From birth (really, from the womb), we are required to look outside of ourselves for sustenance. Without our parents or caretakers, we could not survive, and this becomes our way. However, over time, we are so conditioned to looking outside that we have, or seem to have, an underlying credo: it's others who provide us with what we need - be it love, support, strength, guidance or peace of mind. How often do we depend on someone or something else to confirm how we feel or give us what we need?
For so long, I needed others to validate my worth, my value. Whether it was through my job and my desperately wanting my boss’s praise, or that of my boyfriend, I turned to them to feel strong, to feel valued or loved, to confirm that I made the right decision. On the mat, it would be an approving look or affirmation from my teacher. So rarely did I ever turn to myself in those moments; so rarely did I look within.
Time and again over the last decade, I heard that precise catechism, “look within… all you need is there,” and each time I wanted to revolt. Against whom or what, I had no idea – but at the very least, against the mere concept of "looking within." Somehow that catechism has seeped in and I now realize the sustenance provided by others is fleeting and that which I give myself is, by far, longer lasting and far more nourishing.
I recently spoke with a yoga practitioner who so beautifully shared his gratitude for what the studio offered him – how it saved him, how it supported him in his time of need. The truth is, he gave that to himself. He saved himself each and every time he chose to show up. He was choosing to do something different than what his other proclivities or desires might suggest.
The invitation this week on the mat is to reflect on your needs.
Why is it that you showed up? What is it that you are wanting?
Strength? If strength, can you know that in each and every pose you can explore that strength of the mind and body?
Peace of mind? Each time the hamster wheels begin spinning, can you come back to your breath, back to the practice, back to whatever is directly in front of you?
To feel your body? Can you really connect with your body – with each and every part… noticing what it needs or wants and feeding it accordingly?
Is it love? Can you give that to yourself, in this moment? If that is a foreign concept, can you start exploring it now... how is it that you receive love? Is it with a hug, a verbal affirmation, a gift? When received – how does that feel? Then – sit with the feeling of what is like to receive that love, giving it to yourself, allowing it to fill you up.
As Rumi said, “there is a life force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O traveler, if you are in search of that, don’t look outside, look inside yourself and seek that.”
Look inside, seek that.
Rachel (to receive these weekly, subscribe below! :D )