“As for us, if things fall, we will reach for them. If things break, we will try to put them together. If loved ones cry, we will try to soothe them – because that is what we do. I have often reached out, and sometimes it feels like a mistake. Sometimes, I have been stung. But it doesn’t matter, because that is what I do. That is what we do. It is the reaching out that is more important than the sting. In truth, I’d rather be fooled than not believe.”
This is the closing paragraph from today’s reflection from Mark Nepo’s, “The Book of Awakening.” Man, it hits home.
It’s the blessing and the curse of being an Empath. Your heart makes you want to reach out and help. To reach out and love. But putting your heart out there also means subjecting it to the energy and actions of others. In a nutshell, your heart emotions can get hurt. In a word, it’s vulnerability.
As I continue to grow in life and along my journey, I realize I’ve always been okay with being vulnerable. It’s what drives this blog and probably part of what draws me to Yoga. A true commitment to the yogic path, both physically and mentally, requires a certain level of openness and willingness to come face-to-face with who you are. It’s the place where you learn that it’s more important to you to reach out, than it is not to be stung.
Like Nepo, I’d rather be fooled. Because it’s in those foolish moments where it all happens. Where you experience the dizziness and passion of love. Where you taste freedom – if even just for a moment. But enough to know that freedom is what you seek and what you won’t compromise. In a way, choosing to be fooled is what gives you the strength to take another step and keep on trying. It is how we learn to surrender to the flow of Life.
I have really missed this space. I miss writing. I tell myself almost every day, “I need to write.” And yet this space has continued to remain empty. For months, I haven’t shared a thought, a quote, an inspirational passage…nothing. I’ve had moments where words have hit me and I thought I would write something. But still nothing has come to pass. Sometimes this scares me, because I call myself a writer and yet, I am not writing. More so, I was told by my Godmother that my greatest success would be in writing. She transitioned last year and I now consider her as one of my ancestors. She had a very knowing way about her and was a sage in her own right. She spoke to the higher level that lies within me. A level she’d always known was there, but that I would eventually have to find my way to.
I’m still finding my way.
I digress about my Godmother because in my heart, I feel and believe that if she saw the writer in me, then it must be true. But if I am not writing, then how can it be my greatest success? I always state that I want my writing to be organic and not forced. But I wonder sometimes if I don’t write out of fear. As I grow older, more mature, more awake and more enlightened, I realize that I tend to fear that which speaks to my greatest potential. I know I am courageous, because for the most part, I have felt fear and moved forward anyway. This was made evident through moving to the Washington, DC metro area from New Jersey for grad school and not knowing a soul when I got here. When I got married and gave birth to my son. When I filed for divorced and became a single parent. When I trained to be a Yoga instructor and for Thai Yoga massage and Reiki I certifications. But it’s about taking things to the next level.
I teach one Yoga class per week, but have somewhat avoided taking on private clients, even though I have had my fair share of requests for private sessions. In being completely transparent, I fear that even with all my formal training, I am suddenly not going to know something or that I am not going to be able to help someone, or worse, that I could hurt someone. This fear translates into avoiding reading emails that I know have requests for private sessions or not really putting myself out there for obtaining clients. And the funny thing about this all? The people who I have done private yoga with just for fun, or who I have practiced a Thai Yoga massage or Reiki on, have all said the same thing: that I have warm, healing hands and energy work is exactly what I should be doing. What’s even funnier is that almost every day when I drive to work, I ask myself what else can I be doing? What is it that I want to do instead of spending so much time in traffic and constantly feeling like I’m rushing someplace? I ask myself as though I don’t know the answer, when answers have clearly been placed in front of me.
I’m still finding my way.
In my mind, I live on or near the beach. My home is an open, airy space with a room that is dedicated to Yoga, meditation and other forms of energy healing. When I wake up in the mornings, I do my own Yoga practice. I meditate. I read affirmations. I write in my journal. I am able to prepare breakfast for my son in a leisurely manner and I am able to drop him off at school without constantly trying to move him along and make him go faster because there is a looming clock to beat. Instead of sitting in and fighting my way through traffic to get to a place where I mainly sit behind a computer all day, I go teach Yoga classes. I meet with private clients. I write contributing pieces for like-minded publications. I share affirmations and writing pieces in my social media spaces. I am able to pick my son up from school and take part in his extracurricular activities. I am at peace.
