It happens to me more often than I would like to admit. The heart heavy feeling of not being enough. An ache that follows me around like a shadow because I did not complete a task or fell short on a goal. I try to forget it, push past the nagging whispers that remind me of all the things I am not, but most days I am unsuccessful. The endless aspirations of my to-do list consume my thoughts and there are times I realize I have not heard a word anyone has said to me in hours. Mind and body doing a dance, not of mastery, but of belittling and shame. Trying to quiet the thoughts and fill the space with love, often leaves me frustrated and adding to the running mental list of all the things I have yet to achieve. Mindfulness is a daily struggle, balance so far from my grasp, the mundane tasks get pushed in front of the impactful choices and it leaves me wondering, who is it that I am trying to be?
When I wake up late, hit snooze on the alarm, my extremely type-A, high-achievers playlist, a list which has almost always been unattainable, is now definitely out of reach. Instead of enjoying the morning rituals with my children I am grumpy because I have failed to excel. My five-mile run left undone. The reading or meditation time I planned on, now just a hope for tomorrow. The intention to write as a way to release the burdens of emotions that weigh on my soul no longer has a time slot, because I chose rest. Then there is the guilt to layer on top, a decadent chocolate sauce, warm and inviting, settling into every crevice. It is almost impossible to feel at peace with myself with this internal battle going on, let alone be the peace, love and light I so want to create and offer to those who cross my path each day.
Am I alone in this? Do others wake up and already feel less than? How do we turn it back around? In what ways can we be more forgiving to ourselves and our to-do lists?
I recently started my 200 hour yoga teacher training and while it has only been a few short weeks the material that I have been introduced to so far has the potential to be life-changing. I say potential because it is all in my hands as to what I do with it. Embracing some of the concepts is a sincere challenge for my Western mind, yet, I find myself coming back to things I have read or heard in a lecture, almost hourly. Reminding whispers of “As you think, so you become” and “Om Shanti,” the peace mantra, rush over me when my mind is running rapid with thoughts of all the unaccomplished things.
The Secret Power of Yoga, by Nischala Joy Devi, is one of the many resources that have found its way into my hands recently. Devi says, “The Secret Power of Yoga is the knowledge that lies on the other side of the threshold, the knowledge that we are not just our bodies, our minds, or our emotions. The secret that brings endless power is knowing that we are Divine Beings. This knowledge can permeate our entire lives, bathing us in peace, joy, and love.” I guess you could say that I am searching for the knowledge on the other side of the threshold with the goal of more peace, joy, and love.
This idea that we are Divine Beings can be difficult to grasp. Our culture has programmed us to believe we need to work harder, be better, do more, and earn it. To believe we can just be and in the being we are divine, is not often a belief we can faithfully collapse into like the comfy spot on the couch. Devi also points out that, “the fundamental understanding of Eastern wisdom is that divinity is granted by birth, whereas in the Western traditions divinity is usually something to continually strive for, and only a select few realize it, through grace or by their own accomplishments.”
It is no surprise that we feel the weight of all the things we are not. We stack those negative thoughts like blocks, building a wall to keep out all the things we long for most, the fundamental heart and feelings of peace, joy and love. Accepting that our feelings are a part of life, not separate from it and that we are human beings, not human doings may allow us to let go of less-than thinking and live a fuller life.
Another simple, yet radical, philosophies my yoga journey is opening up to me is the idea that the body and mind cannot exist in a state of contradiction, since they are hardwired into one another. If our body is in a state of rest, our mind can not be in a state of mental stress. The opposite is also true, the body can not be in a physical state of stress if the mind is at peace. So begins the challenge. To be aware of your thoughts, to be mindful of your body, and to remember they are one in the same, both divine, is no easy task.
It becomes even more difficult when we waive down the “less than train,” hop aboard and choo-choo all the way to the station believing we haven’t done enough. We are frantic to fill the space between breaths with more to-do’s, creating a mundane ride that gets us where we are going without much to remember about getting there. We believe we aren’t worthy of the ride offered on the, “I am an enough train.” The one were we sit silently, sipping our coffee and gazing out at the breathtaking scenery as it speeds past. Where we feel our breath settle, our eyes and jaws soften and set our minds free from the burden of heavy thoughts. We notice the mind and gently push its requests away, so as not to let them fog up the window. Then we simple relax and enjoy.
If you struggle daily on the platform, wanting so badly to take the scenic route, I see you. Start believing that your mind and body are one, fake it until you make it if you have to. While it is true that thoughts become things, it is also true that you should not believe everything you think. Be kind to yourself. Forgive your forgotten tasks. Bless and release your burdens. Relish in the rest you long to enjoy. Take a ride with me. Let’s watch the countryside pass at immeasurable speeds without the mental running lists making its way aboard. It’s time to start thinking about all the things you are and embrace all the goodness you offer. Shine your light into the dark spot where the lesser thoughts fester and watch them scatter like bats from a cave.
You, my friend, are not just enough, you are incredible.
Love and Light,