I was 25, single, living in Los Angeles and in many ways having it all (externally).
I was doing what I thought good, hardworking, ambitious women do. They work hard, climb the corporate ladder, earn money, spend it (perhaps on some nice clothes at Anthropologie!!), save money in their 401k account, eat at nice restaurants, donate money, volunteer, run marathons, hang out with friends, serve on a non-profit board, find the right guy, plan a wedding, you get it!!
Yet, somewhere deep inside, I still wasn’t feeling complete. I had a lot of questions. Here I was living “ the dream” and yet not really living it. Being a working professional didn’t feel as fulfilling as I thought it would be. I felt disengaged, disheartened, exhausted, stressed, lonely & depleted. I feel a little odd typing these words today as it feels so clichéd having read so many of these stories here and here and here but regardless I’ll still join the club:-)
So while coping with my chaos, one morning (interestingly during a scavenger hunt for a team building activity at work) as I was walking down the streets of Santa Monica, I came across this absolutely gorgeous studio called Exhale where I took my first yoga class and I was hooked. I kept coming back again & again. Friday evening meant a Restorative Yoga class!
Every class made a difference. I felt a little more relaxed, a little more content, a little more aware, and a little more peaceful. As I saw my own thoughts more clearly, I also experienced more turmoil. In some ways more questions started showing up and sometimes there were no answers.
Yet, I loved going back to my mat. I loved the ability to truly stretch my body in ways I had never done before. I loved being able to pause and try to find the truth that existed inside of me and not having to prove or live up to someone else’s expectations. I loved being in a community of like-minded people.
Did all my problems disappear? Absolutely not BUT I felt a little more held, a little more supported, a little more secure in navigating life’s challenges.
My own practice and the difference it made in my life inspired me to get my certification, to learn more about mindfulness and compassion. I wanted to deepen my own understanding and share with others how amazing our own mind and body is and what a different it can make in healing ourselves!
One of the key reasons I am writing this post is to explore further the quote at the beginning of the post. A few years back, I would have never imagined having the words yoga/meditation teacher in my bio because I am not the most calm or relaxed person and often carry anxiety with me. Somewhere I believed (wrongfully) that teachers have it all figured out and are absolute masters of the outcomes they are trying to create. Facing my own anxiety and learning to practice kindness with myself has given me tremendous strength to be real, human, imperfect and still hold a space where others can access their own wisdom, calm and peace that exists inside of each one of us. I wouldn’t be doing this work had I not been a sensitive, anxious and impatient person myself and seen the benefits of this practice and I am incredibly grateful to what I sometimes call negative traits. Ah, the ego!
What do you most need to learn that others can benefit from? What are you called to share in the world?
Come join the conversation!
Very well written .I agree with the quote. There is definitely a feeling of excitement to learn something new and then teach that thing to someone else.
Thanks Sumit! So true. There is indeed something magical about learning something new and sharing that. It’s quite inspiring how much you learn and grow by sharing what you know. So grateful to have a supportive partner like you:-)
Great post, neha! I wish i had the same resolve as you do to always keep working on yourself to lead a more fulfilling life. Anyway 2015 is different and i am keen to take a page from your book. Keep on inspiring!
Thanks for your kind words! You are being hard on yourself my dear:-) Your journey is indeed beautiful and inspiring in its own many ways. Glad this blog post spoke to you.
“I wouldn’t be doing this work had I not been a sensitive, anxious and impatient person myself and seen the benefits of this practice and I am incredibly grateful to what I sometimes call negative traits. Ah, the ego!”
Your words are so TRUE!!! I am in the process of following my dream of working with adolescents and there are times when I just don’t feel good enough to do this work based on my past (mistakes made in my youth) and not feeling like a role model/mentor, but the truth is the passion to do the work we do comes from our experiences and seeing that change is possible, and recognizing the benefits. I hope I continue to remember that important piece whenever my inner critic/bully wants to stop me from growing and taking risks.
Thank you so much Jennifer! Yes, you are not alone. I strongly believe that when we step out to do something we are meant to do, learn a new skill, reach for a bigger goal, the inner critic gets rather LOUDER so I applaud you for recognizing her voice and finding ways to compassionately staying true to your missing and values. I am a huge fan of Tara Mohr’s work on working with the inner critic.
Good luck and best wishes!