We can only move at the speed of trust. When we have trusting relationships, even when we get thing wrong, people still understand our meaning. The same goes with our relationship towards ourselves. In order to build trust, we need integrity, which is the combination of intent and behaviour – without a gap between the two. Our ability to show up authentically, intentionally, to be vulnerable and be seen, even if we make mistakes, takes a significant amount of courage. We need to start choosing courage over comfort, especially as this year has forced us out of our comfort zone and challenged us to rise to the occasion.
Sometimes life has to knock us off our feet, shatter us to pieces, so that as we piece ourselves back together we can see what no longer fits in order for us to become better versions of ourselves. Life challenges us so that we can become the people we need to be for the life we want to live and the world we want to live in. We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable because this year has thrown comfort out the window.
We know that we have got to feel to heal. To go far, we have to go deep. We have to do the inner work. Throughout life, we build a cocoon around ourselves. This cocoon gives us safety but it also imprisons us; it blinds us. Now, it’s often shame that creates those walls. People use shame and judgement to deflect their own insecurities and fears in order to project their own personal issues on others. We have got to do the work to break the cycle of shame, and yet we fear our shadow. So we run. And we numb… Don’t allow shame to become a rejection of who you are or your triggers to keep you in a state of stuck emotions and repeated negative patterns.
In the words of Brene Brown, “The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” Happiness without sadness has no meaning. There can be no progress without change. There can be no change without chaos. There is duality in everything and it shapes life as we know it. Every aspect of life is created from a balanced interaction of opposing forces: good/bad, happy/sad, yin/yang, shiva/shakti. It is impossible to understand and fully appreciate something without knowing its counterpart, which is why running away from our shadow keeps us in a state of spiritual bypass.
Oneness or union, which is the essence of yoga, is the coexistence of these opposing forces without seeing them as separate. We are in a constant state of conflict because we try to suppress negative emotions – but when we numb the bad, we stand the risk of numbing the good too. We practice yoga to find balance, to allow ourselves to see and work both sides of the same coin. We need to stop hiding from the shadows. We need to find forgiveness for the “us” we have been fighting, allowing ourselves to make space for new behaviours so that we can stand firmly in who we truly are – with integrity and purpose, courage and vulnerability.