Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2017 issue.
We are but explorers during our short time on this planet.
What kind of explorer are you?
Are you a viscous viking armed for war in the name of peace? Are you a pillaging pirate taking all that there is take? Or are you a conscious collective with the common good of all in your mind’s eye?
What do you choose to explore?
Some choose to only explore the tight quarters of their own self-inflicted restraint; whether it is a restraint of judgment, fear, lies or half-truths. Some choose to talk an amazingly believable talk, where their followers lap up their words like thirsty camels, but they fumble miserably in the walk of their words — tripping over one failed relationship after another, ultimately leaving a pathway of destruction and disconnection behind them.
You see, regardless of how we choose to describe ourselves, or our intent for our voyage during our limited time on this planet, our true colors always shine through. This is my conclusion after nearly 40 years of life on this planet.
For me, I choose to explore through yoga. Yoga isn’t just a new age name for dropping into some mis-aligned injury creating backbend in your best fitted outfit for your next great Instagram selfie, or YTT advertisement.
The word yoga is derived from the sanskrit root word “Yuj,” which means to yoke, merge and come together. I interpret this to mean connection — with no borders, no limit nor any restraint whatsoever. In true connection there is no room for pedestals, better-than personas or even competition — especially in the name of yoga (insert the eye-roll emoticon here).
Throughout my two-decade journey as a full-time student of yoga, and multi-faceted yoga facilitator, I have learned that complete foundational alignment is 100-percent absolutely necessary for anything to have a positive, lasting impact and true connection.
Sure, you can practice the same delusional downward facing dog or stay in a perceptually perfect partnership, or in a ridiculously co-dependent relationship for years and be a completely misaligned mess; however, with the misalignment comes a huge lack of inspiration; with a lack of inspiration, one loses the desire to explore anything other than what lies within the shackles of their own misinterpreting, misconstruing, mistrusting mind.
I myself have explored what I call the depths of my own soul as I know it to date. I have experienced self-hatred, immense regret, deep grief, physical pain, emotional turmoil and cognitive disarray. I have experienced paralyzing fear; fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of being alone and the fear of another human. I have feared failing, and I have feared success.
I have also experienced the power of my spirit and the brightness of my light. I have experienced acceptance, allowance, self love, and an appreciation of my conscious, compassion and kindness. I have experienced completely rebuilding my life in a foreign country (self-high five). I have experienced true love (big sigh out). I have experienced connection that I never thought was possible. I have experienced real friendship that I will forever be grateful for. I have experienced being disliked, talked about, judged, the topic of gossip, and publicly humiliated — some self-inflicted humiliation, and humiliation inflicted by others.
The best part? I have experienced that it is all ok. I have experienced being a space holder for all of it. For myself to responsibly express ALL of my emotions, and for those who choose to perhaps not so responsibly express their own (who am I to judge?).
My greatest experience thus far, other than giving birth and being a mother, is that of truly letting go of the need to fit in or please anyone. Anyone. Life is WAY too short. Or what if life is too long? What if you spend your entire life as a people pleasing pufter? Gracias pero no gracias.
I have experienced choice — to choose to allow my fear and my pain to be fuel for my journey; to serve as the forward moving wind for my sails. It can support me, passionately hold me, and lovingly hug me through my moments of what seem to be debilitating despair.
You see, I choose to be a fearless explorer. Fear-less. Not absent of fear, or grief, or pain, and certainly not absent from mistakes and regret, but absent from suffering, absent from control, and absent from allowing the opinion of others to knock me out of my alignment with myself and with my conscious. Absent from pathetic people pleasing antics.
I choose to explore quiet perseverance and heart-fueled connection.
Indefinitely, unexpected turns and turbulence arise, but those are what make an explorer great. The great explorers move forth into unknown territory with a graceful strength, curiously listening, while maintaining a solid anchor to their alignment and their foundation. They are courageous comrades sailing forward with grand grace and a slight smile on their face. They are true leaders, true teachers, for they force no-thing — nothing. They do not claim to be masters, instead they authentically share their plethora of disasters. They are living connection, not just spewing false words, or posting inspirational quotes to skew perception.
So to all of the explorers out there, whether you are a vicious viking, precarious pirate, or a conscious cutie: May the fordable, force be with you.
If you choose to explore through yoga, may you be abundantly blessed with enough presence and consciousness and conscious to fearlessly walk your talk — not just walk — stomp your talk loud and clear, with kindness and accountability. May you be strong, but soft, and for the love of all things, be truthful. That is what the world needs: more truthful, accountable, yoga explorers.
Want to explore with me? Let’s raise our sails together and connect in the name of yoga. I am happy to chat, provide support, tell a few jokes and create a constructive collaboration.
Photo by Hali Love.