“The Dark Side of the Light Chasers”

I have been in a place these past few days. More like these past few weeks. Tomorrow (July 4) will mark exactly five months from the day I took a leap of faith and submitted my resignation to my corporate job. I was making almost $90,000 per year with excellent benefits for myself and my son. And I decided to walk away from it without a clear plan of where I was going and a savings account that could be laughable. I just knew after ten years with the same company, doing work I was unfulfilled by and feeling a calling in my heart for a more purpose-filled life, that it was time to go. My soul had to find what it was looking for.  I was teaching Yoga part-time and I knew if I had nothing else, I had that. Within three months of resigning I landed two teaching jobs, in addition to the classes I was already teaching part-time. I am now up to teaching six classes per week and take on substitute opportunities when they are available.

In the beginning of June, I signed on for a one-time weeklong teaching gig which, for some reason, left me exhausted and energetically depleted. It was my first lesson in the business of Yoga. Learning that I didn’t have to take every offer just because it seemed glamorous or would connect me with a certain level of clients. I have found it difficult to fully pull myself out of the space I felt I was left in after that gig was done. I have been questioning my decisions and my choices, more concerned about my finances and experiencing bouts of Yoga burnout. I know I am not alone in this and I find relief in this knowledge. I also know it takes every day work to keep a positive mindset and not give in to the feelings of worry and anxiety that can lurk in our hearts and minds.

Struggling with this feeling as I woke up this morning, my eyes landed on a book I purchased months ago but have not yet read. “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers,” by Debbie Ford. I picked it up and within the first few pages, I came across these words from the I Ching:

“It is only when we have the courage

to face things exactly as they are,

without any self-deception or illusion,

that a light will develop out of events,

by which the path to success

may be recognized.”

Once I read this, I knew Spirit led me to finally picking up the book. Instead of being hard on myself for what I am feeling, I am going to honor myself for having the courage to see and feel things exactly as they are. The road to peace comes with having honest conversations with yourself. I know I still want to serve. I still believe in my Light. But to be able to truly assist others with their healing process, which is the work I want to do, I have to know what my own dark sides are. I have to embrace my shadows. And right now, I am dealing with the shadow of questioning everything and feeling somewhat unsure. I know the answers will come as long as I keep moving forward with an open heart and a commitment to serve.

These are the spaces in which we are challenged to follow our own intuition. As the words from the I Ching remind us, when we accept things as they are, we learn and recognize the direction in which we need to go. This is when we truly begin to live an authentic life. That is my ultimate goal. And inner peace. Always inner peace.

Have faith that all will be will. This is a reminder to others as much as it is to myself.

Love and Light. Namaste. And Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

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The Click Moments

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.

Namaste.