My practice helped me to accept love in all its forms without having to choose.

The practice of Yoga teaches you about yourself more than many self-help books can. It gently forces you to look at yourself in a way that you would least expect, it gently nudges you to look within to see and feel your raw emotions and all that you choose to hide from the world. It helps you to peel away the superficial layers to reveal what and who you really are and then to decide if you accept, if you want to change what you may not like, if you have the courage to shed what no longer serves you to shine as your true Self and not be afraid to do so, and to live the life you want.

This journey of authenticity may challenge you in ways you least expect. The path of the sadhu – seeker – is not an easy one. The sadhu doesn’t just mean renouncing the material world walking the streets or Himalayas. One can be a seeker in the modern world, a seeker of your truth and of living a life that is true to you, a seeker to follow one’s heart. This path of truth and seeking is an authentic path and the more we strive to thrive on that journey, the more challenges we encounter along the way. This is the way….. A way I have experienced when deciding to follow my path…to follow my heart…. and it has come with some sacrifices.

I found love again and it found me.

After facing singledom again in my early forties, I was broken and disillusioned that I would actually be happy again in a serious relationship and look forward to the day I would marry. I cried and I prayed for someone to come into my life who would love me for who I am and not be afraid to commit to me. My mother wanted that too for me. She prayed that a good man would come into my life. It happened…and then, when the real commitment came for us to move in together, my relationship with my mother broke down.

For two and half years I have lived two lives….one with my partner and one with my mother. For many years it was just me and her, even though I was in a long term relationship, my ex never committed to me….. She had a knowing that it would never go beyond what it was, and this did not ‘threaten’ her relationship with me. Our relationship has always been extremely close, from as early as I can remember.

My decision to follow my heart and have a life with a partner broke her heart. She felt abandoned, she felt she would lose me forever. She took my committed relationship as a break up of her relationship with me. There has been much heartache between my Mom and I. Despite numerous conversations, arguments, too many tears to remember, pleading, body talk sessions, family constellation, energy clearing,and a painful yet loving letter, she has adamantly chosen not not accept my partner into her life, (whom she initially welcomed in the beginning before we committed to living a life together), then her acceptance turned to rejection because she had a knowing….that this was the serious relationship. My partner wants my mother to share in our life together, he has no ill feelings towards her at all and he loves me the way I’ve always wanted to be loved. The heartache has been that my Mom has chosen not to share in my happiness. Yet with that heartache comes an understanding of where she is coming from and why she feels the way she does – that is her story and it is not my right to change or take it away from her. It is part of her journey.

What does this have to do with the journey of Yoga and the journey of the Self?

This has been the challenge in my journey…To stay true to my heart, to follow my heart, to follow real love and to stay true to my relationship with my Mother. I realized through many trials and tribulations that I cannot forego my happiness to please someone else no matter how much I love them, and I love my Mother with all my being. I cannot forego listening to my heart. What the gifts of Yoga and meditation helped me with is how to cope, how to show up with courage and conviction in order to live my authentic life no matter how difficult the way to may be. I have chosen not to choose between my relationship with my Mom and my relationship with my partner. I cannot turn my back on love, no matter what the nature of that love is.  I choose love in every form and have accepted that if showing and sharing my love with my Mom and with my partner have to be done separately, then I will choose that way, rather than no way, no love and not following my heart, because we all deserve love, no matter what our wounds are.

My Yoga and meditation practice have given me strength beyond that which I thought I could muster. I won’t lie…Some days I handled with ease, many days I handled with heartache, yet my practice has given me the will to persevere because when I practice, when I sit to discover and evaluate the raw emotion, I am given strength and assurance that I am doing what works best for me and for those close to me.

If you are serious about your Yoga practice, then know that there is more to just discovering your body and what it can do on the mat, there are many layers for you to discover, the physical, the mental, the emotional, the spiritual and the energetic layers, all of which come together unapologetically and authentically to help you grow and evolve to find the happiness you seek. My advice to you is not to fight it, let it be, because the journey is leading you beyond fear, step by step, all it asks, is for you to show up authentically, to follow your heart and…to love.

Yours in Yoga,

Juanita.

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