At this stage in my life, I know enough to know that peace is what you make it. The true work of Yoga and meditation is being able to find peace and solace in the midst of even the most chaotic situations. But what I see in my mind’s eye makes my soul feel at peace. I have pictures that speak to this life on my vision board. I know what it will take to get me there, but it’s that initial first step I have hesitated to take. This is the fear I speak of. The fear that I know is preventing me from my greatest potential. The fear that I believe plays a part in my lack of writing. I am at Point A and I can see Point B. It’s the bridge in between that I have held myself back from crossing. On this side lies questions and wondering. On that side lies a life I envision for myself. It’s another experience of having to feel the fear and doing it anyway.
I don’t know if this particular blog post makes much sense. But I am now sitting here, proud of myself for having finally written something. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to write. I just knew I wanted to share that I have missed this space.
I felt the fear of not writing and I wrote anyway.
I’m going to keep that vision of the life I want at the front of my mind.
I’m still finding my way…
I have an extremely busy work day and week ahead of me. But my spirit felt compelled to write and share an “aha” moment I had while driving into work this morning.
If you know me personally, at some point in time you’ve had the “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life!” conversation with me. If you don’t know me, but you’ve kept up with my blog posts, then you’ve probably had this conversation with me via the words I share. It’s no question…and I am not ashamed to admit…that I have been trying to define and re-define my purpose for quite some time now. The truth of the matter is that I am going on 36 years-old in a few short months. Outside of not knowing how I got here so quickly, I also have a pretty strong fear about my life continuously passing without me being fully aware of my soul’s mission and purpose and more so, without me maximizing and fulfilling that purpose. I know 36 is young in the grand scheme of things, and I believe it myself when I tell other people that you’re never too old or it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. But the fear still remains and is sometimes exacerbated by my desire to leave behind a legacy for my son. I don’t need my name on a hospital or to win some national award, but I do want to live a life that my son can look up to and be inspired from. Both of my parents, while well-educated and successful in their own career paths, weren’t rocket scientists nor did they come up with some great invention. But they were public servants who each dedicated over 35 years to the public agencies they worked for. My mother was a social worker who retired as a Deputy Director of a unit that dealt with sexually abused children and my father retired as a Public Defender. Both worked for the City of New York, so you can imagine what came along with their respective career choices. We weren’t millionaires by any means, but they were certainly proud of the work they chose and as a little girl, I was more than proud to listen to their stories about the lives they impacted or literally helped to save in some instances. For many years, I thought I was going to be a lawyer just like my dad and I even did a brief stint in law school at the University of Maryland (UMD) while I was pregnant with my son. I quickly learned that practicing law was not my purpose, which is why my time at UMD only lasted 6 weeks. What I have always known for sure though, is that I was put on this earth to help other people. I’ve always felt this deep in my soul, but I have not been able to figure out how to translate this into a viable career path.
Because my parents instilled in me the values of education and hard work, I did not find it challenging to obtain my undergraduate degree and ultimately, my Master’s degree in Public Administration (no surprise I selected this program, since that was the chosen work of my parents). I moved to the Washington, DC metro area to pursue my Master’s, but also with the goal of working in lower-income/underserved communities. My life had been personally impacted by the loss of my nephew to gun violence, and I wanted to do something…anything…to have not had him die in vain. I was able to land a “good” job upon completing my graduate studies and from that good job, I was able to secure others and ended up in the position I currently hold. It’s far from community work and not something I ever grew up thinking I would do, but I am paid well, I can provide insurance and other necessities for my son and I’ve learned things that I know will benefit me in the long run. But the one thing I am not, is fulfilled. There are days when I am able to just roll out of bed and make the most of what’s ahead of me, and then there are days where I feel like the lack of fulfillment is eating away at my spirit. Those days can be tough and I do what I can to try to find a place of peace. Today is a sort of combination between the two. I woke up wanting to be motivated to tackle the week ahead, but deep down, there’s the “thing” that is nagging at me. The thing I feel when I make a 90-minute commute (each way) for a job that’s 20 miles away. The thing that eats at me when I have to leave my son for yet another business trip and he is asking me why he can’t come. The thing that just sits there when I don’t get home until after 7 and still have to cook, tend to my son’s needs, try to have him in the bed by 9:30 and then have some kind of time for myself while also striving to get in the bed by Midnight. I know this cycle overall is something a majority of us struggle with, but more and more, I am having a hard time accepting that this is the way it has to be. In my heart, I believe there is so much more.
