June 19

You Want me to Bend Like How?!

I thought I had done a pretty good job over the past while of getting to know and love myself on a deeper level. It’s always something that is a continuous process, but it was a few months ago that my journey of the self reached a new level.

A friend of mine suggested I try a Hot Yoga class. I had been going to the gym for a number of months, but I needed to break up my routine a little bit and find some kind of balance. Crunches, weight training, and cardio are one thing…

But yoga?! Really? Doesn’t that require me to be all bendy and shit in front of other people?

I’ll admit, I was feeling more confident with myself as a result of reaching some of my fitness goals… but when I stepped foot into that first class, I felt a wee bit vulnerable all over again.

It’s going to be full of super flexible people.
I can barely even touch my toes.

Downward dog? Vinyasa? WTF is that?
Balancing poses? I can barely stand on two feet, let alone one. 

Not to mention… Hot Yoga… where practice takes place in a room heated between 40 and 44 degrees. This should be interesting… considering I’ve been so lucky with inheriting my father’s sweat glands (seriously, the man sweats sitting still).

That wasn’t how it was at all.

Nevermind… it was… all that and more. But there were several things that I ‘thought’ it was about, and wasn’t at all…

It’s not a competition. It’s not about who can go all the way into a full Camel Pose (———–>) without feeling nauseous (not gonna lie, I almost puked the first time… and I didn’t even get a quarter of the way into it). It’s not about how flexible you are. And it’s certainly not about the veteran at the front of the class, or the newbie in the back corner. It’s not about the girl who’s LuLu Lemon shorts look better than my Walmart shorts. And it’s not about the dude with the hairy chest, either.

It’s about YOU.

It is one continuous flow of energy of individuals who are there for the exact same reason – self acceptance and self betterment.

When I first started practicing yoga, I had a number of ailments. Stress pain was one of them. Some days it was so prominent in my neck that my only solace was sleep. My wrists and hands were in chronic pain for months from working at a computer. Let’s not forget about anxiety. Some days I would feel so overwhelmed with everything I wanted to get done in a week, that I would end up only worrying and doing nothing at all.

The health benefits are one thing… but the lessons that derive from it, I’ve learned, are fundamental to every single aspect of life.

When you practice yoga, it becomes literally impossible to think about anything else but yourself. You become acutely aware of every single feeling taking place in your body… and you have no choice but to examine your own self.

I remember in once instance I arrived late, and one of the few spots left was one closest to the mirror.

Crap.

I had been coming long enough that I’ve gotten better at the poses… but in front of the mirror? Shit, now I am really going to have to ‘see’ myself. For the next 90 minutes, I had no choice but to stare into my own eyes. And I had no choice but to embrace every aspect of myself at that very moment.

When I saw myself falter, I had no choice but to stare it down, and improve upon it.

Not only does it teach self acceptance… but acceptance of the present moment. There is no past and there is no future. You do not think about the last pose you just did, or the next one coming up. Each one requires so much attention and focus that there is nothing but the present moment.

Then there is the balance, the patience, and the focus. I have never not had any of these… but only to a degree. Practicing yoga has brought them to another level… which have relayed into both my personal and professional life.  And yes, now I can stand on one foot, too.

There are also lessons in determination and persistence. Often times, you find yourself in a position where you think you can’t possibly reach any higher or go any further. But you do. It’s about embracing challenge.

And quite possibly one of my favorites… is the loss of all negativity… and an increasing ability to just ‘be’.  I’m not really sure how to explain this one… but I have found that any negative energy I’ve harbored in the past is gone. Yoga is a self awakening… and with that comes the ability to love, and the inability to judge.

The ‘single’ journey has been pretty rewarding for me… but adding this element has added to it more than words can explain. In fact, I think for the first time I’m lost for words… and that doesn’t happen often.

On that note… it’s true that everything must first come from within… but sometimes it takes more than just your own self to do so…

Huge thank you to the crew Hot Yoga on 20th.

