I marvel at how simply returning to what is natural to me can evoke an understanding, or even a new discovery, within myself. It is almost like an old, heavy coat has been taken off and now I feel lighter and more comfortable. The heaviness that I was unaware of has been lifted.
This morning I walked alone in nature on a familiar trail that allowed me to turn inward. Not having to worry about the twists and turns of the trail, my mind was open to anything, which allowed me to look within. As I walked along the rocky terrain, I realized that there have been some key elements in my life that I have neglected to care for. I realized that the very essence of who I am has been hidden beneath that heavy old coat.
I am an introvert. I need solitude in order to remain in harmony. I need to be lost within myself for periods of time in order to refuel my energy. I need to be in nature. I need to be surrounded by the glory of the Earth to bring forth my recognition of abundance and aliveness. I need to be alone.
I realized as I intentionally chose a trail that would take me to the depths of the canyon where few hike, that I have neglected to nurture this element of who I am. Instead, my daily walks of late have been often rushed and along busy streets. I have also began to wear headphones whiles walking, and though the lectures and music I have listened to have been fulfilling in their own way, I have stifled the sounds of nature and of my own thoughts. I have brought into my walks external sources, and in doing that I have not fed the needs of my introvert essence.
As I walked along the trails today, I felt a sense of my own inner girl walking along with me. I remembered as a child, I had few friends and would often spend hours alone–and I did so happily. There was such freedom in being alone on my bike with the wind in my face or sitting in my back yard with my dog. While I contemplated this history and I reviewed the patterns of my life, I realized that I have always preferred to be alone and that for my entire life I have sought out solitude to refuel my spirit.
However wonderful the reminder of what it is my spirit needs, I also realized that being an introvert has made friendships a challenge for me throughout my life. I prefer to be alone and with that preference it can make relationships and friendships difficult. For some it may seem lonely to not be surrounded by friends or have a social calendar that is constantly filled. For me it is comforting. And yet, there is a part of me that has a desire to have a meaningful friendship with someone, especially a woman. I yearn to share things and to have someone who I look forward to being with. I observe with awe what others experience and yet there is something that I maintain as cautionary. Is this the nature of an introvert? Or is there a fear present that keeps me from being fully engaged with another person? Has the need to be alone been a strategy to remain safe?
I continued along the trail pondering myself as an introvert. Some may ask how can I possibly be a Yoga teacher and a declared introvert at once? Standing in front of a group of people with all eyes on me may appear to go against what some may think an introvert is. And yet, what I learned on my walk today is that while I am an introvert, I am also called to teach. Perhaps teach is not the word that I would choose, but rather I am called to scatter seeds and to offer a new way of being. And while I do get up in front of a group and expose myself to others, I know that it is my calling and my purpose. Somehow that feeds me and it supports me.
More than evaluating or desiring something different in my life, during this time in nature I felt a deep connection to myself. And I learned. I learned I need to be alone. I need to be in nature–it is as natural to me as breathing. I learned I need to bring myself into harmony by being alone, so that when I am with others I am more grounded and more open to the gifts that relationships can bring.
And I learned that being myself–introvert and all–is perfectly okay.