Yoga asks us to look honestly at what is blooming inside of us. At times, it can be challenging to make room for the aspects of our experience that are hard to bear. The grief, disappointment, depression and anxiety can feel overwhelming. Yet, we must. When we deny our feelings, they eventually show up and blindside us in a multitude of ways, depression, aggression, or self harm to name a few.
Yoga teaches us that everything is interconnected. When their is collective suffering, we are all affected by it. Inequalities that leave marginalized groups living in unsafe environments affects the physical and mental health of entire communities. One may even feel threatened by other people's suffering and try to shut it out, deepening the divide. In fact, to be able to see suffering, both our own and others, and allow ourselves to feel something, is a good thing! It reminds us that we are human, that our hearts have huge capacity and that in our shared humanity lies inherent dignity. This allows for true connection which is both healing and full of beauty.
I have found these words from Sherri Mitchell, in her book Sacred Instructions, a helpful vision for what is possible:
"Thankfully, even in this darkest night, we can anticipate the coming of a new dawn. What we are seeing now is only part of the story. In order to see the larger picture, we must once again expand our vision. We must be willing to step back and look at the long view of conscious evolution. When we do, we begin to realize that what appears to be a time of darkness, descent, and destruction is a time of new birth. We are in the long dark birth canal, and the Great Mother is in the throes of her laboring pain. This is not a mythical birth, and the birth canal that brings life into this world is not a metaphor for something; it is its epitome. Through this birth canal spirit is entering matter, overall and in each discrete entity. Slowly, spirit is awakening matter to the primordial truth that it is derived from and at one with spirit. Through this process, spirit is extending the presence of the Creator into the deep darkness, awakening all of the shadows and paradoxes so that they can be birthed back into the light, and eventually transcended and integrated back into the whole."
In each moment, we are being asked to create our future. How we connect to what is both directly in front of us, and present inside of us, creates a lasting impression on what is to come. As I look inside, I am curious to notice what is growing in my garden, and to get intentional about what I want to plant. I am looking to plant seeds of collaboration, open hearted dialogue, and compassion for myself when I lose my temper or make another a mistake. I notice how judgmental I can be and wonder what it would look like to be more accepting of others. I dream of a world where all beings recognize their innate goodness.
What are you growing in your garden? What are the pieces of you that need to be birthed back into the light? What support do you need? How can you offer support to others? I encourage you time and space to dream, feel yourself, love yourself, and connect with others on the path. Remember that you are perfect as you are and you are not alone.
written by Emily Garrett