 

 

March 7

The Journey to Commission

I think that I’ve been in love once.

I say that I ‘think’ I was – because in order to truly be in love with someone else, you have to also be in love with yourself.

I wasn’t.

Nonetheless, there were butterfly feelings and moments of giddiness, and there was even a spark in my eye. I remember the feelings of being in a crowd and no one else mattered. I remember how we made even the smallest things into the most exciting adventures. I was sure that I had wanted to spend the rest of my life with that person.

It didn’t end on the best terms, and for a long time afterwards I only associated that relationship with the heartache it brought… but now as I look back, I mainly remember the good times, and can’t help but smile and be thankful.

I’m also thankful that it’s over.

No doubt I did love the person, and a part of me always will. But, knowing what I know about myself now – I’m not sure if it was ME that was actually in love. I think I was in love with the feeling like this relationship finally made me feel ‘defined’.

Defined by someone else.

At that point of my life, I had no idea that definition comes from within. Within?! What the hell does that mean?!

I knew that he brought out a lot of good qualities in me – and he made me feel great about myself. But, I can’t say that I was myself around him – because at the time, I really didn’t know who ‘myself’ was. For the most part, I was ignorant to the lack of happiness that was on the inside. I was blinded by the notion that since someone else made me feel happy,  this MUST be ‘happiness’, therefore “I” must be happy too.

I wasn’t that young… in my mid twenties  – and although I did have more life experience than the average person my age, I was still floundering through life trying to come up with a ‘place’ for myself. There was a point with him that I believed that I had found that ‘place’ and I had stopped challenging myself. I now had someone to love me – what more did I need? He always would – and that’s all that matters, right?!

Wrong.

It took me well over a year to let it all go. Maybe even two. I remember listening to Selena Ryder’s song ‘Weak in the Knees’ on repeat for days – even months on end. (Have a listen – it’s a great song!) I remember hanging on to all the momentos, even trying to be around the same mutual friends we shared – in a plea of desperation to hang on to even a morsel of that ‘happiness’. More than once, I even toyed with the idea of trying to go for a second chance.

I was torturing myself. And quite honestly, I would have likely ended up right back where I started.

I’m not really sure at what point in time the whole ‘journey’ started – maybe it was on a dateless night reading one too many psychology books – but I do remember it hitting me like a ton of bricks.

I remember that ‘AHA’ moment. The day that I decided to let it go.

I actually remember singing in my car that day. I sing (awfully) in my car all the time – but something was different was about that time. It was full of energy, like all the thoughts I had were escaping through my mouth. And it WASN’T to Selena Ryder.

The day that I realized I was FREE.

I know that I bounced back and forth a few times and I had moments feeling like I really didn’t know if what I was feeling was right. In a way I felt guilty that I was letting it go – but I also realized that I was giving far too much attention to yesterday, and not the moment I was in.

My only way to move forward, was to… well, move forward.

I know that relationships are meant for two people to grow together. But I also think that it happens when growth comes from within, first. In our case, neither one of us experienced either.

What happens if who we are is based off the ideals of someone else?

How can we depend on others for happiness if we can’t first depend on ourselves?

If we don’t know who we are, who do we become when we are left with ourselves?

These are questions I spent the last few years answering. Undoubtedly, single life has been A LOT longer than I would have anticipated – or have really wanted. Life is short admittedly, there are times I wish I had someone to share things with. Someone to share my goals with, someone to take spontaneous road trips with, or someone just to sit in silence with. I definitely need someone to go skydiving with – because it is a goal… one that I’m much to chicken shit to do myself. But, at the same time – hanging out with myself has been quite the adventure in its own right.

My life is far from perfect – and I’m still learning a ton of lessons the hard way and I’m always getting to know myself. The only difference now – is that I know how to live WITH myself.

Now that I’ve got that covered – there’s a much better chance that I can live with someone else, too.

No longer am I looking for ‘definition’ – but rather ‘commission’… a little something extra on top of I already have.