My BFF and I have agreed that if we gathered every self help book we’ve ever bought, read, shared and applied (at least temporarily) to our lives into a pile, and set it on fire, we would have a towering bonfire that could be seen from the space station. We lived our entire adult lives, until the past few years, reading up on how to be better wives, happier people, better wives, more authentic women, better wives, peaceful supportive sisters… you get the drift.
I told myself over and again that I was not a “good enough” wife, friend, daughter or human being. Self help books, self help dvds, self help audios, self help gurus added to my feelings of less than. If I just did this, or talked like this, or believed this, or followed the 1,001 steps to achieving enlightenment and joy, my life would be grand. I would be the envy of the universe, I would acquire a halo and everyone would worship at the feet of my perfect self.
I look back and want to slap myself for such foolishness.
How in the world can a self help book, or anything of that nature, help you when you don’t even know the “self” you’re trying to help? Seriously. My mind hopped around like popcorn in a hot skillet, my heart was defeated and my spirit exhausted from all my “self help” shenanigans.
Then I stumbled into yoga.
From my very first pathetic, yet heroic, practice with my Elena Brower DVD I knew I had discovered my Holy Grail. In those first 30 minutes, my mind calmed, my heart eased, and my body relaxed and stretched itself into a state of grace. I had found a safe haven, a place of peace to regroup and restore myself from the endless pointless drama of the world around me.
Despite the awkwardness of trying to watch the TV screen while I copied the asanas, I fell in love, totally and completely. My heart welcomed what became a moving prayer to me, a balletic meditation. I felt the bullshit fade into the background and the truth of me rise. The movements, and pauses, and holding stillness, and bringing gratitude, and focusing my intentions for my day created a world for me that I never wanted to leave. A world I would fight for if need be.
I learned to accept my imperfection as a unique work of art created to experience the beauty of life.
I learned to feel my heart, see the world with compassion and hope, and love the body I’d neglected into a better state of being. I began to accept that sometimes circumstances are shitty, but it doesn’t mean I have to reflect those circumstances in my behavior to myself and others. I looked inside and saw that I was beautiful, I was strong and I mattered in the smallest and greatest scheme of things. I found that no one had authority over me unless I handed it over, and I refused to ever do that again.
Yoga showed me the reflection of my soul, the beauty of my heart, and I fell in love…with me.