Follow my Inward Journey
This month I participated in an Instagram challenge (Follow me @Brenskip) called #Wholeheartedyogis. I was amazed at some of the deep soul work this challenge forced me to do and astonished at how deep into my being I was led. So I thought I would compile my writings here in a blog post for those of you who may not be in the Instagram world. Each day had a theme, and we were asked to reflect on that theme and how it manifests (or doesn’t) in our lives. I found myself delving pretty deep and just hope that maybe some of my writings may come as a comfort to someone out there. A reminder that we all encounter these deeply human emotions in different ways, and that we are not alone. So, here it is – My inward journey:
Day 1: Listen
I tend to listen a bit to much with my ears. Meaning I focus in the things happening around me rather than what’s happening to me. So lately I’ve been trying better to listen to my heart. And I mean that in a couple ways.
Yes, I mean I need to listen to my instincts more, but also, I need to listen to my physical heart.
I have found often times that when I start to feel panic or sadness there is a physical manifestation in my heartbeat. And If I can just identify it, it’s much easier to manage those emotions.
Day 2: Worthiness
When I hear the word “Worthiness” I am immediately transported back to the day I learned that I was enough. I was taking yoga class once when the instructor put us in this posture and asked us to silently repeat our own personal mantra to ourselves. One of the suggestions she offered was “I am enough”. That resonated with me and I wasn’t sure why at the time, but as my eyes began to tear up I knew that it must be something I needed to hear. I chose to repeat that mantra and I still come back to it often. It’s so important to remind yourself that you ARE enough. That you ARE worthy.
Day 3: Truth
What is your truth and are you living it? Me? I’m trying. I’m trying my hardest to be more honest with myself and those around me about my deepest secret. I am not perfect. I put in a good face most of the time, I have honed my chameleon skills over the years to blend in and always appear as close to perfect as I can. But it’s exhausting and not my truth. So in honor of living my truth, here is a very shot from today about .3 seconds from falling flat on my face. I am not perfect. I fall, I bleed, I cry, I make mistakes. That is my truth.
Day 4: Shame
I’m usually pretty open with people about my past experiences with depression and anxiety. What I’m generally not too open with people about is that I still struggle with these. I generally feel the need to be strong for people and to set a good example. I tend to put on a good face and shrug off some of the dark feelings I have when others inquire. It’s something I never really felt shame about until I thought i had “beat it”. Then when the anxiety and depression started to reappear in my life I felt shame at having failed to cure myself. It’s one of those things that once I can identify it I gently remind myself that I am human and all I can do is live in the present moment and make the most of the cards I’ve been dealt, even the tough cards. So here’s to remembering that we are all perfect just the way we are and we are all right where we are supposed to be. Feeling shame is a waste of energy.
Day 5: Vulnerability
Eek, that’s a hard one. I’ve been called stoic, reserved, introverted. Not adjectives used to describe someone who finds ease in vulnerability. It’s hard… To open yourself up to the world around you, to trust a divine plan, to accept whatever may come your way. I’m terrible at it, mainly because I do not do well with critique, confrontation, even praise. I find unpredictable situations uncomfortable because then I am vulnerable. I cannot be fully prepared. I cannot be sure that I will be able to portray myself the way I want. In essence I cannot ensure that I can hide my truth if necessary. A bad habit indeed. Something I am working on. I may be working on it for the rest of my life, but I will be indeed doing the work, slowly trudging forward one step at a time, even if only to regress from time to time. I will trudge on, slowly working to open my arms, my heart, my soul to the world.
Day 6: Joy
One of the thing that brings me so much joy is something I hardly ever do anymore- #dance! It’s something that allows me to leave the outside world and retreat into my body.
Of course a good yoga session can bring the same amount of joy, but after reading about foreboding joy (being afraid of the end or the destruction of something that makes you feel joy) I realize this is something I encounter more often in my practice than I should. So that’s something to work on. More dancing. More losing myself in my yoga
Day 7: Gratitude
I spent a fair amount of time today trying to come up with something clever for today about how we should be grateful for everything in life, even the struggles because they make us what we are today blah blah blah. True, but impersonal.
