We tell ourselves a lot of stories about who we are, what we want and what our life is about. In some ways these stories are important, they are a narrative which has framed our life to date. Sometimes, though, these stories are unhelpful, self sacrificing and possibly indulgent.
We sometimes find ourselves caught between the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, our limitations, what society demands we be and living a life that feels authentic and real.
I regularly speak to people, often women, who feel they are wearing a mask of a false self, one they use as a way to get through their day, or even their yoga teaching. They feel pulled in so many different directions that their story becomes defined by their children, their husbands, their workplace, their friends.
The mask of those inauthentic stories then becomes a deep part of them, the mask interweaving with their being in such a way that the meeting point of mask and person wearing the mask becomes unclear. Something feels not quite right, the stories they have been telling themselves become so deeply entrenched that those stories become who they are, the narrative that defines their life.
We all have relationships of convenience with the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, what our potential is and how we should be.
Certainly I have spent decades wedded to a story of less than, always encouraging others to step up, to shine while I wanted to hold back and be reserved. Unconsciously I believed that trying to be low key was somehow more ‘spiritual’. I empowered other people so much that I sometimes created a disrespect for my own experience, through excessively validating the experience of others much newer to yoga or spiritual practice. I was ok with that as it meant I could hold on to my story of being ‘low key’.
I have realised that story was fuelled by avoidance and let it go. I embrace the stories that I told myself over the years, even if they were overly self sacrificing. But for me, at 41, it’s kind of indulging a whole lot of avoidance being ‘low key’, under the guise of spirituality.
There is a ferocity at times to spiritual practice, a depth of emotion, an intensity and fire that I have always had burning, but for many years attempted to douse.
I see now the stories I told myself are an important part of my journey. They tempered me at times when I may not have had the skill to speak or write from a place of awareness and love. Twenty years into sharing yoga and meditation that story isn’t really helpful anymore and I have become free of it (well mostly).
Being avoidant actually gets in the way of spiritual practice. Also for many of us, if we are intensely into yoga and meditation we are really not low key people!
That’s a version of my story, and over the years I have told myself many others. Again it’s just a story, we all have them. It is now bores me as a narrative to define my life, thus this Facebook page and some exciting new projects which have ignited my passion for teaching all over again! Rather than pushing out with all the projects I am part of, I am currently in the process of unification.
Letting go of the stories we tell ourselves, is freeing. The sharing of our stories with each other is important process work. It requires vulnerability and strength at the same time and of course chai is always a helpful conduit for story telling. But ultimately those stories must be held lightly or instead of liberating, they entrap us.
I love hearing your stories, and more and more want to work with people to find ways they can hold those stories lightly and discover who they might be if not defined by the same old narrative …
I love to see people find the light of understanding within themselves. Eyes bright, the truth that they have discovered emanating from the entirety of their being.
That lightness is what it is all about for me,