August 08, 2019 1 Comment
Written By Daina Lynn
I tend to get very ethereal with day-to-day things. It’s just my nature. And it’s part of my self-reflection process. What I mean by that is I like to take a simple thing, like my yoga practice, let’s say, and think of how it relates to bigger themes in my life. I tend to romanticize it, making the mundane exquisite, which plays into my ethereal thinking.
Life is far more fun when we can make the mundane feel exquisite.
Recently, during one of my “self-reflection” sessions, I came to realize that my yoga practice reminded me a lot of love… romance… and the concept of time. And that we can use something like an art or craft to learn how to fall in love with ourselves.
I’ve been teaching and practicing yoga for a while now. The journey, like a sweeping romance of novelistic proportions, has seemingly gone by in the blink of an eye. This hit me recently, when someone asked how many years I’d been teaching. As I began counting back the years in my head, I came to realize I’d been teaching and taking for 10 years now.
It struck me… Maybe because, like a fumbled, nervous utterance on a first date, I could still remember how awkward I felt on my mat the first time I rolled it out. How I looked around the room at all the other “yogis,” wondering if my mat was the “right one.” How I stared at the women next to me through each pose, sequence, and transition… mimicking their movements so I wouldn’t look “out of place.”
And then, I thought of where I am today. How my eyes remain closed most of my practice. How I watch my own arms and legs extend, gracefully, through each posture… never doubting, never wondering… just feeling. I still sometimes look to others for guidance… but I no longer try to look like anyone else. In fact, I no longer mind looking “out of place.”
I have fallen in love with myself, through yoga.
Isn’t it strange how any art or practice that we dedicate ourselves to is a lot like love… or romance? How we can trace back to each event that led to the next, like a series of dominoes slowly colliding into one another?
The marathon runner can still recall their first race… and how each run felt different than the last.
The writer can still remember the day the wall fell down… and the words finally released from the pen. And how each story they wrote was inspired by something entirely unique.
And I’m sure you can remember the first time you fell in love. Or perhaps, the “best time” you fell in love...
This is the art of falling in love with yourself. Finding love, romance, or excitement in the things YOU love… that require no one else to fulfill. Yoga, writing, painting, wood working, kayaking… oh the list is so long and obscure… there are so many things we could dedicate ourselves to.
And not only does falling in love with ourselves teach us how to love ourselves, it teaches us how to approach a healthy relationship with another person. How dedication, consistency, and “showing up” are crucial to sustaining any sort of growth.
In my eyes, these “crafts” or “arts” are simply many different paths that lead to the same place… the self. When we dedicate ourselves to something, an art or a craft, we have no choice but to watch ourselves stumble… fall down… stand up… triumph… lose… crumble… become reborn…
For me, the idea of “giving up” on my practice hasn’t occurred to me. Why? Because I have no desire to give up on myself. It doesn’t matter where I am… physically or in my head… I know that showing up will make me better… no matter if I’m stumbling or being reborn. Consistency and deliberate action are what spur change… not what we can say with our mouths or how many accolades we can point to.
Which leads me to the concept of time… because consistency and deliberate action takes up a lot of time. And our time is limited on this Earth… one could even argue it’s our most precious commodity. Where do you dedicate your time? Your phone? Your TV? Your friends?
Or do you deliberately dedicate your time to areas you know will make you a better person, and therefore make those around you better people, too?
Einstein posited, in his theory of special relativity, that time can slow down or speed up depending on how fast you move relative to something else. And for a lot of people, especially those who get heavy into the physics side of things, time is but an illusion. There is no past, present, or future.
Before we get too deep into the “physics” weeds, let’s bring it back to the thought at hand… how our dedication to a craft or an art can teach us a heck of a lot about love and interpersonal relationships.
In my experience, the most rewarding relationships… whether with another person or a craft… are the ones where time escapes us. Where we become the physicist who doesn’t believe in “time” as we know it. Because it’s in the moments when we don’t think about time that the unexplainable happens.
We are so enveloped with our deliberate and dedicated actions, we no longer see time as this finite, fleeting thing… we see that WE are the fleeting variable. But time is an endless one.
We have all the time in the world to be who we want to be. Whether it’s the painter, the yogi, the runner, the physicist, or the person who’s in love… and it all starts with falling in love with ourselves, first.
Let’s take a look at each one of the tools we can use to fall in love with ourselves… dedication, consistency, and “showing up.”
