When I began my Yoga practice years ago it was purely for physical benefit. I spent hours thinking about and working towards the “perfect” alignment or posture. My addictive personality became quickly obsessed with every successfully attempt of a difficult pose and how could I compete and win against my self and others.
I had no idea of the layers and layers of exploring that would unfold beyond the physical. The more I practiced, the more I wanted to know.
Following my wake-up from a life of unconscious living I started to understand that my existence was so much more than my (then) overweight body. Imagine my shock and eventual gratitude that came when I connected my mind, body and soul.
One of the greatest gifts that I learned through Yoga is my over-active need to survive. As I began to understand the chakra system and how the energy centers play a role in my awareness of physical symptoms and personality traits, I flourished in my understanding of why I often fall back into the old habit of survival. At the time of first learning about the chakra system I was also deep into therapy looking at not only family of origin stuff that was manifesting into disastrous relationships, but I started to look at how I had created walls around me in order to stay safe and feel secure. For me, this can look like a small circle of friends, meticulously controlled home clutter and budgeting, extreme work habits and obsessions with being busy, reclusive tendencies and other need for control. Through the realization of this, I also became armed with ways to combat the often destructive tendencies in order to survive.
When I catch myself falling back into the patterns of these habits, I have learned to pause and look a little closer at the correlation to my feelings and my actions. The penchant for ensuring I am safe and secure can sometimes isolate me from people and experiences that might actually enhance my life, or at the most it might really support my urgency to feel safe. The work of the first chakra isn’t to become a badass, it is to develop and nurture the aspects of my life that create a solid foundation so that the other facets of myself are just as illuminated.
When I had hip surgery nearly two months ago, my internal pressure to feel safe kicked into full force. I planned, anticipated and foresaw the snowball effect of not only medical costs but also lost wages. Since teaching Yoga is my primary means of income, the reality was startling. Although I pride myself on extreme financial awareness and careful monitoring– so much that my monthly budget is typically accounted for within $25.00– the knowing that being on crutches for four weeks would greatly reduce my income. I affirmed over and over that my priority was to heal, not work and I watched my pennies even closer.
Following surgery, there were hours to spend in the company of myself as my body worked to heal. I practiced a different type of surrender than I had not previously practiced and the softer version of me brought a self-tenderness that hadn’t before been revealed. I enjoyed the new pace and the time to sit and contemplate my path. I spent many hours being grateful for my life and how I came to be who I am today. I looked closely at myself with a more delicate eye. Through the deepening of my practice, I saw that my tendency to be dominated by an over-active first chakra and the part of my story that has been laced with feelings of unworthiness, I also watched as these feelings had trickled into how I have come to believe that giving feels safe but receiving is weak and vulnerable. Weak equates to being unable to survive and feeling at risk.
At a cross-roads I saw the trifecta of either surrender or struggle; I don’t receive well, I don’t like to feel unsafe and I thrive with the challenge to survive.
I am a giver of goodness and I had come to believe that I just don’t receive well.
When a friend approached me about setting up a funding campaign to reduce my financial load, my immediate response was a firm NO. Days went by and conversations with the people closest to me were had, I realized that this is a chance to grow…..with also the amazing benefit to receive. Someone also recently said to me that as I refuse to receive I am also denying others the chance to give. So, I said yes. And I am blown away and deeply grateful. Besides this funding campaign and the generous efforts of an amazing man, I am on my way to being just fine. Actually more than fine.
Safe. Secure. Surrendered.