I’ve been putting off writing my monthly newsletter for a couple of weeks now, simply because I couldn’t focus on what to write about in this month’s article. I listlessly flicked through the Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, hoping for some drop of wisdom to jump out, but nothing pulled me in. I was too distracted by what was going on in my personal life. Then it hit me today… I should just write about what I’m going through!
Striving to be as authentic as possible is really important to me, especially as we live in a world where this is often not readily supported. In the spirit of ‘being the change you want to see’ (thanks, Gandhi!) I aim to share as honestly as possible my own struggles and joys, in order to inspire others to do the same and to find the courage to speak their own truth, even when this seems at odds with societal expectations and convention. We are all gloriously unique, and will only find true self-fulfilment when we embrace this and begin discovering and unapologetically living that truth, rather than trying to fit into prescribed boxes that don’t suit us.
So, part of my truth is to try and overcome the stiff-upper-lip Britishness/modern-day humanness of not admitting our own weaknesses by sharing my dark times as well as my wonderful times. I am well aware that this raw emotional sharing often makes people feel very uncomfortable, but then change is always uncomfortable and, as I see it, our inability to share our truth with each other, especially when it comes to emotions, has got us into rather a sticky situation as a species, where loneliness, superficiality and confusion are rife, and I sense a deep hunger rising within us for a change in this respect.
In addition, I am aware that the reluctance to share weakness with others often stems from the competitive tendency that we have fallen into as a modern, achievement-focused species, which awards approval based on what we do not rather than who we truly are.
I am also aware that this truth I feel and share often makes me sound quite negative about our species, but in fact the opposite is true. It is because I believe in us so very deeply, and know it doesn’t have to be this way, that I feel committed to being part of a positive shift in how we interact and communicate with each other, by re-establishing our sense of connectedness and allowing emotions and heartfelt truth their rightful place as essential components of healthy and happy living. This is, in essence, what yoga is all about really – union, unity, connection; the realisation that we are all one, there is no separation. Big stuff, I know, but I feel it so very deeply and I see that others feel it too on some level – those random acts of kindness and conscious self-sacrifice that we as a species are uniquely capable of on the planet can only come from such a place. I believe love and connection are our natural state yet for some reason we have had to learn and teach a different way and now suffer from the resultant enforced separation and competition. Yet, despite this, we can and, I believe, will inevitably eventually return to our true state, through self-preservation if nothing else. And the return journey will be so much easier than the original tangent, for it being so natural to us. I believe there is no limit to how deeply we can love ourselves and each other, but we will never plumb these depths by keeping our truths locked inside.
Anyway, I am off on one of my involved tangents! So, to sum up, I find courage today to put myself out on an honest limb of sharing this truth I feel in full awareness and, in addition, I share with readers that I’ve been struggling ni my personal life of late! Yes, I do existentially and experientially believe that, underneath all of our negative illusions, we are pure love and light. But that doesn’t mean love and light abound in my life all the time! We have to keep moving through the illusions, learning the lessons they are here to teach us and, meanwhile, dealing with whatever pain they throw up. And, even whilst having the awareness that the pain is ultimately an illusion that stems from a false sense of separation – it’s still pain, and it feels very real indeed as I struggle to deal with it. My life is unravelling somewhat as I write this, the familiar gradually dropping away. And what will be left? The thought is terrifying and exhilarating in equal measures. I feel like a hermit crab that’s outgrown its shell and is struggling, naked and vulnerable, across the sand, desperately seeking its new home. I know good times lie ahead, they always do. But I am not afraid to own my sense of doubt and fear during this transition.
I don’t think even the bravest souls ever lose their fear, they just deal with it well and know it’s a tool to sharpen the mind and keep the focus on growth. What is known cannot be unknown and we can never go back to where we were before. These things I know. So I will keep crawling towards my bigger shell, and know that, at some point again in the future, that shell will become too small for me and I will have to make that terrifying scramble towards my next home once more. But of course our only true home is the one we house deep within us, and each leap to a bigger shell is really just a step closer towards the infinite wonder of our own authentic being. And I wouldn’t have it any other way… 🙂
So, whether you’re on your yoga mat struggling through your nemesis pose or off the mat facing something equally challenging, just keep going full steam ahead, forging onwards through the sand, and know that if you do, a bigger and better you lies on the other side.