s Circle facilitator, public speaker and non-fiction writer.  Integrating the wisdom and teachings of yoga into her work, she is committed to changing lives, one breath at a time.  When not traveling the world offering her bespoke workshops and teachings, she may be found at the Yoga Barn, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia; the largest health, wellness and transformation entity in South East Asia.  Be sure to visit and check out her signature brand, The BadAsana Series: Yoga with Free Weights.  To join her mailing list and to learn more about her work and receive special offers, please click here.