This past month, I had the opportunity to deal with some real life growth which is not always easy. It was an strenuous spring here in Montreal, with the weather moving up and down and all around. I was feeling unsettled, unsure, and often frustrated. Blaming the weather I said “This will pass when summer arrives…” Well summer was coming, and the weather improved and still I felt heavy, confused, irritable. I had done my spring cleanse, and my body was feeling healthy and strong, but my heart felt something else. What I didn’t realize that all I was feeling: the inner tension, the doubt and anxiety was a in fact due to that I was not centred, that I was not honouring my truth. I knew I feeling unrest in my heart, but couldn’t locate the source, and kept finding excuses to take the blame. It wasn’t until my partner called me out on my unhappiness and how it was effecting him that I woke up to what was really happening. I will admit that I was not the easiest camper to be around and I am so grateful for his tough dose of love that woke me up. When I realized that my discontent and unhappiness was spreading into and effecting my most important relationships, I knew I had to sit with myself and find the courage to uncover what I wasn’t letting myself see. I was rushing around so much that I wasn’t taking the time to fully show up for myself in the same way that I try to teach others how to do. I had overwhelmed myself with responsibilities outside of myself that I had forgotten how to honour what I really needed. So that’s what I did. I stopped, I sat, I started meditating again. Sitting in led meditations, sitting in self-practice facing what was moving inside my heart. Not allowing myself to be distracted by mastering advanced asana or fancy transitions, but diving into the depths of my heart one breath at a time. As a yoga teacher, it is my job to teach what I practice, and to practice what I teach. To show up with integrity and share that which I know, which resonates with me, and to hold space for others to do the same so as to become more alive, more loving and more authentic. A dear friend of mine told me “Andrew, you have to do what you ask your students to do, honour your heart, choose what serves your well-being first.” It became so clear, my decision had been made, but bringing it into action was the hard part.
Change is never easy, especially when it requires having difficult conversations with others, or removing yourself from relationships that up until that point proved to be healthy and supportive. The part where I wanted to run away and not follow through, couldn’t someone else have that conversation for me?! Nope. Not this time. Stand up rooted in you heart and use courage. And that’s what I did. I sat and meditated, I grounded myself, I found my breath, I felt my heart and I had the conversation from a place rooted in honesty and love. And YOU KNOW WHAT?! It was ALL OKAY! It was received as I intended and responded to with equal amounts of love and honesty and care, and I am more truthfully following my path and honouring my heart. Living my practice.
I am so grateful for the support of the nourishing and heart based realtionships I have, as they encouraged me to step into my courageous self and start to take action to create the changes I was longing for. The feeling I have now is unbound by fear and doubt, I feel opened to a familiar but almost forgotten part of myself, abundant and available.
In closing, I will share another quote that my inspiring friend sent to me at just the perfect moment which perhaps you might find useful as well.
“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening […] Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.” ~ Alice Walker