Today was one of those days, where you wake up feeling as if something has been switched on, something inside of me has been re-connected. The light bulb was shining brightly again, almost as if I have replanted my trees roots, and am branching out onto a new path.
After a week that was ( I quote, directly from my Boss) : ” The equivalent to giving birth to barbed wire”, I was starting to feel as if I had been disconnected from my happy place, my back started aching again, as it did 10 weeks ago when I landed up in hospital with a herniated disk.
Why? Because as usual, I got caught in that rat-race trap again, trying to train for Comrades Marathon, surfing the day after running a hard marathon, ( which I beat myself up about because I did not get the time that I wanted), not knowing then that my body was already begging for a break, and that is why I did not run the marathon I had trained and hoped for. All while working all day in a coma of stress, after running most mornings, teaching Yoga every chance I got, and not making enough time for my own yoga. Until my body, and life, forced me to stay in Savasana, which was about all that I could do, that or a side-ways version of child’s pose with a pillow between my knees. And a series of heavy painkillers poisoning my system. I was a yoga-fraud, and beating myself up about it even more!
Self-judgment started kicking in, fear of never being able to live my life to the fullest again, never being able to teach yoga again, and a couple days of questioning life, why, why me?! Why? Because it was time for the teacher to be taught.
Instead of allowing it to defeat me, I put my running shoes on, and started walking. Doing whatever yoga I could do, listening to my physio, my fascia release therapist, and for the first time in a while, to my body.
10 Weeks later, and guess what.. I am still alive! I did not die from not being able to run, I did not put on 500kgs, I did not lose my strength in the surf, and I did not have to sell all my surfboards and never be able to go near the ocean again. And I have the answers to my questions, why me?! Because I needed to learn!
Since having to let go of all the time that my running was taking up, to wear my body out to run 90kms on the 10th of June , which I have already done, I have had so many yoga opportunities falling at my feet. I have learnt to appreciate the surf and the ocean again, not take it for granted as I was doing, surfing in all conditions to get my fix, to hide from the world that I could not face anymore without feeling a wave of anxiety breaking on my head. I have been reminded how humbling the ocean is, I got to re-live the stoke that one gets when they catch their first wave, something that I had to learn to do again. I have enjoyed only being able to walk, and actually notice what is around me, smile and greet people walking past, take time to appreciate the sunrise. Take time to reconnect with my camera, a passion of mine that I had totally ignored.
And I have learnt to SUP ( stand up paddle board), which was merely as a means to get back into the ocean again safely, while building good core strength again. This has become such a fix for me, paddling out into the deeper parts of the ocean, sitting out there on the board and just watching the sunrise, embracing the fact that I am a part of it in that moment. Having dolphins swimming underneath me, jumping in with them and listening to them underwater. What better therapy, and experience could anybody ask for, before going to work?!
I have learnt to calm down, and appreciate my body, like a real yogi should. I have learnt to handle my stress a little better, but also to learn to let go a little more, with my back aching every now and then, when things start getting heavy, or I start trying to run, I start to feel this little “niggle”, just a subtle reminder from my back that I need to calm down. Or else!
The biggest lesson, I have learnt to ask for help! I did not realise how ungrateful I was seeming by always trying to do everything myself, feeling guilty if I did accept someones help, as if people would think that I was incapable if I was not able to do everything.
I have learnt how to be HUMAN.
When I teach yoga now, I feel like I am more connected with my students than ever before, I am just as human as they are, not this perfect, unbreakable super-human as social media loves to paint yoga instructors as in pretty coloured pants. We are all human, we all make mistakes, and we are not perfect. My students have been able to learn from my mistake now, not listening to my body, not taking enough time out to just “be”. We are all in this life together, it is not a race. And they appreciate my transparency, exposing my demons and mistakes.
So at the end of this week, I celebrate the birth of the “barbed wire”, feeling the stress and chaos of the week and all the challenges that it had for me, releasing and letting go. I woke up this morning feeling energised, renewed, where as a couple days ago, I felt myself going back to that dark space. We tend to put blinkers on and ignore the dark spaces. All we need is a light, a candle, to illuminate them, and see them for what they are trying to teach us, rather than to avoid them completely.
As soon as we have learnt to not let them intimidate us, we are able to truly feel free within ourselves, which is exactly how I feel today. I had a good paddle out this morning, unfortunately my dolphin friends were still sleeping today! I did however, feel like my batteries had been recharged, that I breathed in fresh new life, and said goodbye to the baggage that I have been trying to run the rat-race with.
I’ve realised that trying to win the rat-race, is like trying to run Comrades Marathon barefoot, with blisters on your feet, in blazing hot sun with no water..and they keep on moving the finish line. What is the point of that? Get out of the race, and just “be” in that moment, it is only in that moment that you will realise your purpose, realise what you have been blind to all these years, and that is when you truly start to live.
I am opening my eyes to so many more doors that have been staring at me for a while, begging me to open them, and suddenly the dark spaces are not seeming so dark anymore.
Have a great weekend everyone, I plan to practice a lot of Savasana, and enjoy every moment of it!