Dedication can also be conveyed as commitment, zeal, drive… or wood that fuels the fire burning within us. Our internal fire doesn’t just burn on its own… we must add wood to the fire. We add wood to the fire by spending time with ourselves, learning ourselves… and we turn that time spent and wisdom gained from it into fuel.
Just like we must give our vehicles the proper gasoline and oil to run properly, we must fuel ourselves… body, mind, and spirit, with what we need. No one can give us what we need… We are responsible for that. Other people can help us along, and even give us what we want… but never what we need. And that delicate balance of finding what we want and need takes dedication to self-growth.
Consistency is the absence of deviation. We do not stray from the path. We show up, each and every day, ready to implement the work that’s needed. It sounds rigid, I must admit… but when we consistently show up for something, especially if it’s something we are passionate about, like yoga for me, we are forced to grow.
That’s because, like I said earlier, we will inevitably stumble… make mistakes… and fail. But, we will also learn how to triumph… conquer fears… and prevail, no matter the challenge in front of us. If we decide to “take time away” from our self love or growth, we will no longer be faced with opportunities to grow… to learn. Someone once told me that every person we meet is a teacher… if we allow them to be. There is no good or bad, just another life lesson that makes us stronger and wiser. That’s why we must stay consistent with our passion.
Showing up is interwoven into the first two aspects. But it’s a crucial step. “Showing up” simply means we musn’t give up on ourselves, no matter what we face. It’s combining the dedication and consistency, and living them.
For example, though I felt “out of place” the first few years of my practice, and even teaching, I still showed up. The fear of being out of place never stopped me from showing up. And because of that, I was given the gift of many ups, downs, and reversals. All of which have taught me something about myself.. And how I react to different stimuli.
When we constantly “show up” for ourselves, we are forced to learn ourselves. The beauty, the darkness, the good, the bad… and then we realize, there really aren’t divides within us. There is no good or bad… simply our interpretation of things. Meaning, after I realized I felt “out of place” on my mat, I began to explore why I felt that way. Were others telling me I looked out of place? No. Where others forcing me to come to the class, even though I felt odd about it? No. I realized that I was still in control of my actions, and the way I felt about them was simply my interpretation… through my lens.
Once I told myself I wasn’t out of place… I no longer felt out of place. Now, it didn’t happen over night… I didn’t wake up one morning feeling confident in my practice. But, I knew that if I kept showing up, day in and day out, I’d have no choice but to feel like I belonged. I simply had to change my perspective.
Through dedication, consistency, and “showing up” for ourselves, we can find love and strength from within, first and foremost. We can learn about ourselves and how we tick. And that’s the strength we can give back to the world… through our art and practices. And perhaps through the love we possess, the next time we awkwardly fumble through words on a first date.
I remember the first time I realized I had a choice… I walked away from a relationship that no longer suited me… one that was downright bad for me. I realized I didn’t owe anyone my life, just because we shared something together. In that moment, I saw that there was no lock on “the door”... and I could step out into the sun at any point.
That only fueled my inner fire. I realized I was not helping myself, operating at 50% of my potential, being with someone who didn’t support me. And I sure wasn’t helping anyone else, either. Once I stepped into the sun, I realized the importance of creating my inner fire FIRST, before I tried to help stoke someone else’s.
When we find that love within first, we realize we don’t need anyone to provide it for us. Sure, we may realize that others can stimulate that love, and help elevate it… or they might drag it down. But in the end, we have the choice to strengthen ourselves… regardless of what or who we face. You’re in the driver’s seat. You’re at the wheel. You always have a choice to turn the car around or keep driving… and no one can choose it for you. Which path will you choose? I can tell you one thing… the journey of falling in love with yourself first isn’t an easy one… but boy, is it a heck of a lot of fun.
Meet The Writer
Daina had three desires as a child… to be a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, a lion tamer, and a writer.
After attending the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she came closer to the third desire. Daina has worked for NPR, Newsy, ESPN, and now works as an editor for a financial publishing company in Delray Beach, Florida, and as a writer for MyFitnessPal.
While she hasn’t yet become an NFL football player or a lion tamer, she spends her free time practicing Reiki and yoga. She’s been a certified yoga teacher since 2009 and a certified Reiki practitioner since 2017.
She now combines her passion for reading and writing with her passion for helping others empower themselves to heal from the inside out.
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April 19, 2021