“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” Pema Chodron
I didn’t go to my first yoga class until after I had my first baby 15 years ago. I wish I could say that I was immediately hooked and never wavered but that is just not how I roll. My greatest life lessons have typically needed to come at me in many different ways, from a slew of different places, people and situations. It needs to do this, on repeat, for what feels like a ridiculous amount of years for me to finally catch on. My resistance to what is good for me is quite impressive, rather unfortunate and all together extremely HUMAN. We, as humans, tend avoid ourselves at all costs. It is just what we do. We are interesting little buggers, aren’t we?
So, being that resistant and all together quick to run from her self little twenty something I was, that first shavasana got me good. Laying there, after all that heart opening, hip opening, body mind connection, breathing deeper than I ever remembered before and being so damn present in my skin……. I felt something. It was warm and real and quiet and true.
So I bailed.
Never the less, the seed had been planted. I now was in the know. I knew something, even if I didn’t know what that something was. This yoga thing kept calling me back. I started and stopped practicing a zillion times. Always missing it when I stopped and always coming home, even with the familiar resistance, to that place of breath, movement and mindfulness when I started again. Each time I would remember, even if I didn’t know what I was remembering.
In my more recent years, it has been as if life decided that if I was going to continue to be so thick headed, it would simply up the ante a bit. My marriage, my relationship with my body, past hurts, fresh new hurts, parenting, finances, lost relationships and some good ole fashion crappy life circumstances….all did a great job of making it pretty clear that running wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
It was with this realization that avoiding myself was no longer and option, that I remembered. I could go back to yoga.
This time quickly felt very different than it ever had before. I was now aching for all that was warm and real and quiet and true. I showed up when my body was in a literal knot. I wasn’t sleeping. I was anxious All. The. Time. My shoulders were hunched and my chest literally ached with scrunched up-ness. I was scared to open my arms wide. I was scared I would crack.
I showed up anyway.
It wasn’t as if the angels started singing or that a light shone down upon me or that I had an glorious dramatic epiphany. It was way more throw on those yoga pants that are crumbled on the floor of my closet, an all out search for a shirt that would cover my ever growing butt and not let all my good hang out in down dog, try to get my one day past needing a wash and weeks passed needing my roots done hair back, splash some cold water on my face to feel like a part of the waking world, pinch my no time for makeup Irish cheeks, run past the kids yelling back to tell them that they can watch whatever the hell they want until I got back BECAUSE I was going to do whatever in God’s name was needed to get done to get my mother effin’ ass out the door.
The why didn’t even matter to me. Yoga is good for you, right? We are supposed to do things that are good for us. That’s what all the books say. So nobody could fight me on this one. Plus, my body kept bringing me back. It was as if my body knew, before the rest of me, that there was something waiting for me on that mat. I listened. My butt had to get on that mat. Period.
Being in a place of fear that you might crack, although incredibly annoying and painful, turns out to be a beautifully powerful place. The white noise is drown out. You instinctively begin an opening that you can either spend your time trying to escape (a route I frequented for the most of my days up until now) or you can listen to what sounds are left in the absence of the white noise. You can, despite yourself, begin to tune in to the song that’s been humming in your heart since, forever. You learn it’s just been waiting for the chance that you may someday learn to sing along.
My heart and my body knew long before I figured it out. This thing that I had been trying to avoid for so long, was exactly the place where I was going to find what I was looking for. Each time I rolled out that mat, there it was again….that weird & funky but undeniable knowing. No more running. If I wanted to get unstuck, I had stick with myself. If I wanted to breathe comfortably, I had to breathe through the discomfort. If I wanted to hear what was next, I had to listen.
It is still uncomfortable sometimes and it is, almost always, still awkward. I may forever bring the awkward to my practice. (Long live the awkward!) But little by slowly as I keep moving and listening & breathing and moving more…. I’ve started to find the strength and grounding I need to simply, open. I haven’t cracked yet.
Today, I am committed to listening. I am committed to sticking with myself and with you. As you meet yourself on your mat, I will hold that warm, real, quiet, and true (no matter how uncomfortable and with a solid touch of awkward – keeping it real) space for you. The opportunity for me to train to become a yoga teacher came at the worst moment. No money, no time, no idea how it could work but …..the knowing. I had learned how to listen. It has changed everything. Being able to share the practice through teaching is an honor I never expected but am insanely grateful for.
Today I move, breathe, listen, and serve – on repeat. I let yoga do it’s thing. I let it remind me of what I already know.