Last night, we shared our highest aim with our group. I knew that I was not ready. I knew that I had not spent the necessary time to narrow in on how I felt yoga added to my highest aim. You can read the essay I wrote in my post titled, “My highest aim.” When my turn came, I set my essay aside and just spoke from the heart. My heart knew what I needed to share so I trusted myself enough to let my heart speak.
For most of my life, I feel like I have been searching for a place of acceptance. I think most people find that place first in their family, then in friends and colleagues. I always felt distant or out of place in my family like maybe the nurses in the hospital put on the wrong ID bracelet. My parents were distant dealing with their own suffering and a house full of children of which I am the eldest, so I worked hard to be needed and responsible.
The one thing that I knew I could feel good about was what I could do with my body. I could make my body do things and see results!! I could get crazy skinny. I could workout. I could gain strength. I could do ballet and cheerleading and even a little gymnastics. I could run a ½ marathon. I could bike a 50 mile bike race. I might not have loved my body well but I sure was proud of what my body could do!
I also loved how my mind worked. I loved to study. I loved to learn new things and travel to unfamiliar places. After a bacchelor’s degree and a master’s degree, I decided to pursue a PhD. Then life posed a question: Will you devote your time to your career or to your son who has special needs? I chose the latter. Over the many years of uncertainty, struggle, and constant research on how to help my son, I did not make time to deal with my own feelings and so I stored them in my body. In the month of my 30th birthday, my body could no longer take all the stored emotions and I stopped sleeping. I tried to workout and hurt myself. For an entire decade, I wrestled with sleep, injury and health problems. The one area that I always felt confident and strong in was turning against me.
Thankfully, my sisters introduced me to yoga. Yoga opened up my body releasing so many emotions that I would sit in a posture and cry on a regular basis. Yoga also brought back to me the joy of moving my body! When I am on my mat, I feel beautiful. I feel pure joy! I feel light and set free. I am safe on my mat. No one is looking at me or judging me. I am so very focused on myself and how God created me that nothing else matters.
The past 2 years, I worked a job where I let myself be me to the best of my ability in this stage on the journey, but the leadership group within the organization did not accept me. I thought this was going to be my safe place. I thought that I could finally use my gifts, work on my growth points and be loved. This did not happen and my unhealthy life story came flooding back. One night, I woke up at midnight with these words, “I Choose Me!” I realized that I was not waiting for someone else to accept me or to find a place somewhere out there where I could be me. I was waiting for me to choose me! The next week I quit my job and signed up for yoga teacher training.
My highest aim is to listen to the spirit, speak with courage and vulnerability and see others set free! Set. Her. Free.
Practicing yoga began a journey for me that led to physical and emotional healing and I want to share that experience with others. Yoga helps me focus and clear away the mental crazies so that I can listen more deeply for the spirit to lead me one step at a time. Yoga helped begin the process of setting me free to find acceptance of myself through a deep connection with my Creator…so deep that nothing else matters. I want to see others find this freedom! Set. Her. Free.
The practice is to continue to learn these lessons inside the 4 safe corners of the mat and then apply them as I walk off the mat! Set. Her. Free.