Somehow, I had a misconception that there would be no obstacles in spirituality, that it should be giving me more.
But it really doesn’t.
Spirituality only gives us what it is, as it is.
Like a lot of folks who practice postural yoga, I was on the mat to find relief from the back pain and eventually, I found myself becoming a yoga teacher. And as I look back at my life, I didn’t feel settled within until I began to include the teachings of yoga and meditation in my whole life.
Outwardly, I portrayed myself as having self-worth, but inside I felt like I had much to work on.
I yearned to develop an inner strength and authenticity that included all aspects of life, and not just the life where I would spend one hour a day meditating and practicing yoga. I yearned for a life that is worth living, where I bring the practice into all things. Like caring for my children, husband, or the garden, and all relationships.
I came to see that none of these are separate from our spiritual practice. I developed a deeper understanding of myself, seeing what is actually taking place inside of me, and realized I could observe myself only in relationship because all of life is relationship. There is no use sitting in a corner meditating by myself if I don’t include all aspects of my life in the practice.
Even if we live alone, we don’t exist by ourselves; we exist in relationship with others. Our ideas, thoughts, and the way we live all impact each other.
As more of us are waking up and moving into self-study, it’s not so much like learning a language, or a technology, or a science—it is in the listening to and being present with ourselves. It is the visiting of me and who I am beyond the roles I play in life.
My spirituality is a space where I don’t explain myself; rather, the self is a feeling that I hold gently.
Embracing the unknown, while digesting it all on an energetic, physical, and emotional level can almost feel like a full-time job. Like any chapter in life, our journey of transformation is one worth having. But you couldn’t say that to me while in the middle of it all! It’s uncomfortable, and it takes grit, patience, and compassion to be present with “what is.”
Not being given a timeline of when I would finally get through it reminds me of being in the yoga position called Warrior II. Named for a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Shiva, this version of Warrior pose increases stamina—which is good because it’s exactly what we need if we are to forge ahead in today’s environment.
The not knowing when we might be relieved of Warrior II position, and transition to the other side, means to me that we won’t survive this time unless we remain fiercely present. It’s a time of deep presence and awakening while we learn a new way of being and let go of what we thought we were supposed to do.
Instead, just listen.
While in this time, as we are being asked to stretch in all ways possible, may we have the courage and strength to be directed back to ourselves.
When I’m feeling unsettled, I’ll spend a few minutes lying in the middle of my backyard or floor with my arms spread wide open and receptive. My aim is just to be in mother nature’s arms, to feel her love, and find the healing that is possible. We are already enough, so mostly it’s about going inside to remember this, to find permission to feel it all, and to be okay with not being okay.
Today it’s all in the simple things, and as a ritual, I’ll cut flowers from my garden as a deep act of love. I take time to honor the home that shelters me and the soul that animates my body. And when a flower arrangement gets old, I just make another one using some flowers from the old one and adding new, healthy ones from my garden—and I recognize the miracle that is life itself. In this too, I find yoga.
I believe we all have this same opportunity to heal, to bring our yoga into our lives in small ways, no matter what our story is.