In the middle of a sea of emotion, what practices do you have?
I was on my yoga mat this morning, the 4th class of the week already, thankful, and I mean really thankful to have this practice in my life. It’s a practice that started less than a year ago and which has now become a devotion to self and to community insofar as it keeps me balanced and well, which inevitably serves both me and therefore by default, the wider circles of my world.
When I first came to practice, dragged along by my insistent friend Lorna, a wise and graceful being, I really had little energy or desire to be there, but so persistent was she, that I went along in a fatalistic, ‘oh well what do I have to lose’ kind of a way. It was the best decision I’ve made in years.
Like anything, it is the practice that is key – not giving up or getting lazy, not getting despondent or demoralised, not comparing yourself to others or over pushing myself (my pattern), and equally not showing off either. I had/have no desire to be the best to anyone other than myself, and that lesson is serving me well. Twelve months later and I am miraculously observing my body doing things it could never have imagined even a relatively short time ago, and the point is not that I do that, but that I have surpassed so many limiting beliefs and that my body, mind and soul feel infinitely better for it. Of course there are days when I can’t be bothered, and on those days, I usually just make myself get in my car or on my bike and go. Those are the days when the breakthroughs represent my breakthroughs in life. Those are the days when I say to myself “well done Steph – you did it”!
This week, my practice has again saved me. It has soothed me, taken me into balance and brought to the surface all that needs to be felt. I have cried in almost every class, letting the tears fall as my heart speaks, letting my body release it’s burdens, and that’s felt good – really good.
This morning as I rolled out my mat and began the class, the theme of which was ‘space’ and how to create it, I suddenly had a flashback to an old childhood game. I saw myself around 7 years old leaping around my room from one strategically placed pillow, blanket or piece of clothing strewn on the floor to another, remembering how I would pretend these random things were islands, islands surrounded by sharks and wild beasts, but that once on them, nothing could ‘get me’. I believed back then in the ‘monster under the bed’, and not touching the floor was my way of staying safe, somehow these monsters could only dwell in the lower realms, unable to reach the heights – and what a great metaphor that is!
So my mat became my island as if I was transported back in time. This small purple rectangle was my sanctuary, the place where only I could find me, where nothing else mattered and where nothing else could hurt me, and in this sanctuary, my heart found solace once again.
Having regular practices is not something to be sniffed at or taken lightly, they bloody well work! They require effort, devotion, and consistency, and they require your attention and your time, but without them, we will all too often find ourselves drowning in that sea of sharks and wild creatures, monsters and mythical armies.
I am teaching my course tonight, the penultimate session of my 9 Weeks To Transform Your Life group, and our topic happens to be the importance of daily practices and creating great habits. If you want to know more about my work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org – the next course is available as an online meeting so you can join me from anywhere in the world, all you need is a decent internet connection and a lot of that commitment to show up.
Wishing you all a life full of islands in your storms. I love you xox