Throughout our lives we are constantly redefining, rediscovering, and relearning who we are. We are in a constant state of change. Ebbing and flowing like the tides- having our highs and our lows. But each time we take small pieces of our old selves with us-like little grains of sand. We may not know what these grains are until something occurs to make us stir the sea again and these little pieces of us re-appear.
My life has fallen apart around me at least 20 times in the 27 years that I’ve been on this Earth and will probably fall apart at least another 30 times. I’ve been in the rip tide of the latest falling for probably about a year now- using all the strength I have to swim with the undertones of the tide. It’s been daunting and exhausting, and simply painful sometimes. But, the beauty of life falling apart is the fact that you do get to build yourself up again. We get to reinvent ourselves using small pieces from each “life” we’ve taken part in. Right now I’m picking up the pieces of the identity that I lost in the whirlwind of relationship compromises, job obligations, and money-based motivations; and despite an aching loneliness for my former life, my heart is overflowing with more love and gratitude than I thought possible.
Only through these heart-wrenching challenges can we grow and develop and become more fully who we were meant to be. As I find myself slowly reaching closure in all forgotten aspects of my soul I have been forced to unlock the closed doors of my core; full of dusty memories and misplaced dreams.
My yoga practice really showed up to heal wounds inflicted through years of betrayal as it’s become sweeter, playful, and more soulful. I often think of yoga as a practice which moves beyond the boundaries of the spoken word. A place where lessons become threads in the strong weave of our own practice. Even within the held space of an asana, we find the dance of the breath, the constant subtleties of tuning that align the body more harmoniously. When we focus our gaze inwards, we begin to invite light into the shadows. We learn to take all our sorrows and our hurt and wrap them in the blanket of our own self-love. And then we learn to be compassionate and to trust the process. Through the darkest nights of your soul, a light shines forth and that light allows us-for a moment- to lay that weight to rest so we can finally begin that new cycle of breath; of life. We may still look the same; just as the ocean. But we are forever changed- forever ebbing and flowing.
At my yoga class on Monday our instructor stated that she never tells her son that practice makes perfect because she doesnt know what perfect is. Instead she tells him practice makes progress. This really stuck out to me because ever since I was little I’ve only ever heard practice makes perfect. I think that if I had had someone in my life telling me that no one knows what perfect is and that you can only make progress I wouldn’t have spent so much time thinking I had to be perfect.
I really love the idea of replacing perfection with progress because that’s really all we can do in life is move forward and continue to improve and grow. We will never be done learning or growing or improving ourselves. For me, expecially, this new version of that saying restores my hope. I know I won’t remember it all of the time, but if I can manage to get myself into the habit of saying practice makes progress maybe I won’t feel that daily pressure of needing to be that perfect person anymore.
So, remember, practice makes progress. We are all improving,learning, and growing every day.
As I was sitting at my parent’s table enjoying Thanksgiving with them for the first time in 6 years yesterday I had quite a few thoughts run through my mind. I realized just how different not only I was , but how different everything seemed to be in comparison to the prior year.
Last year I was still trying to learn how to be a post college adult. I thought I was doing everything right. I had a “big kid” job where I got a “big kid” salary and even benefits, I was learning to drive (finally), and I was moving out of my parent’s house. But everything still seemed wrong and confusing. I was still making decisions like a college student. I wasn’t sure how to “fix” this, or if I could.
This year, I’m still in the same “big kid” job, I drive and even own a car that I paid for, and I moved again! This time into an even more independent place where I have roommates and everything! But at first, it still felt like I was a college student playing pretend. But I’ve realized that personality wise I’ve changed too.
Last year I was still questioning every decision I made and asking everyone else if it was right or wrong. I still needed a mass amount of guidance and someone to hold my hand as I figured my way through the woods. This year I’ve just started providing myself with the answers, asking for help when necessary. I’ve learned to navigate the woods fairly well by myself and don’t always need the company now.
I think this is where the post college student comes in, except now it’s more like I’m a working adult. I still have brief moments where that scared little girl comes back into play and that’s usually where I need an extra nudge, But, I think, for the most part, I’m finally starting to get the hang of this “being an adult” thing.
What changes do you see in yourself from the past year?