Work in Progress
The perfection of nature
As I’m sure you all know, I’ve had a tricky time of it of late! I’d be lying if I told you that I had sailed through the challenges, but I have, as much as I could, tried to think about the lessons yoga has taught me and used them to help me navigate this rough patch.
In this blog I’d like to share with you the 10 things I have taken from this experience, some of which I appreciate are quite personal to me, but I hope that one day, my sharing might help someone else.
ACCEPTANCE. This is a big yoga teaching – accept all, good or bad, avoid attachment to the things you want, aversion from what you don’t want, just accept. Be present, be in the now, accepting. Hmm, easier said than done. I have had to accept quite dramatic changes in my lifestyle, some I find easy and some I confess I have railed against. What I did learn, and quickly because I didn’t have the energy to do any other, was that accepting was a heck of a lot easier than fighting. Acceptance conserved my energy, made me feel more at peace and strangely more in control. The situation is what it is, no amount of fighting or denial is going to change it. Acceptance is not about rolling over and giving up, quite the reverse. It’s about being strong and moving forward. Once I’d accepted the situation I was able to think about my plan for the future, I researched, I gained knowledge, I am now making informed choices and I can look to the future.
ACCEPTANCE …. AGAIN! People have been so kind, sending me good wishes and helping me in many, many different ways. I’ve been so grateful for all the help and kindness I have received that I really cannot find the words to express the depth of my gratitude. The lesson here was for me to accept help, which I really have needed, previously not something I’ve been particularly good at! What I realised is that people really did want to give their help and accepting that is very important. When help someone it makes me feel good, why should I deny other people that pleasure?
BATHE YOURSELF IN GOOD WISHES. So many people have sent me good wishes, love and prayers, expressed in many different ways, which has been wonderful. I whole heartedly believe that you can feel all these wonderful vibes. My advice is to bathe in it! Soak up all the love and the peace, it’s a beautiful feeling.
YOGA NEVER LETS ME DOWN. Since my early twenties yoga has been a huge part of my life, always there, a constant friend. I’ve always known that it does me good, I miss it if I don’t practice and every time I test the power of yoga it comes up trumps, but I don’t think that I fully appreciated its power and all the work my practice has been doing “behind the scenes” until now. More than ever I appreciate the power of regular yoga practice. Yoga works.
RESILIENCE. Turns out I’m a lot more resilient than I thought! Over the last couple of months I’ve coped with illness; pain; loss of income; loss of work: loss of control; long acupuncture needles threaded through my face to get rid of the Bells Palsy, a side effect of some of my medication (well worth it though as it worked a treat!); a diagnosis and prognosis that haven’t thrilled me; some pretty horrible side effects and withdrawal effects from the steroids and a lot of mung dhal 😉 But, I’ve got through it, I’m OK. The human spirit is amazing. I’ve found inner strength I never knew I had.
STRESS DOESN’T HELP ANYONE OR ANYTHING. Seriously, can anyone think of a single situation that has in anyway been helped by stress?! Stress certainly contributed to me being ill and if I don’t keep it under control it will make me ill again, it’s as simple as that.
I’VE HAD TO BE REALLY HONEST WITH MYSELF. Have you any idea how hard it is for a yoga teacher to admit that they have allowed their stress levels to get out of control??!! It’s hard!! But I’ve had to be honest with myself and shine a light on all the dark areas of my life if I want to move forwards.
I AM WHAT I EAT. There’s a lovely quote from Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food”. Another thing I’ve had to be honest about is all the things I’ve let creep into my diet that were frankly less than nourishing. I’m now on an very healthy, nurturing, anti-inflammatory diet which I feel certain will help me long term.
I AM WHAT I THINK. I’m also in the process of clearing out some of my unhelpful thought patterns, replacing them with positive affirmations. This is much harder than changing my diet! My brain just switches into auto-pilot churning out the same unhelpful thoughts if I’m not vigilant!
I AM WORK IN PROGRESS. I’m human. I’m going to make mistakes and slip up, but the important thing is that I am trying and I’m not going to give up.
My intention was not to preach or be pious, or to suggest that I am in anyway special. I believe we are all special, and we all have great strength. We all have our own coping mechanisms and unique resources, these are just some of the things that helped me, but I know I have benefited from the experiences of others so really hope that my experiences might help someone else. Please do share your experiences. Ix