Is it something in the air? Is it just me? Are you guys feeling it too? Everything just feels… so close to the surface. So very present.
I know it is important, and anything coming up is something I need to notice but damn, no one ever said this stuff was easy, right? It takes an immense amount of courage not to turn away when you are confronted with the intensity of your experience.
Which has me thinking about the connection between healing and awareness. For over 10 years I have done yoga regularly. My own practice, in my own way - sometimes at a studio, but usually on my own at home. Being back on the schedule teaching 3 classes/week has me adding class prep and teaching to my existing personal practice, so all together I am doing a LOT of yoga. And to be totally honest, I feel pretty raw.
This is one of the misconceptions about yoga in my opinion - that it is always peaceful, or calming, or relaxing. It can bring shit up. Through the practice, energy is moving. Mind, body, and spirit are aligning. The practice is being with yourself, and if you are open you will begin to notice your experience in new and deeper ways. Sometimes you notice peace, other times joy, sometimes pain and everything in between. Yoga is a mirror.
For me, yoga is one of the only times I slow down (working on it) and as I love to cue while I’m teaching “when you slow down, you notice more.” Turns out there is a lot that I have not been paying attention to that now has room to bubble up and be witnessed. It's rather uncomfortable, and tears are part of the process, but such a gift.
What powerful alchemy awareness is.
I think this inward-sensing awareness, this compassionate witnessing of our own experience is the key to healing. On top of the variety of hurts we may endure in this life, too often we unintentionally add self-abandonment. I believe great healing happens when we begin to show up for ourselves. We all need to be witnessed, and it is profound to learn that we can offer this gift to ourselves. As a compassionate witness we find that there is nothing to do, no action to take, but rather that the process unfolds and evolves under the gentle watch of our own unwavering presence. As Osho says, “the awareness is the change.”
And although there is certainly pain coming up when I slow down and notice, there is also gratitude, and joy. There is depth, and awareness of the multifaceted nature of my own being. We humans are so rich in our potential and we hold many things at once. I find that when I allow my tears to flow unencumbered, my laughter ripples through my being more fully as well. We are meant to feel it all. We are meant to feel ourselves.
So I invite you, too, to slow down and notice. Perhaps through yoga, meditation, art, a hike in the woods, whatever engages your soul. Be a compassionate witness for yourself and for others. Release the need to do or fix, and rest in presence with what is. There may be discomfort. Tears may flow. Feel the richness of your experience. All of it. We can only walk with others as far as we ourselves have been willing to go. The most important person you will ever walk with is yourself.