Be willing to come apart. For years the thought of this sounded terrifying! To give up the image that I have my shit together. To allow others to see me as I really am, to drop the masks I wear each day, and to be completely vulnerable, seemed overwhelming, terrifying, and at the same time I also remember this idea seemed exciting. If I were to allow myself to just be me, would others still like me? Would I have any friends, or would I end up alone and isolated.
Yes, these are some of the thoughts that went through my mind.
Then I decided, if this scared me, then I had to take a deeper look into these thoughts. Where were they coming from? And why when I speak them out loud do they sound ridiculous. Why wouldn’t people like me for being me. So, I got quiet and began to ponder where these thoughts were originating from. I was able to pinpoint a memory from my childhood where I felt unaccepted, different, left out, and completely humiliated. On the school bus home in kindergarten another child began making fun of me for being Jewish, screaming out that I had horns, that there was something wrong with me for being who I was.
My mentor and teacher has taught me to pause, and to give myself permission to experience feelings that rise up when you bring yourself back to a painful period in your life. He says when you allow yourself to feel, is when we began to heal. Feeling is so hard for me, I push it away, avoid it at any cost. But, I have learned this technique does not work, it has only created numbness and apathy. So this time I decided to sit and stay with these feelings as I knew this would be the only way to truly grow as a person and understand this fear of being vulnerable. Staying with the feelings created an opening for empathy and compassion to my younger self, and I acknowledged to continue to react from this place would be child like, and it was time let this story go. This story that being different was unacceptable. The question I propose in class to my clients. what’s possible if you could let this thought or belief go? Often my gut reaction is I don’t know. But, I have learned I do know, I just have to seek deep inside myself for the answers. The answer for me was self-acceptance and to have the confidence to be vulnerable, even if it meant I might not be accepted by everyone.
To come apart for me is to take a deeper look at the self, and own my self-limiting thoughts and beliefs. To recognize the effect they are having on my life and how these thoughts are impacting my feelings and my actions. It is said, that the way we treat others is a direct reflection of how we treat ourselves. Therefore, if we are unable to accept the self, then it would explain why there is so much hate in our world.
Ahimsa is the first of the yamas. Ahimsa means respect for all living things and avoidance of violence toward others. To be a yogi, to practice yoga is not just doing a set of physical postures, but to also follow the other seven limbs of yoga. To practice Ahimsa is to be kind and accepting of others, I believe this starts with each of us. As we develop more self-acceptance it is reason to believe based on modern psychology that we would become more accepting of others. So why not dig deeper, look at yourself, be willing to come apart, and let go of the thoughts that are not serving you, replace them with a new way of being. Together we can make our world a kinder place.