Then, I received a phone call that left me feeling filled with a deep and genuine gratitude. My dad called just to tell me how impressed he is by my writing, my enthusiasm for yoga, and the dynasty I am creating (his words, not mine). It’s often hard for me to take praise, as I wrote about in my post about vulnerability, likely because I don’t feel #worthy and don’t know how to respond. But what a wonderful treat this was to hear from my father, that he is proud of me and to tell me that I am enough. So today, in this moment, I feel so#grateful to have such a supportive family behind me every step of my journey through being. In particular, I feel grateful to have this amazing, intelligent, supportive and loving man as my father, despite, or rather even more so because of the bumps and roadblocks that we have encountered in or relationship over the last 27 years. Thank you, Dad, for always encouraging me and often being the voice that keeps me going. ❤️ You are enough too.
Day 8: Compassion
Compassion is treating your fellow mankind with love and respect as if we were all one. Similarly, self-compassion is treating yourself as though you are human, no less or greater than those around you. This is especially tricky. It’s not sympathy, or even pity. It’s compassion acting with love. It’s something I have to really focus on and I’m grateful to have had the reminder today. Today, self compassion has been especially hrs for myself. I woke up cranky and tired and I’m still battling a nasty cough. I felt the negativity following me around work today like a storm cloud and caught myself being hard on myself for it. But, keeping compassion in mind, I instead stopped the negative thoughts as they came through my head and reminded myself that we all have struggles. I am not weak for having a bad day. I am human. I gave myself an internal hug, took a deep breath and gave myself some love. You are human, you are strong, you will get through today and things will be better, it’s ok to be tired, it’s ok to move slowly, it’s ok to take your time today.
Day 9: Connection
I’ve had a lot of people in my life ask me about this symbol. For those that don’t know this is the #Om symbol. It’s meaning is understood as the first sound to be made upon the creation of the universe. To me it’s significance is one of a deep, undeniable connection between all mankind. It’s a reminder that we all hail from the same place if you go back far enough. We are made of the same stuff. We are interconnected in ways we will never fully be able to grasp. It’s beautiful.
I will never forget the fear I felt the first time I chanted Om in a yoga class. My instructor he just gotten back from training at White Lotus and you could feel the inspiration glowing around her! I thought she was crazy to ask us to all bare our voices in a chant and was skeptical until I heard the result. It was like each soul suddenly became audible and we all joined together in a glorious symphony. I’ve never felt so connected to my fellow mankind. I remember that day often and silently glow to myself.
Day 10: Courage
This is one of those lessons you learn as a child – just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean that you aren’t brave. Courage is all about doing the right thing even though you are scared. But this lesson is usually presented through a story about a dragon slayer and they never tell you what to do when you’re way past fear, dipping into the paralytic terror zone.
I spent a long time living in fear, well I still do really but I have gotten much better at facing it with courage. And when I say fear, I really mean terror and I’m not talking about heroic acts like slaying dragons and saving princesses. I’m talking about this deeply rooted, paralyzingly dread of the simplest tasks- getting gas, buying groceries, being assigned a group project, calling customer service of any kind, going somewhere new, even family gatherings. Terrified. It’s the raw, unbridled terror that makes departing this planet early and your own terms become a real viable option in your mind. Anything to escape this nauseating, deafening feeling of utter terror.
So for a long time, and still sometimes today, It took all of my deepest courage just to get out of the house. Heck It took courage just to stand still and be me. Just to ask the clerk in Safeway where to find the raisins. For me, that courage is found by stepping outside of myself, and I actually have to visualize this for it to work. And then I look at myself from an outsiders perspective and tell myself that there is nothing so wrong with me that I can’t perform these tasks just like everyone else. No one said it had to be easy, but it can be done. Breathe. Keep breathing. And this too shall pass.
Day 11: Call To Action
After delving deep into my self, my soul, my heart over the last 10 days I notice that I feel lighter. More connected. More genuine. Happier. And so, my Call to Action is all about listening to my calling. I plan to continue diving deeper discovering my true self and leading a genuine life. This year I plan to pick up the momentum again and grow my craft – I will blog more. I will paint more. I will continue my journey as a student of yoga, of wellness, of life! I will get myself out there and connect with likeminded folks that feed my soul. My greatest manifestation of this will be a group I hope to create to keep all of us yogi types connected and involved. We are all one and must remember that we all suffer when one of us is not able to live our truth. I want to be a part of something bigger than my 9 to 5. I want to build a supportive community where people thrive!