With the recent stress of family dynamics, I’d been holding a lot of tension in my body. And, because I haven’t gone for a massage in ages and let my fitness habits slide, I denied myself numerous opportunities to work out all the crap that built up in my neck and shoulders.
So, when I got up from my desk the other morning and did a half-hearted Sun Salutation, the relief I felt from head to toe was near-instantaneous, blissful. Somehow I’d forgotten how good it felt to move, to stretch and breathe. To release the pain I was holding in my body.
I was filled with a sense of profound calm and liberation and ‘rightness’. I relaxed, and stretched farther. It was a dance, and I felt weightless as the universe danced with me.
Yoga – the practice of moving into stillness – is a tremendous act of self-love. When we follow our passions and talents, nurse our creative spark, engage in art or theatre or music – all the things we do that nourish our souls or bring us closer to our true selves – we practice self-love.
Self-love is not so much a skill to be mastered, as a space to inhabit. A space that is wholly accepting of ourselves in the present, with all our darkness, ignorance, and limitations. And, it is a space we must inhabit if we are ever to be more accepting and loving of others; if we’re ever to make this world a better place.
Whether we’re speaking of life or creativity or asanas, force seldom succeeds.
When we let go, when we flow with what is rather than fight it, we free ourselves from pain and distress, and we discover new strengths; strengths that can only come from an attitude of surrender.
It is this seeming contradiction that Yoga makes clear.
The older I grow, the more it seems I’ve misunderstood what life was supposed to be about. I fought a lot of battles that weren’t mine, tried to be versions of people who were not me, because I couldn’t love what I saw in myself. So, how could I love what I saw in others?
So I find myself at quite the crossroads with perimenopause; the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes. I was overwhelmed by it all. But, the burden of uncertainty has shifted.
I’m going to do things differently now. I’m going to trust the process and my intuition, and follow where they lead.