You know when you're watching TV and a commercial comes on touting the benefits of a wonder drug that will make you feel better? Often, the people in the ad are smiling, attractive, well groomed and totally game for a stroll on the beach, a bike ride with a friend or relaxing in a bathtub looking out on the ocean. It's enough to make you think that whatever pill they're taking must be good! From a young age I remember being fed the theory that taking a pill, going on a diet, signing up for a self-help course or even booking that vacation was going to be the secret ingredient to make me want to frolic in the grass and feel great about life!
In our culture we are groomed early on to look for quick fixes and immediate gratification to soothe our wounds or make us feel worthy. And now with social media, the constant barrage of false perceptions of beauty and happiness is everywhere and can often leave us feeling like our lives are not perfect enough. Of course they aren't perfect. Life is bumpy. Moments of happiness are fleeting, and it's definitely OK to feel sad and shed some tears when we need to. One of the things that has been a slow-learned lesson for me, and one I continue to re-learn, is when things are hard, they won't stay hard forever. And while there are lessons in these difficult moments, and they often feel like they will never end, something always shifts and it gets better. This perspective has helped me notice the moments of joy and ease that come as easily as they go. It's helped me feel grateful for the abundance in my life and how working to stay present and attuned to what is happening right in front of me will keep me from traveling into forward and backward realities that can foster regret, anxiety, and a whole other host of unpleasant feelings. And it has been primarily the deepening of my yoga practice that has helped me to keep remembering this.
It's the returning to, again and again, that feeling of connection to breath, body awareness and ease that reminds me that even when you're sitting in chair pose for two minutes that it will, in fact, come to an end and that I can feel the strength in my legs build, my heart pumping, my breath full, and be in a state of joy and gratitude even when things are hard. I was talking to a friend recently who reminded me that many of us look to other people or things, whether it be yoga teachers, therapists, shamans, physicians, miracle pills an amazing vacation, to heal our wounds. And while other people can certainly act as mirrors, reflecting ourselves back in a way we can see more clearly or hold loving space for us, it is ultimately up to us to heal ourselves. We can hop from a body worker to oils and tinctures to a trek through the Himalayas searching for relief from our pain, but if we're not actually willing to sit with it ourselves, to let in bubble up and be processed and released, we will just continue to search for the next person or thing, coming up short every time. It is our job to heal ourselves.
It's hard. It hurts. It's brave. It's built on trust and faith in yourself that the next breath will come, the chair pose will come to an end, this pain will pass. And that it will come again. But, having gone through it already, when it comes back maybe the sting won't hurt as much. Maybe the knowledge gained from the first confrontation of will buoy the reaction. Maybe each time our wounds are revealed we learn a little bit more about how we heal from it. And then we do. And when we remember that it is up to ourself—and only ourself—to do the deep, explorative and often painful work of healing, we build resilience. Of course, having great support helps. Through friends, healing practitioners, animals, nature, mindful practices like meditation and yoga, we can be better held as we walk through the fire. We can use these support systems to help us stand in our fullest self and experience whatever is to come. This month, we explore the concept of support, particularly how our yoga and meditation practices can provide not only pathways toward healing but provide tools to utilize when the pain or discomfort comes. Our beautiful studio space, held by our skilled instructors, is here for you. Come as you are. I look forward to seeing you on your mat soon, lending a hand where I can and holding the space for us all to heal and step into our most abundant and grounded selves. In union, ~ Shoshana