My purpose in life is to be a positive voice, inspiring others to live a joyous life of their choosing. For a moment, that caused me to contemplate deleting this post before I shared it. But in the interest of being completely open and authentic about my journey, and encourage others to do the same, I decided to stay true to one of my life mantras and post it anyway - always choosing love over fear.
If you’re reading this, then you already know that I like to share a lot on social media, particularly since I moved to St.Thomas. Quotes, my personal feelings, moments of gratitude, articles, and a ton of yoga pics are posted to my channels a few times a day in order to share my path and hopefully inspire others to live their dreams. And while everything I give is 100% authentic, I have come to realize that it may not be portraying a complete picture of the journey. In fact, the story I was telling you was not quite different from the story I was telling myself.
This started to come to light after a barrage of “Your life is so perfect,” “You have it so easy,” “Are you ever in a bad mood?” And my fave, “All you do is yoga, boat around and vacation.” Ok yes, most of my current life involves yoga, boating and travel (something I consciously created for my experience). And yes, I am, most of the time, in a great mood and very happy. But guess what? I am also a human. A human who hurts once in a while, has fears and attachments, and experiences pain. I feel like it wouldn't be fair to post all my exciting adventures without being real about my not-so-glamorous moments.
Tonight I attended my first Satsang event on island. For those unfamiliar, Satsang is a gathering of people to honor awakening through listening, discussion, meditation, sharing, mantras and music. The turnout was substantial (the woman responsible for initiating these gatherings nine years ago is leaving island next week), and lucky for me, it was held at Point Wellness, a place I consider a second home. Point Wellness is where I teach aerial silks and yoga – I started practicing there in January and whether I’m creating, teaching, or simply relaxing, I have always felt a strong connection to the space. Upon arriving and seeing a ton of new people there, a rush of warmth came over me. “Yay!” I thought, “I get to share this amazing room with spiritually-conscious people I already love, and a ton of new ones I’m about to love.” This was one of the biggest groups I had seen for an event like this, but I felt surprisingly comfortable, excited and ready.
During a guided meditation, we were asked to think of a desire, whether it be more of something – a material thing, love, spirituality – or to rid ourselves of something – difficulty in a relationship, fear, anxiety. From that desire we were told to find the feeling place (a practice I always use in manifestation), and focus our energy there. We were given a towel to scream into, tissues to cry into, room to move or dance, it was a completely open forum. Music played and many went deep into their release – as did I. Almost immediately, tears poured down my face as I realized I had been storing some pain in dark places and never gave it a chance to come to light and release.
I had been denying myself the duality of life, of light and dark. Over the past several weeks, whenever I felt hurt, I buried it in gratitude and joy (both of which I do have limitless amounts), rather than first acknowledging it and being with the pain. I realized that I was not healing myself with gratitude. I was covering it up, pushing any darkness way down to where I thought I’d never feel it again. “I am a happy person, I don’t need to be sad about this or that, I live in paradise with beautiful friends and joy all around me! Just move on and be happy.” I let others assume I was always going to be easygoing, positive, and happy for them, no matter what. I created that role, stuck myself in it and ceased to stand up for what was right for me. I treated myself as though I had to fit into this specific category of only being completely joyous and bright. No exceptions were allowed.
"As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.” – Hermes Trismegistus
Over the past weeks I have gone through a series of experiences that were not all sunshine and yachting. I have lost friends that I thought I truly knew and loved. I have hurt from deeply missing my loved ones back home in the states. I have made silly mistakes and put heavy guilt on myself over them. I have been lonely and scared. There have been times I felt pushed too far, taken advantage of, stranded, drained, and bullied (this is not to discount the times where I felt uplifted, blessed, supported and loved, of course, for those are far more frequent).
After a ton of tears and a generous release of painful emotion I had stored within, we were guided through a period of calming, followed by a portion called “meditative thinking.” They asked us to focus on one area of our life we would like to work on, one very specific area, and to start asking questions, directed to Source. Maybe we asked the same question over and over, or maybe one would lead to another. I started to ask, “What am I doing that is triggering these painful emotions and causing me to bury them deep inside?” “How can I completely release myself from these past experiences and avoid them in the future?” “What part of me is out of alignment that is causing this suppression of pain, and then the resurfacing of that pain manifested as a new experience?” “How do I break this cycle?”
We were told to pause and see if answers came. Mine were clear and concise, and so obviously already within me that it inspired me to share this story with you. You already have your answers, just like I had mine. Source flows through you, you simply have to allow it.
What became very clear to me was that in each of those painful experiences that seemed to stack up on the other, I was not honoring my full, true self. I realized I had been playing a role, sometimes “for others” but most often simply holding myself to an unfair standard. I was so attached to this idea that I am going to be 100% happiness, gratitude and joy that life was slapping me in the face with the other side of the coin. I needed to be reminded to acknowledge the dark with the light, and that it was ok.
“When we shed all of our stories, with their limiting roles and confining identities, and become a mystery unto ourselves, we’re practicing non-attachment.” – Alberto Villoldo, The Four Insights
Looking back with an awakened perspective, I realized there had been answers all along. Last week, I had a dream that I was overwhelmed with a “darkness” that had me feeling freezing cold and frightened. In my dream, I stayed with it. As painful and scary as it was (I could feel physical pain like something was sucking the life out of me), I knew I had to sit with it a minute, shivering and afraid, and then go seek warmth. I wondered why, in a dream, I needed to first be with the darkness before I went to a soul mate to warm me with a blanket.
A few days before that dream, I not-so-randomly wandered into a shop called The Ninth Chakra in Miami. I bought a couple crystals and before walking out, I found myself drawn to a little Amazonite bracelet with a Yin Yang charm. I love symbols – I have an OM tattoo on my wrist, Hamsas, hooks, hearts, etc. But a Yin Yang? I had never been drawn to them before. Regardless, I already knew this $9 bracelet had chosen me, so I bought it. I even started to read more about the Yin Yang to see why it showed up for me so strongly. And there it was – the duality, the light and the dark.
The lesson my intuition, higher self, Source or whatever you like to call it was trying to show was this: I am allowed to be with my own sadness or loneliness and still be a beacon of love, light and hope for others. Denying yourself the option to feel pain is unrealistic and unfair. Acknowledging the good and the bad, then actively releasing the bad, is the process I will choose moving forward. From there is where I can feel whole and truly serve others with genuine love and light.
An even more simple lesson? Wake up! Your intuition is always guiding you – through your dreams, your subconscious, every single one of those “I’m being pulled like a magnet to this” feelings is trying to tell you something! Be in allowance to the well-being that surrounds you. Let go of your story and let it flow through you instead. Allow yourself to be guided.
Again, this story is not to complain or to deny the excitement I feel to be exactly where I am on a daily basis. It is in the interest of being completely authentic and open to those who are interested, to share both sides of my journey. To share with you the very real lessons I learn along the way. I have made new friends, forgiven myself and others, made great decisions, felt loved, warm, honored, respected, and taken care of far more often than I have felt otherwise. And for that, I am truly grateful and blessed.
Thank you big me, for pushing the little me in the right direction, and having the perseverance and patience to keep pushing until I grow. The light (and dark) in me honors the light (and dark) in you. Namaste.