Last week, I spoke with a friend about my Yoga practice and teacher training program. I talked about how great it is to be in such a zone during the training weekends, but how I’m also challenged to stay in the zone once training ends and outside life resumes. I mentioned that I am waiting for this “click” moment where all the zen comes together and is my daily way of living and being. Where I am not just making an effort to practice my asanas (poses) every day, but where I am also making a daily effort to meditate, write in my journal and pretty much spend the time that is necessary with my mind, heart and spirit. I know I am much further along in my journey than I ever was before, but when you engage in something like a Yoga Teacher Training program, you begin to feel this sense of responsibility and accountability for really walking the walk that you are learning about. At least, I do. Yoga is all about balance, so I have to remember not to be hard on myself, but I do want to live, breathe and be the Yoga life…whatever that means for me.
A few days after the conversation with my friend, I was practicing Bakasana (crow pose) which is my physical challenge pose right now (hand/head stands are my fear-based challenge poses). Although I’d get “right” there with getting into it, I’d start thinking too hard about my hand and arm placement and I’d fall completely out of it. After a few attempts, I got frustrated, stood up and said to myself: “You’re not trusting yourself, Rachel!” And then I felt a click. I realized in that moment that not only am I not trusting my body, but I also struggle with trusting my “self.” The Rachel deep down who knows exactly what she wants for herself. I stopped practicing for a few moments to write that realization down and sit with it. I believe this was a huge moment of understanding for me.
That realization came back around today by way of the thoughts that were swimming around my head during my drive into work this morning. The thoughts ranged from matters of the heart to finding the time to start preparing for my Yoga teaching finals that are coming up in 3 short weeks, and everything else in between. I am still learning about the world of angels and spirit guides, but I believe in them, and so I spoke out loud to them, asking them to guide my heart, guide my spirit, guide my words, guide my path. But the key here is not just to ask, but to also be attuned to the responses and one came to me not too long after. I dropped off my son at school, got back in the car and as I resumed driving, I felt something in my spirit say, “You are meant to be doing the work of an energy healer.” Nothing more, nothing less. Just those words. Another click moment that helped me to better understand why I struggle with finding a good fit when I apply for new jobs. For years, I’ve looked for new opportunities up and down the East Coast between New York City and DC and nothing has panned out. For a while, I thought it was my cover letter and/or resume, but lately I’ve been wondering if it’s because I am not meant to be in a 9-5 role. I’ve heard this before from friends and my therapist, but it’s an understanding I’ve had to come to on my own. Now it’s just a matter of what I do with these revelations…
For now, the goal for me is to remain aware but also not be hard on myself for not making certain transitions overnight. The human in me wants immediate answers, but only because I’ve been searching for them for quite some time. The Yogi in me knows it’s important to reflect on how far I have come, and how each and every experience has led me to the present moment I am in now…and more so, to just stay in this moment.
In developing my understanding about spirit guides, I’ve learned about angel numbers and what they can mean for our lives. Without going into too much detail, 95 is a number that’s stood out to me lately and when I noticed it on a license plate this morning, I decided to look it up. The message is quite timely in that it deals with trusting your intuition and remaining steadfast on your path, as it will soon lead to fulfilling the mission of your soul. Check out this link for more: http://sacredscribesangelnumbers.blogspot.com/2011/07/angel-number-95.html .
My awakening is something that’s always been taking place, but I only recently started to become aware of. There is still so much more out there for me. I just have to remember to believe in Spirit, trust myself and always ask for…and be aware of…the click moments. Thank you for letting me share this one with you.