Laura – this one is for you.
I just came off of a weekend of yoga teacher training (I haven’t forgotten that I owe some of you a post on that!). Teacher training always gets me deep in my feels, and it’s almost like a high I have to come down from to face reality again on Monday. This training weekend was particularly special, though, because I taught my very first class with a partner who has become a dear friend to me. It felt like winning the lottery. On top of that, I caught a class tonight taught by the owner of my yoga studio who is also one of the best teachers I know and a woman who oozes strength, love, and elegance. Her theme for class was so right for what I was planning on writing tonight. It was about appreciating and loving yourself, and knowing that you have to live through the tough parts of life, the challenges that come your way, and welcome them. Seize each challenge as an opportunity, and you will come out on the other end stronger than you ever imagined.
I am a happy person. Especially by my teenage students, I get asked very frequently how I am ‘this happy’ or if I have always been ‘this happy.’ The truth, as far back as I can remember, is yes. I have always been ‘this happy.’ That doesn’t mean I haven’t had my moments of darkness. None of us can escape the traumas of human life. Those of you who know me know that this time last year, I was in a strange life place, trying to figure myself out. I was attached to an idea, a future, a person, and a plan…and we all know how much I love my plans. When things started to crumble, I started asking a lot of questions. I don’t know how to explain it without getting too into it, other than to say I felt like I was living in a hazy reality where I could both see who I was and who I wanted to be, but I could also see who I was trying to be in order to fit someone else’s mold. I was trying so hard to go against my truest self that I completely lost myself. And for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel happy at all. I felt utterly terrified. But the further I let myself get away from that attachment, that plan, that future, the more I realized it was never my future or my anchor to hold onto. And as cheesy and as silly as it might come across, my yoga practice and teacher training has been a huge part of that realization. I feel free. I am finally, finally loving myself exactly where I sit, and I am finally, finally letting go of needing to be anything for anyone. I am healthy, I am stronger than I have ever given myself credit for, and I am finally so content in my life, completely by myself and standing on my own two feet. This is me. I am enough. And so are you.
So yes, I was always ‘this happy,’ but I feel like I allowed my light to be dimmed for so long, truly without even knowing it, that it was silently building momentum. And now I’m tearing and clawing my way out of myself loud and proud, and I have so much love and light to share. When I was teaching yesterday for the first time, I felt a huge love for the strong and stunning women I am learning with and practicing beside. I felt honored to lead them through a 60 minute practice. And I felt a deep respect for our beautiful teachers who are leading us through this journey, supporting us and holding our hearts in their hands through this intense 200 hour training. For those of you who think yoga is just about poses, which is what I used to think, stay tuned for a reality check on that.
For me, teaching is a great way to share my light and my love. Helping people is what I feel like I was born to do, whether it’s through public education, yoga teaching, getting my personal training certification, and whatever else life might bring my way. I ignored it for a while, but after giving subtle hints and gentle suggestions, eventually life slaps you right in the face. We all have a light, a gift to give, and the world can take it from us so easily if we let it. We allow ourselves to be brought down, to believe in the worst, to create situations in our minds that are inaccurate or will never happen. We give other people the power to drag us down and we put all of our eggs into baskets that were never meant to hold them. I know this because I am guilty, too. There are a lot of heavy things out there, and the weight can be a lot to bear. But if we choose to dig deep, to fight for what makes us who we are, if we demand to be cherished for exactly who we are and for what makes us shine…and most importantly, if we look ourselves in the soul and forgive ourselves for being imperfect, for being human – if we love ourselves right where we sit – we lighten our own loads. We also lighten our loads by lifting others up when they need it the most. You have no idea when your smile, hug, or even your hello can be the very particle of love someone needs to cradle their aching heart.
In order to counterbalance the darkness, we need to keep the light. We need to be the light. We have to share the light.
For those of you who love a life soundtrack like I do – check out ‘Worth Fighting For’ by Emily Hearn. It’s about you.