I went to church this morning and the sermon was about baggage. I sat taking notes on how to identify your baggage, how to be free from it and how to replace it. At the bottom of the page, I wrote the words: anxiety, trust, anger. Running down the side of my paper I wrote this quote: if we are truly honest with ourselves, it is impossible to be insulted.
I was having lunch with a friend the other day and offered open and honest words about my worries and fears. She stopped me and said “Wow, but people think you are so calm and together because you teach yoga”. Since I have been told this before, my reaction was with more acceptance and less defensiveness. I’ve had time to think about the example I am giving by teaching and sharing my love of Yoga.
But I didn’t come to love Yoga because I was already a calm, peaceful person inside who never got scared or angry. I was searching for clarity and meaning when I found Yoga. I couldn’t turn my mind off, I wanted to control everything, I wasn’t honest about who I was and I was harboring a lot of resentment. I may have made a good showing and those things may not have been portrayed to everyone in my life, but those things were my truth.
Yoga helped me to understand that it’s okay to look inside and not always like what you see. It is a chance to accept and let go. The mat is a place to do all of this hard work all alone, but feel supported by earth and sky and breath. Yoga has helped me to become honest about my beauty and my ugliness. I am often reminded of a quote by Marianne Williamson that says, “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
In just the past few days my issues with trust and fear have been brought up to the surface. Before Yoga, I would have blamed someone or everyone else. After Yoga, I acknowledge these issues, I get angry about them, then I try to step outside of myself as an observer, without judgment or attachment and I pray for God to give me peace. Then I can almost hear God answering and reminding me to go spend some time on my mat with Him.
Yoga is for everyone, the loose, the tight, the calm, the anxious, the clean and the dirty. It can make you strong enough to claim your baggage and flexible enough to leave it behind.