“I hope to be able to find a balance between the hard and the soft…”
I decided earlier this year to give myself the gift of Yoga Teacher Training. It just so happens that the intensive training I decided to do extends over my birthday month with graduation only days before my actual birthday. I’ve been wanting to do this for years. If not now, when?
With my 54th birthday only weeks away, it is interesting for me to be asked by my yoga master teachers to consider a “highest aim”. “Highest”? “Aim”? At my age it’s hard not to consider what I’ve reached for in the past. In my 20’s I yearned for everlasting connection, also known as marriage. In my 30’s my goal was to build a family. At 40 I had fine tuned my passions and had a career that not only super charged my creativity but provided endless flexibility for family and fun. These goals or “aims” described by decade are amazingly predictable and quite frankly superficial.
My life long highest aim, biggest goal, loftiest accomplishment and most challenging desire is to learn how to love myself. I never have and it’s unlikely at this point that I ever will. Years of therapy, support groups, an inpatient stay and endless self help applications have never been able to erase or ease the “I’m not good enough” chanting that goes on in my head. In yoga teacher training we have brushed over the idea of personal baggage. My bag of rocks began to fill when I was very young. Pebbles, stones and cinderblocks weighed me down until it just wasn’t possible to move on without making some changes. I will never blame my behavior, relationships or life decisions on my childhood; we all have had one and not growing or moving past it is inexcusable and lazy. However, that said, no matter how hard we move toward change and acceptance, some of our rocks stay with us.
In my 50’s I have strengthened against harmful people and continue to work toward the complete elimination of those who are toxic. These efforts have helped me lighten my load and move toward self -acceptance. Yoga is about breath, balance and managing fear. By continuing to enhance my personal practice, I hope to be able to find a balance between the hard and the soft and then maybe, just maybe, I’ll begin to find a way to love myself.