The Search Begins
When I began my spiritual journey, it came from a place of necessity, I needed to find peace. I had been wanting to get my Yoga teacher certification for years. For some reason I allowed someone to talk me out of it several times. (For the record – don’t EVER do this. Allowing someone to squash your dreams is more damaging than talking yourself out of it.) Finally, I had reached a point where I knew it was what I needed to help me become whole and refused to take no for an answer. I was (and still am) raising my daughters, being a wife, and helping run and coach in my CrossFit gym. My plate was (and still is) pretty full. It seems there’s always balls in the air and maneuvering in a way to not drop any of those balls was a full-time job all its own. So how on Earth was I going to carve out the time to do this for myself?
I Don’t Have Time For This
As it turns out, the best time to take time for yourself is when you don’t have the time to take it. I had lived the 12 years leading up to this point for other people. It was time. “Isn’t that awfully selfish of you?” Why, yes, it is. It’s ok to be selfish from time to time, especially if the process will help me become a better person. (And the ability to better handle thoughtless questions like that little gem.)
During my first YTT seminar at YogaLife Institute, our Mentor, Bob, asked me to tell the class why I was there. I can’t remember all that I said, but I remember saying I needed to find peace. I wasn’t sure what peace looked like, I couldn’t recall that I’d actually seen it before either, but I knew that I needed it like I need air.
Silly me, I had envisioned that during my journey all my troubles would disappear and I would finally be at peace. (It’s difficult now even wrapping my brain around my own naivety with that thought.)
You can’t calm the storm… so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The Storm will pass. -Timber Hawkeye
We cannot control the things that happen around us, we can only control how we respond to them. Look around. We’re standing in the middle of constant movement. Even within us there is constant movement. A series of micro movements that we can’t even detect are happening within us at all times. But it’s the busy-ness all around us that affects us the most. The world outside of us trigger a response and they’re automatic, knee-jerk responses. This is because it’s what we know; we haven’t known anything else. Learning to develop a different way to respond is a process. Once we develop a different way to respond, the easier they become. with practice they become our new automatic responses.
What’s it’s not…
Happiness is not the absence of problems; it’s the ability to deal with them. -Dr Steve Maraboli
I’ve learned that peace isn’t the absence of chaos, it’s finding peace even among the chaos. “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” (Thank you, Ronald Reagan, you are my hero.) Yes, there is a peaceful way to work it all out. With that, I cannot control people, or what they say and do, I can only control how I respond to it.
Unless you learn to face your own shadows, you will continue to see them in others. The world outside of you is only a reflection of the world inside you. When we see things in others that are unfavorable, more often than not it’s because we see them in ourselves.
Do the work.
We need to look within ourselves and fix all that stuff that’s broken: Meditate. Journal. Let go of things that no longer serve you. Ridding yourself of toxicity is a great place to start. Stop trying to paint a picture of what you think you’re supposed to look like. If it seems forced, it’s most likely not who you are. Start accepting yourself for who you are. No one is perfect. (If you are striving for that, back it up sister. Back. It. Up. Social media is huge lie. Everyone with an Instagram or Facebook account is their own persona editor. We create our very own social media character. Like the airbrushed version of supermodel on the cover of a fashion magazine.)
Practice acceptance, not only in you, but others as well. We are ALL so different and we ALL want to feel accepted and valued for who we are. So, instead of throwing shade because someone is different, let them glow.
Finding peace isn’t an end result, it’s not a destination, it’s a journey. No one will take away your problems. Working through your own stuff is hard. There’s no short-cut. You wouldn’t want to take short cuts anyway because you could miss some important stops on your journey. The road is long and there’s some pretty tough terrain along the way. But with good and honest hard work, the results are worth it.
Surrounding yourself with some like-minded people is quite helpful. You’ll find that as different as we all are, it’s refreshing to learn that you’re not alone.