Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Week of 10/27/2019 Intention: The Yamas: Ahimsa (non-harm;) Satya (honesty;) Asteya (non-stealing;) Brahmacharya (abstinence;) and Aparigraha (non-hoarding.) Having always been inspired by the Ancient Greek folklore of the Phoenix, the bird who rises from the ashes again and again, I was intrigued when we had a speaker at Asheville Yoga Center's training from "Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy." I mean, "phoenix," "yoga," and "therapy," how could this not be good, right? Little did I know...
Dr. Ruth Jacobsen walked in very humbly and quietly, introduced herself as "Ruth," and began telling our group about the organization she was representing. Indeed, everything she uttered I knew in my body and soul to be true. Since it's fascinating, but not the focus of this blog, here is a link if you'd like to read a short article by Ruth: https://pryt.com/2014/04/body-mind/listening-body-applying-principles-phoenix-rising-yoga-therapy-psychotherapy/ .
At the end of her visit, she treated us trainees to a yoga session designed to help us rid ourselves of negative emotional stress our bodies were holding onto. During this free and flowing practice she stated," Everything you need, you have within you right now." Now I had been feeling pretty neglected coming into the training weekend, and was feeling quite resentful about it, and here this woman was saying what? I don't have everything I need! No one is even asking what I need! When she later invited us to "shake off" any negative feelings for others, I did my part and then some. What was I shaking off? I had to name my feeling if I did that, and it was "resentment." Then, in final meditation, all the puzzle pieces of her gently suggested words came tumbling into place and the awful, wonderful truth hit, "Everything I need, I have within me right now." Back injury screaming for attention? Schedule a massage....maybe not 75 minutes, maybe 30, maybe 10...maybe Google self-healing at home. Over committed? Say "No," or ask for help. No one will listen? Schedule an appointment with a therapist...pray...journal...invite a friend to coffee...volunteer at a shelter. What happened when I "shook off" those negative feelings was that I created what Ruth calls "loving presence." It is alluded to in her article, but she described it as "learning not to have a personal agenda in someone else's healing, not letting our own "stuff" get in the way, and trusting the healing process." I had been expecting others to be someone they weren't, or being farther along their healing continuum than they were, and I had been resenting that my needs weren't taken care of.
My needs weren't taken care of because I wasn't taking care of them. I am responsible for my own happiness. Everything I need, I have within me right now. It does not mean I have to be Superwoman and push through it. It doesn't mean that I have to stuff it down and hold in feelings until there is an emotional explosion or breakdown. Those are survival skills that served me at some time, but are now getting in the way of my own self-care. Now I feel empowered to take responsibility for my own healing. It goes back to the most foundational of all the messages in yoga, "Do no harm." It goes back to the most foundational of all the spiritual messages written in our Bible and other spiritual texts, "Love," and "Surrender."
All of the Yamas are listed as the focus of intention this week because they are all encapsulated in this week's reflection. I had my epiphany, I will leave you to yours in your meditations if the time is right. I am trusting the process, I am trusting God, and I am rising from the ashes of my old self once again.