The New Year kicked off with some unexpected bumpiness for me and while it was pretty uncomfortable, the beauty of the bumpy ride is that it gave me the opportunity to dive through the discomfort and return to the surface with a gem.
It seems that over the years that I have been investigating myself through yoga and psychotherapy, I have actually learned some things and transformed along the way. According to my real life therapist, I have developed my very own ‘inner therapist’.
And so what in the past might have left me reeling in sorrow and self-pity, instead I have managed and explored the discomfort in a way that helped me to learn even more about myself, not get sucked into the trap of blaming others, and quickly come out with renewed strength and optimism. Our painful feelings are the path to self-love, acceptance and compassion if only we can see that.
I must admit that when I hit that bump the initial reaction was an old familiar way of being, however my newly acquainted inner therapist poked her sweet head up and guided me to a new way of being. I wasn’t fully aware that I was doing something different at first and that is why the change came from an intrinsic part of myself rather than intellectually applying self-help tools. We instigate this intrinsic change when we bring the unconscious aspects of ourselves into consciousness.
And at this intrinsic level is where I discovered the teachings of Yoga were coming to the fore…
Not reacting to our constantly changing thoughts and emotions but mindfully observing them is particularly important when you’re in the grip of strong and painful feelings. Staying present to the emotional roller coaster and resisting the urge to act on the feeling. Instead I wrote my changing feelings down which enabled me to see the true source of the feeling and ultimately release it.
When I came face-to-face with deeply held insecurities arising out of a feeling of rejection, at first I let myself fall into an old story of not being good enough. This old story comes from the wounded child inside. Eventually I became mindful enough to remember that, and found the adult me who was able to offer reassurance and compassionate thoughts.
Personally this has been a long and difficult lesson for me to learn but reaching out to friends was the thing that popped the smile back on my face. My old reaction would be to shut off, not tell anyone and perpetuate the belief that I am alone. Instead I told my friends, I arranged to meet them and sometimes they even just rocked up at my house and stayed over. They made me feel super awesome with utterly genuine love, assurance and reaffirming that I’m great just as I am. They heaped love on me and I took it upon myself to believe every word they said.
Despite dealing with painful feelings, I had one of the nicest weeks I can remember having for a while. I saw more friends in one week than I have for ages and that rid me of the feeling of aloneness that I possessed before the bumpiness even occurred. I also was a friend to me and propelled myself out into the world to do some things I’ve wanted to do for ages and loved it.
I realised, as the Yoga tradition teaches us, that I am constantly viewing the world through the filter of my own mind and if I see myself as alone, I will feel alone. If I feel fearful for my future, my future will be a fearful place.
Before the bumpiness I’d made an intention to keep my heart open and be vulnerable even at the risk of rejection. I got rejected, but I also got to remember how good it feels to be soft, loving, nurturing and to connect with people. If that means risking heart ache then so be it. That doesn’t mean we don’t need to set healthy boundaries.
When we resist or despair at our difficult feelings, we resist the opportunity for growth and self-renewal, and if you close your heart to stay safe, you’ll never experience the joy of love and connection. I’m no expert at this but I’ll keep practising and awakening through awareness – the practise of Yoga.
“So every time you have an energy that needs to be transformed, like jealousy or fear, do something to care for this energy, this negative energy, if you do not want this energy to destroy you. Touch the seed of mindfulness and then all of its energy will be able to establish itself in your ‘living room’, like a mother tenderly embracing your pain. With that energy of mindfulness, you are doing the true practise of meditation with regard to your pain, your emotions.”
True Love, Thich Nhat Hanh