Within the last few months I have had several people communicate that they see a difference in me, but they can’t quite pinpoint what it is.
The first few times I just chalked it up to eating healthy, meditating and yoga—you know, ”The Life Detox Glow.”
I remember one night I was walking with my daughter and we were talking about life and all the silly, fun things we talk about on our walks. She looked at me and said, ”Mom, you seem like you have really grown since your yoga teacher training.”
I looked at her, surprised and said “Really? In what way?”
She responded, ”I don’t really know how to explain it—something is just different. Better.”
That conversation continued to come up with random people often enough that I began to think—maybe there is something to this. Maybe the shift in my spirit has been significant enough that the change in my energy is now physically visible.
I decided to look at some pictures of myself to see if I could see the difference. I sat down at the computer and started going through pictures of myself taken between two and five years ago, which was prior to having a daily yoga practice or any kind of regular yoga practice, and compared those pictures to recent pictures taken.
When I put the pictures side by side I paused. Looking at older pictures of myself, I thought about who I was at that point in my life compared to who I am now. What I see now is a completely different person. That night, I wasn’t really able to sleep. I was trying to understand what had allowed this shift in the energy I project. What is the difference I see in my “now” compared to “then” Self?
What first came to mind was what my Ashtanga yoga teacher said to me over and over: Pattabhi Jois’ famous quote,”Practice and all is coming.”
I remember joking and thinking, practice and what is coming—a better body with the yoga glow?
I was probably not the easiest Ashtanga yoga student. In fact, I was clearly told I wasn’t. I think the word ”my defiant student” has been used a few times in reference to me.
In this particular type of yoga, you are taught a set sequence and you progress when they feel you are ready, which is not something you have control over. That was something I fought and struggled with to the point I almost quit many times. The only thing that saved me was the fact that I am not a quitter, but I assure you I left practice many times thinking—I’m not coming back.
I have always felt the need to resist and control what was going on in my life—thinking that being in control will manage the stress and allow “me” to place myself in life where I wanted to be. Giving up control of even the pace of my yoga practice was very hard for me.
That surrender was creating a paradigm shift within me that even I didn’t understand at the time.
After all, when you are not in control, where does that leave you? Vulnerable. The space of vulnerability is not somewhere I was able to be a year ago, or ever really, for more reasons than I can cover in this article.
As I laid there staring at the ceiling, I tried to understand what it was I felt now. What was the difference in how I approach life? What did I see in the “now” Self picture?
The ability to surrender kept surfacing to the forefront of my thoughts.
What I saw was a person who no longer needed or wanted to force life through her own control, just like I don’t force myself into a yoga pose—I master the pose when the time to master the pose is right. In yoga practice what happens if you try to force yourself into a pose before you are ready? You endure pain and suffering, and I speak from experience on this. That is one of the many ways yoga teaches the art of surrender.
Operating from a place of control and fear-based living created a tendency to force life situations that were not meant for me. I did not understand that what “I” chose for myself did not always align with my purpose in life.
In the past, when something really important to me wasn’t working out like “I” wanted, I would give my best attempt to force whatever it was I wanted instead of understanding that all life events—both good and bad—serve as a means to growth and evolution.
That doesn’t mean I give up on things that are important to me.
It means I detach from when what I need or want will manifest itself. I don’t worry about if it will manifest because I trust that it will—when it is supposed to and when I am ready. I remain aware of what I need so that when it does come, I recognize it and feel the freedom to take action on what has been presented.
I spent far too much energy trying to plan, prevent and predict what was going to happen, or supposed to happen that I managed to root myself in fear-based living.
When I lifted that control, I allowed things to magically happen instead of trying to make them happen. It’s amazing how things come to you when you aren’t trying to make them happen.
I have learned to stop fighting the natural flow of life and to just let life unfold the beautiful story that has been planned for me. That freedom has created a better person inside and out.
I am now in a boat without any oars: laid back, floating downstream, not knowing what I may come across on the banks of the stream or how long it will take to get wherever it is I am going, but trusting that the boat will take me where I need to go.
I have silenced my ego enough to allow my highest self to shine without resistance. I think that’s what I see in myself when I look at those pictures now—my inner-being shining without any resistance.
What I have learned is to trust in the unknown and allow the Law of Attraction to work for me. Surrendering is powerful, liberating, important, life enhancing and has awakened my creativity. When you get to a place of surrender, your creativity will flow like lava—be ready!
Every morning I take time to connect with my inner-self through meditation. This allows peace to flow through my mind and body with ease and trust that what I need to perpetuate my happiness will be provided.
Surrender and free your soul—let your light shine and enjoy the dance of life.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman