I was responding to emails last night and had an unsettling feeling that has been with me for the last week. My husband, Brian, sensing something was up (after a few very exaggerated sighs and stares at him!) asked me what was going on. I explained that everything has been feeling super stressful lately. From finalizing the details of our 2020 teacher training to thinking about summer plans for Freida, it just feels like everything is unsettled. Brian – being the most yogic non-yogi you’ll ever meet – said, “I don’t think it’s what’s happening in life. I think you’re just really stressed inside.”
This month I’ll be traveling for various trainings and although in my mind I like to imagine myself a free-spirited wanderlusting yoga teacher, in reality I like waking up in my own bed. I like picking Freida up from school every afternoon and seeing all of you at the studio every night. Being taken out of my routine this month has created internal anxiety that I’ve manifested as external stress.
There is a passage in Deborah Adele’s book The Yamas and Niyamas where she explains this idea so clearly:
We would never purchase a can of red paint and expect it to be the color blue when we apply it to our walls. And yet we can be so harsh and demanding with ourselves and then expect to be loving with others. It just doesn’t work that way. The color of the paint inside the can is the color that whatever we paint becomes. The “color” of how we treat ourselves is the “color” of how we treat others.
Yoga asks us to do an immense amount of self-examination and internal work. It asks us to have an awareness of how we hold our bodies, of how we breathe, and of our own thought patterns and attitudes. Then, it asks us to do practices like meditation, asana (yoga poses) and self-study so that we can grow to our greatest potential. To be honest, I sometimes feel like all this focus on myself is maybe a little selfish of me.
And then I’m given a much-needed reminder and kick in the butt like the one Brian gave me last night. I put into the world what I have inside me – when I have anxiety and fear dominating my internal state, that’s what shows up in my external world too. However if you ask me what I want to put out into the world, I can answer you without hesitation – I want people in my life to know that they are loved and accepted and important exactly as they are. I want my world to be peaceful and fun and light-hearted.
This morning I had planned to pack for my first training and get a head-start on work that I knew I would be missing. Instead I sat in meditation and took my dog on a walk. Why? Because I can’t give away what I don’t have myself; and now more than ever, the world needs the very best of me (and you!)