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April 13, 2016

The Beauty in Starting Over Again & Again.

yoga sun valley sit practice

I’m currently midway through circling the Sun 28 times.

That may seem like a small number to some, but in my 28 years of life I’ve died and risen from the dead many times over. If I had to put a number on how many lives I’ve lived or on how many times I’ve started over, I’d say it’s more than eight.

That’s a lot of reincarnations for a life that’s only been on this Earth for 28 years.

We all have our reasons for starting over: divorce, heartbreak, addiction, sexual abuse, loss, surviving a life-threatening accident, cancer, retirement and so on.

For a lot of us, unfortunately, those reasons are not by choice. The reasons we’ve started over was so that we could force ourselves out of the darkness and into the light. It was a serious matter of life or death.

These are the times we’ve hit rock bottom, and have contemplated if we were better off dead. But…we’ve been here before—on our beds, curled up into a ball, sobbing, wondering what we did wrong and why this is happening to us.

This scenario is all too familiar, because we’ve been there time and time again.

These are the moments when we look at ourselves dead in the eye—this raw, broken, vulnerable version—and that’s when it hits us. The flashbacks! Memories of all the bullshit we’ve gone through, but for one reason or another we’ve been able to pull ourselves out of it.

At a very young age I was sexually abused by those close to me. I turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain. I made friends with the wrong crowd. I was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Then, at the tender age of 18, I entered into an abusive relationship; a relationship that would not end until many years later.

Still, I had to face my demons. I had to face myself; the voice inside my head that was constantly telling me this was the life I deserved, I was not worthy of love, this was my destiny and I had no choice but to accept it.

I was no longer going to pity and victimize myself. If I was going to get out of this black hole, I was the only person that would be able to get myself out of it. I faced those demons head-on and said, Fu*k you! That’s when I first took charge of my life.

Around the same time I first discovered yoga, and not just any yoga, DDP Yoga. That’s right! My first yoga class was a Diamond Dallas Page Yoga session with a tall, dark, muscular and often times intimidating certified DDP Yoga instructor at my local gym.

Yoga helped me discover how to love myself, and how to take care of my body from the inside out.

That’s when I began to nourish my body with live foods, regular exercise, and shortly thereafter I took up a meditation practice. I didn’t know it at the time, but this simple idea of self-love was what would later ignite passion then compassion for this fleeting life, and I wasn’t going to waste it anymore.

Yet, as Khalil Gibran put it, “…March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path.” Let’s be honest, life isn’t always going to be rainbows and unicorns. It’s just a matter of fact. It gets tough, and it’s going to suck.

However, it’s during these hard times in our lives that we truly dig deep. We dig nonstop; tearing down walls we’ve put up, befriend this opposite, dark version of ourselves and listen. I mean, really listen.

Remember that the next time around, because next time, we’ll be ready. We’re ready because we’re not afraid to face the darkness anymore. We’re not afraid to feel raw emotion and we’re not afraid to start over.

Like a warrior, we’re ready to march on and take on whatever life has in store for us next.

“March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move towards perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path.” ~ Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

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Author: Jessica Jackson

Apprentice Editor: Alicia Wozniak / Editor: Sara Kärpänen

Photo: Pat Castaldo/flickr & Cecille Photography 

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Jessica Jackson