Go with the flow

It’s been so long since I’ve written a post, I feared I would have forgotten how to, or that it wouldn’t be as easy as I usually found it.

After staring at my screen for the past 4 hours, I know this to be true. It is good to be back, but a little strange after our mini-break for all things wedding, new-job and regular family chaos mixed in.

So bear with me, I may be rusty.

I’ve had these past few months off from work in which I’ve had to face down my own ego on quite a few occasions. There was a lot of swallowing my pride and observing my natural patterns to find areas where change could take place. I was stuck and getting unstuck isn’t always the easiest feat, but much like being determined to run a half marathon without really training (more on that later), I was determined to use the blessing of time to my betterment.

Throwing myself into my practice was the thing that saved me, I truly do believe. Saved me from my demons and gave me permission to be kind to myself about where I was in life. Learning to let go during class, to be present, mindful, to slow down in my daily life, to live in the moment and accept what it brings and work with it, no matter how the world presented itself to me. I could go on and on about the lessons I’ve learned in the hot room, dripping in sweat, breathing through the movement of the postures with ease or at my edge filled with effort, really forcing myself to internally scan where I needed the most of my self love.

The one thing all of these lessons has had in common though, is that the more you go with the flow of life, the universe if you will, the easier a time you will have.

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I do not mean that you will not struggle. I do not mean you will not hurt, ache, cry, or feel heartsick at any time. I do mean that you will find greater ease when you let go, and go with the flow.

I do not mean you should not pursue your passions or goals and things that set your heart on fire with relentless thirst. I do not mean that you will get everything you think you want, when you want it. I do mean you will have a greater chance of finding the REALLY right path if you do. You will be where you are meant to be, truly.

It’s the act of tapping into synchronicity – the more you pay attention to the little directives, signs and signals you’re being shown regularly, and do your best to quiet your ego and its hunger for centre stage as the main driver, the flow becomes more apparent, your path more clear. And I know from experience that the more you listen for the signals the stronger the frequency becomes. The more you pay attention, the more sense everything eventually makes.

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Growing up, and (let’s be honest) even into my early adult years, I learned a lot of tough lessons the very hard way, by being my own worst enemy and pushing my own plans and agenda on my life. Pushing so hard to get to where I thought I ‘should’ be, where I was convinced I belonged, what my ego told me I wanted, needed and could not live without. Life has a funny way of letting you get only so far and then shutting you down before redirecting you – in my case, always with great force that taught me a lot about putting yourself back together after you’re busted apart for regrowth and redirection.

As I look back on these lessons, I can see if I had applied even a bit of what I’ve learned about synchronicity through yoga, the harm and pain would have been notably less. I am sure the scars from those events would have healed quicker too, maybe might not be so apparent today.

I heard recently that the true act of yoga itself is not in the hot room and really starts to transform and change your life when you begin to practice what you learn on your mat in your life. In all of your relationships, in your employment, in your head with your running commentary to the world and ESPECIALLY to yourself – even in line at the grocery store. The conscious act of slowing down, breathing, actively quieting your inner monologue and literally going with the flow of your day, or the flow and direction of your life, can make or break the kind of life you have.

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As it unfolds in front of you, accept it as if you had chosen it, do what you have to in order to change what you’re able, but for the most part relax, be still and try to work with it.

~ Toni

It’s all a bunch of labels

Labels are a funny thing.

The ones we give ourselves, the ones we’re branded with, with or without knowing, the ones we hear in our minds day in, day out, the ones we’re taught, the ones we assume, the ones we accuse.

Labels of love and understanding, labels of hurt, fear or hate.

I have to wonder how many of us walk through this life as someone we don’t really like, or that doesn’t feel genuine because of what we have been told to be throughout our growing periods. Because of what we have seen, been shaped to know, raised to understand.

How many of us would shed certain parts of ourselves if we could, in a heartbeat, because we didn’t know any better that there was a choice, an option to change it, to accept or reject them?

29 has been an interesting year so far – only a few months in and already bursting with change, possibility, excitement and challenge.

I almost expected this year to play out like this; after all, ‘they’ do say that after great heartache and turmoil comes great change and growth. The trick is staying open to the lesson, and not falling into the role of eternal-victim.

I think know my great teacher so far has been the absolute battering of my ego.

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Taking the very picture of myself, who I thought I was because of who I thought I ought to be at this point, and watching it disappear into thin air, with really only the important, core-stuff, staying, sticking it out and still showing up in the end. You know, the stuff about yourself that you would think about when your mom used to tell you to, “remember who you are” as you left the house with what she could only assume were extreme hooligans – that’s the important stuff that stays.

It was horrible.

It was AWESOME.

It takes a certain pit-fall up-shits-creek type of life altering situation to really get yourself to take a deep, LOOONG look at yourself and come up with the truth.

And then sit with it.

And sit some more.

And then see some things you like…and some you’d rather not have to admit to, that you really, honestly, deep down, cannot STAND about yourself.

That’s when the magic happens.

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I sat with my ‘stuff’ for a while before I figured out that I was the only person who created this very unflattering mess in my hands, and, therefore, I was the only one who could change it, or at least attempt to improve it. And not another soul in the world could have helped me get there.

So, then there you are, with this pile of ‘stuff’ in your hands that you get to decide what to keep and what to get to work on, and you realize then:

It’s all a bunch of labels.

A bunch of labels that you’re so used to that you’ve forgotten to make sure you like them all, that you’re all right with them all, and if you would like to continue along this path of life with them all.

For me there were a few labels others had given me that I knew to the core of myself were not truly me. These labels were the easiest to deal with. These labels lost their power when I looked at the people that had branded me with them and considered the source, and if their opinions of me truly mattered at the end of the day. When I asked myself that question, the answer always came back absolutely not and those labels came off.

Then there were the labels about myself that I had some pride in before, and was having a hard time watching be worn off with time, with change. Eventually when I started to realize I have needed a LOT of what I didn’t ask for, I saw that my pride in them were only bolstering my ego (the cause of this whole debacle in the first place, really), which was hindering the growth of my soul. I had to let these labels go and be okay with what I was left with underneath.

Then there were the labels that were true, but that I did not like. Certain things about who I had become didn’t sit right with me, certain aspects of my personality and demeanor I knew were hindering my growth, but that I had clung to – like anger – as a security blanket, a thick skin appearance. These labels are still a work in progress, probably always will be. The hardest part I am finding about these ones is feeling and living the growth so much that others start to see it in you too, so they know you are not the same version of yourself that you might have been in the past.

And then there are the labels I love.

I call them the important stuff. The stuff that at the end of the day is what counts. I loved most of my important stuff.

This love, however, is not in the sense of traditional love, faltering or weakening during hardship or struggle. This love is a deep-soul kind of love, filled with acceptance and understanding. You see, some of the labels I love about myself may not appeal to the masses or anyone else in my life at all, for that matter. The important stuff counts because it’s the stuff about yourself that even if it makes you less popular with more people, you don’t care because it is what make you, authentically YOU. I see these things about myself that I know grind people’s edges, and make them uncomfortable, and maybe even cause them to misunderstand me, but because I love these labels, I do not care. They are the things that make my soul sing, my heart swell with joy and my mind be quietly at peace. I am okay with them, even if no one else is and that is a little slice of freedom I’ll take any day.

~ Toni