“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ ” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
The other day I woke up made my coffee and started to write, but then something happened-or rather-nothing happened at all. I stared at a blank screen, my hands trying to find the right words to type for almost an hour before I realized that maybe I needed to express myself in a different way.
I felt completely empty. Burned out, wordless for my own life. I felt like what was the point? Just as I was about to give up on my writing for the day, I realized something so profound.
I paused and took a deep breath in and exhaled it out. It was in this moment that I needed to show up for myself. I teach others to show up for their self, but what about me-had I forgotten about showing up for myself?
I’ve been working on numerous writing projects, a book in the works, yoga clients, planning the logistics of my up coming travels, but I realized I wasn’t really showing up for myself in my grief as I much as I thought I was. I was pushing it aside telling it I would get to it when I was ready.
But then grief hit me like a ton of bricks and I no longer could write a single word. Grief couldn’t wait any longer for me so decided to show up in a way that I had to address what was going on internally. I no longer could write about grief, I needed to be with my grief.
Rather than become distracted by focusing on my output I needed to focus on my input, what was going on inside of me that was causing my writer’s block. Rather than give up I needed to take a moment to show up for myself.
So I stopped what I was writing and I walked down to my yoga studio. I lit a candle, sprayed my favorite aromatherapy on one of my favorite songs. I went through a gentle Vinyasa flow on my mat, focusing on becoming aware of my breath again.
And then unexpectedly I found myself in child’s pose crying. Tears kept running down and I just let them fall and I held myself through this process. I had so much to release that until I got down on my yoga mat I didn’t realize how much I needed to take off the mask and just be real with myself.
I sat with myself until I felt I had released what I needed to in that moment and then taking my time I got back up to continue my flow. When I came back down again to rest in child’s pose again the tears came back, but this time not as long. Once again I got myself back up and continued my flow.
This is the process of life. Some days are going to hit us like a brick. It’s going to be hard to get out of bed, let alone put a smile on our face as we go throughout our day. This is why some people become alcoholics, workaholics, shopaholics, because they fear the feeling of showing up for themselves. The thought terrifies them that they bury themselves in something else to keep them distracted from what is going on inside.
Healing requires we become present with all that is. The simple act of showing up for ourselves on a daily basis creates a vortex of energy that says, “I love you just how you are.”
Healing requires showing up for yourself, no matter how “bad” you feel. There are days where the most loving yoga practice you can give yourself is sitting in child’s pose for however long you need to. Your body knows what it needs to heal and release what no longer serves you.
You see, emotions come and go likes waves. They are impermanent just like life and you aren’t always going to feel this way, but it is important when you do feel like running away to slow down. There is nothing wrong with you, rather this is a moment of deep internal growth that is going to shift you into transforming your grief, your pain, your suffering into something that is healing and loving.
You must hold yourself through this process with as much love and non-judgement as you can-because sometimes it’s really painful to release the layers of ourself that keep us looking like we have it “together” on the outside. Or hiding behind the false illusion that we can shove our feelings into a box and if we pack it tight enough they’ll never come out again.
Showing up for yourself takes work and practice. It takes a lot of patience and most of all it takes self love. The hardest yoga practice is to simply show up on your mat every single day even if it means you just sit on your mat with yourself and nothing else. This is yoga.
It’s easy to show up for another person, for a job, for someone else’s grief, but to show up for yourself-that takes courage and deep love for yourself.
So I ask for you to just show up for yourself in your moments of pain and feelings of discomfort. I can assure you in time it will all flow together, but you must take it one breath at a time.
Healing isn’t always a beautiful process, but it is a transformative one. Healing is not about getting to an end goal as it is learning to ride the waves of your feelings and emotions with humility and grace.
Yoga isn’t about the postures rather it’s about the ability to connect with yourself and all that is present inside and out. Not judging or shaming yourself for what you are feeling and experiencing-simply observing and letting go.
Childs pose has been one of the most powerful postures I have ever learned and I continue to come back to it as a way to help me remember how far I have come. My body is not my enemy, rather it is a peaceful tool for transformation.
There is no end to healing, but in time it does bring you peace. Peace to just be who you are.
Today I ask that you-what have you done to show up for yourself?