I feel lighter.
For the past two years I have been working on healing my habit patterns, my deep Saṅkhāras, and on pulling up all the muck that I never knew was there when I was younger. Anxiety, rage, sadness, confusion; these emotions came on strong last summer and it’s been a long journey observing them, allowing them to come up and then letting them go. But, it has been amazingly worth it. I am in this phase now, that I know will also pass, of being on the upswing. It is during these times of flow that I like to look back at all that I have learned.
Everything in my life that once was, isn’t any longer. I shed my old skin, grew again and shed again. It seems as if every time I try to identify with ANYTHING, it seems to go away! Death is a good thing though. From Death comes Life and Rebirth.
So here are four things that I used to identify with that have died lately:
1. My physical yoga (asana) practice- For many years, I identified myself as a yogi. I went to yoga at least five days a week and I LOVED it. I never felt better than when I was practicing. I did all of the handstands, scorpions and chaturanga’s that I could make the time for. The whole reason I even got my Instagram account was to be a part of the yoga community; for at least a year, I was in a daily “challenge” on IG, posting pictures of myself in various twisted postures, trying to get as deep as a I could before the camera timer clicked. I got so into the daily recording that I lost the reason that I started practicing in the first place; to free myself from anxiety and get closer with my physical and spiritual bodies. I became a certified yoga instructor and I saw my own practice begin to fade as I started to hold space for others, my students. I got a pretty big injury and was forced off my mat. This time away allowed me to see how much growth comes in pure observation, and not so much Doing.
2. My relationships with family + friends- I have never had many friends. I have never been SUPER close to many people; it seemed like there has always been a wall up, within myself. Moving to Austin with my twin sister really broke down so many of my patterns of hanging out with others just to be social, even though I felt drained after each experience. Almost two years ago, right after my Yoga training and after I attended my first Vipassana course, something in me opened up. I saw so clearly that those “closest” to me, were not lifting me up. After visits, I didn’t feel inspired or loved; I felt hardly nothing or I felt frustrated. I began to look at how Truthful I was being to myself and others and quickly realized that VERY often I was saying or doing things that didn’t quite feel right. I would agree just to agree or hang out just to hang out- even if it didn’t FEEL GOOD. There wasn’t enough substance for me, in my relationships. So I slowly transitioned into dropping relationships that weren’t serving me, and trying to change relationships that meant a lot to me. With family members, I realized that I wasn’t being lifted or supported. I was still seen as a scrawny little girl and wasn’t being respected for the woman that I was working on becoming. So I changed the way that I spoke to my parents; my siblings. Things are still mending and healing but I have found more truthful conversation in the past year than I think I did my entire life.
3. My partnerships- I always thought I knew what I wanted in a partner, in a man. Honesty and spirituality and growth. I asked for that; and I got those things. I got enough honesty to last me a lifetime. I got enough spirituality and growth to write a book. On the outside, my relationship looked like the perfect balance of masculine and feminine; of fun experiences and meditating together. And those things were great; but they aren’t sustainable. My needs and wants have completely died from what they were 2 years ago. I have realized that it is in ME that love, spirituality and honesty stems from. A partner supports these qualities but I come to them on my own and don’t need anyone to “complete” those things for me. What I DO deserve and want and need is to be cherished. This feminine light has been turned on in me that was never there before and I know so clearly now what I WANT and what turns ME on, and it is the masculine to my feminine.
4. My career and self-identity- I moved to Austin with the hopes of working professionally in Sustainability. It was what I was passionate about since high school and I felt like it was the perfect fit. I got my “dream” job; I had a career in digital communications for a Sustainability office. I made lots of money for my age (more than I would have imagined) and had a REALLY easy workload. Life was good. I was able to work all day and teach yoga in the evenings. But I felt amazingly trapped. Here I was, sitting in this space for 8 hours, every week day. Doing what? I felt like I was missing life on the outside. I wanted to go to Barton Springs on a Monday at noon. I wanted to spend a morning painting and not checking emails. I knew that it’d be so easy for me to get stuck in that perfectly passive job; so I left it. I went against what we are taught; that a job gives you purpose. That a job is what you will do until you are too old to work, then you will stop working completely and start living your life. This didn’t make sense to me. So I got the guts to tell my boss that my work needed to align with my spiritual beliefs and that working in that office wasn’t the right thing for me. She fully supported me. In that moment of speaking my complete truth and having it be recognized and respected, I realized that Life really is like a game. And I get to move my piece all around the board if I want to, until I find a spot that fits.
So that’s what I’m doing. I am wading through sometimes murky, sometimes clear, waters of self-discovery and creativity. I am discovering my talents and my failures and am trying to learn from each. I am spending time with those that love and support me and am moving away from things that don’t feel right. I have never felt more scared, and more over-joyed in my life and that’s how I know that I am exactly where I need to be.