Tag Archives: self-esteem

Moments of Reflection

I heard something a few months ago that has kept sneaking back into my thoughts as I continue to work with students who, in turn, are working through their own obstacles and challenges…I don’t remember where I heard it, which is so often the case when the universe offers up another grain of truth, but it was something to the tune of, “We marry at the level of our self-esteem.” So concisely expressed, with such weight and relevance to it…Obviously, what is being communicated is that we look for a mate, a partner, someone who will reflect back to us how we feel about ourselves at the time of our search. We are looking for solace and acceptance in the arms of another, someone who won’t push us or demean us into territories we’re not ready to delve into. I find this absolutely fascinating, because in most instances, I believe it to be true.

I believe that we are our own worst enemies, and that we unconsciously (and sometimes intentionally) go to great lengths to sabotage ourselves, pandering to the deeply rooted belief that we’re not worthy of that which is great, that which will elevate us to new heights and realities. We stand in our own way. And so if we haven’t yet tapped into our beauty, into that which has always been with us but which has been buried under years of defense mechanisms and insecurities, then we seek out that which is relatable, safe, non-threatening. We don’t limit this search solely to our partners, which is why I have been allowing the word “marry” from the quote to become the umbrella term for any connection or process of seeking out that we undertake.

I believe that if we don’t understand how capable we are, how the only real thing standing in the way of achieving everything we’ve ever dreamed of is our own fear, then we make agreements to the people around us, to the responsibilities we assume, and to the roles we play…agreements to settle for what is in front of us, that which requires little or no effort to attain or to maintain. We align ourselves with mediocrity. We resign ourselves to what we believe is our fate, not grasping the concept that what awaits us is a myriad of possibilities, much like the Choose Your Own Adventure books…different outcomes lie in wait as we attempt to make the best decisions for ourselves, and in keeping with the understanding that no one is ever one thing all the time, we don’t have one scenario waiting for us in life. What happens to and for us is a direct result of the decisions that we actively make using the resources available to us.

And so if we marry at the level of our self-esteem, then we also work in an environment at the level of our self-esteem. We foster friendships with people at the level of our self-esteem, and we afford or deprive ourselves the lifestyles we have at the level of our self-esteem. We take care of ourselves at the level of our self-esteem, and we treat others at the level of our self-esteem…and, ultimately, we allow them to treat us at the level of our self-esteem.

Last week I asked the students in one of my classes how yoga has changed their lives, and the general consensus was that it brought a sense of calm and peace to them, which translated to a boost in their self-esteem, which affected every other aspect of their lives. This is what I’m trying to convey with my work. If people come to practice yoga for purely physical reasons, great. And if they’re searching for something other than that, great. Ultimately, yoga is a system of tools that seems to give people the justification they need to let go of that which has stopped serving them, that which has morphed from an asset into a liability. That’s it. Really.

Need I say more? 🙂

The Whole Nine Yards

In the final stretch of 2010, I can honestly say that the further I travel down the path I currently find myself on, the more familiar I find the surroundings, despite knowing that I’m seeing many of them for the first time. I realize that the concept in itself is extremely abstract, but I really feel like the incredible highs that I’m currently experiencing in my life keep pointing me in the direction I already find myself moving towards…and as incredible events continue to unfold, I’m amazed at how grounded I feel…completely unfazed by the simple grandeur of it all, solidly confident in myself and my abilities. This is a massive revelation for me, because I went through the majority of my life coasting…through jobs that I didn’t feel passionate about, mainly, but that lacklustre approach to my professional life definitely affected what I expected from life and allowed me to mainline in a space of mediocrity and acceptance.

My last blog entry gave me the opportunity to announce a major book project that I decided to tackle, one that already has, and will continue to demand much of my time, focus and energy. When I first started teaching yoga I felt indestructible, which laid the foundation for what I felt was a blinding ambition to do the absolute best job possible conveying what I was learning to my students. As I now find myself in the preliminary stages of working on my book proposal and speaking to people about being a part of it, I find myself once again schooled by life: although producing this book is a literal extension of my desire to help people by giving them a tool to inspire them to feel less isolated and alone, ambition now has no part in the equation. In fact, I mistakenly identified what I thought was ambition over a year ago, instead of seeing it as a pure sense of responsibility combined with obligation. Now, before I go on, I want to make sure that my usage of “obligation” doesn’t infer needing to act against my better judgement, or that I was somehow silencing an inner voice that went against my actions…quite the opposite, really. As someone who is in a position to convey insights to people who are paying attention to me, I’ve realized how serious the responsibility that I’ve assumed is. I’ve realized that it is, without question, my (at the risk of sounding redundant) responsibility and obligation to offer up all I can to those who are receptive, to provide tools to encourage and promote an examined life, one devoid of self-doubt and self-nagging, one that can demonstrate how even our most overwhelming and confidence-destroying insecurities are illusions…tricks to keep us down, to keep us from becoming our ideal selves. And how even those fears and worries are actually uniting…because no one on earth is exempt from these thoughts. It’s only those of us who understand that only by agreeing to those fears, by buying into them, do we let them win. That’s my mission…to help people live less chaotically by providing tools they can keep referring to…to remind them where their focus needs to be, and where their energies are simply lost.

Again, I’ll put it out there: if any of you reading this have lived through something that has changed your life, in any way, and you are willing to be photographed, get in touch with me. Understand that participating in this project will be somewhat of a catharsis, not only for you, but for myself as well. And if you would prefer not to take part, I completely understand. This project will be a win-win for everyone…and now I’ll get back to working on it.

Peace 🙂