Feel your Way to Freedom
In case you’re wondering, this is not a post about American politics. You’re welcome.
When I signed up for yoga teacher training several years ago, I can easily say I had no idea what I was getting into. In fact, on paper, I wasn’t even supposed to be there.
Here’s what I mean: I was a size 12 career mom of two, not an athletic or flexible bone in my body, and I signed up for teacher training because I wanted to learn about the philosophy of yoga — the non-physical side — and by the way, I signed up for this $3k investment with a teacher at a studio I had never even practiced at. I went to gym yoga twice a week because they had childcare. I was in no way an obvious yogi the likes of the Instababes.
I am laughing as I type this, because of course I was supposed to be there. It was a life-changing experience, because I learned the single most useful tool I have acquired in my entire journey towards being my best version of this human in this body: how to notice my feelings.
When we kicked off our training my teacher lovingly warned us that the journey was not for the faint of heart — that for the bulk of the experience, if we were truly embracing it, was going to be putting our faces in piles of our own crap. She literally said it that way. We would stick our faces in our crap and get intimate with all the characteristics of it — we would experience physical body changes yes (I dropped 40 lbs and went vegetarian for the first time ever), we would learn about the talk tracks that play endlessly in our heads (I learned how brutally critical and unforgiving I am of myself), and we would learn non-attachment (still can’t do a damn handstand). None of this was on the flier about the training. Lol.
But what she didn’t articulate that was the gift of that journey was a renewed sense of self awareness and observation. And, even on the worst days of 2020, I still use that awareness. Things don’t always feel good. But I can’t ignore those feelings.
Hard feelings are heart booboos that need attention, care, and kindness. And, the sooner I just put my face in my own crap and dig into it, the sooner I am able to shift my energy and focus on what I want it to be. And now, after many years of practicing showing up for my feelings, I can get to good much faster than I used to. I skip the numbing activities like drinking or binge-watching TV, anxiety shopping, and I sit my ass down and meditate, or go for a walk in the woods, or take a salt bath.
I talk to my feelings like little babies and ask them curious questions like, “Where did you come from? What evidence do you have that this is true? (I usually don’t find much) What do you need to heal this?” Then after some exploring and usually journaling, I create a vision for myself of what good looks like. If I am feeling depressed, I ask myself what happiness looks like, and I try to do some activity that will help me connect with that feeling. And, I have never been healthier, happier, more loved or more successful than this year — and every year gets better and better.
So, for 2020, I hope you feel it all. You can only control yourself — investing in that has the best ROI on the planet. I hope you learn beautiful and hard things about yourself you never knew before, and I hope it helps you find the clarity that only comes with true self-exploration, some tears, and the decision to live out your highest, most beautiful experience you can.