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We must fall to grow.

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“We don’t go through things. We grow through them.” Mo’Nique

I was inspired by my friend Jenn Dwyer’s recent blog post and how so often in life, we do things to prove ourselves rather than letting our truths guide us. As a yoga teacher, it’s especially easy to fall prey to the ideas of what a yoga teacher should do, should say, should eat, should look like, etc. We should all over ourselves, and it sucks.

One thing I’ve continued to learn (the hard way) is to acknowledge my humanity. I teach and practice yoga because it’s just that, a practice. I realize that I’m not perfect. I react, I worry, I indulge, I overthink, I strive for perfection…I am human. But each time I come to my mat, I look in to the mirror that is my soul, and I try to learn. I’ve learned that some of life’s best lessons are also the hardest ones. They are the lessons  that only make sense later on, when you’re ready to receive them.

A mentor once asked me, “What is your biggest regret in life?” And I promptly answered, “I have none.” Because no matter how wrong the decision, how poor the judgment, how unfair the result, there was always a lesson to be learned. I feel infinitely blessed for my life today. In fact, I’ve had one amazing week after another, and it made me reflect on all the hard times that led me to this point: Moving across the country. Betraying my closest friend. Falling into depression. Not getting the job I wanted. Running away to the other side of the world. Having a near-death experience. Being betrayed. Losing someone close to me. Witnessing someone close to me have a near-death experience…Each time I thought it was the end of the world. I would ask, “Why me?” Then I’d collapse like a heap on the floor.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

I realize now, these painful experiences were the best things to ever happen to me. Each of these events created the possibility for something amazing to blossom. Life will continue to throw curve balls; there will be hard times; it will feel like regret; you will lie like a lifeless heap on the floor. But you have to pick yourself up. Realize that you can endure; the sun will always rise; life goes on. It’s your responsibility to yourself and those around you to live your truth authentically, to play your part.

But most importantly, realize that life is a practice. Come to your mat. Be still. Listen to your gut. Be fearless. Give everything you’ve got. And if you happen to fall, fall hard. Learn the lesson. Then grow. Because it does nobody any good for you to play small in this world. Live BIG and let your light SHINE!

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