…..They become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”― Lao Tzu
Sunday, I woke up and had some coffee with my favorite person (husband Kenj) then I picked up some reading material and also ran across an old notebook that I hadn’t cracked open in a while so I was like “ooh fun, what’s in here” Oh I was in for a treat.
Back story, I was raised in a cult and one of the many ways they would control was my sending out monthly GN’s (Good News)- basically propaganda, I don’t think there is another word for it, and these GNs could be made up of anything, structural changes, new “moves of the spirit” prophecies from “Jesus” or the founder “Grandpa” or Bojangles, (I’m serious) really anything. Anyway, being a devout follower I would write down the passages that spoke to me, or things I knew I needed to work on and had a problem with. I thought maybe if I wrote down these motivational quotes it would help me be a better disciple. Here are some quotes I ran across in my notebook:
It’s worth giving up your life to live the life Jesus wants you to. But, if you chose not to obey, you chose to forfeit a measure of the protection of my spirit and you will lack the stamina and strength to continue on. (This was a message “from Jesus” )
You are your own worst enemy. There is no such thing as good self or bad self, there is only bad self. (This is from the founder, David Berg)
If you’re putting others first and tuning in to their needs and desires, if you’re outgoing and unselfish, if you’re meek and humble, listening more than you speak, being willing to yield to me and others rather than push your own way or loudly profess your own opinions, then you are walking in my spirit and in the spirit that I intended for a woman to walk. (This was “from Jesus”)
Needless to say, I had a moment of “what in the actual F@c%!!” To think I wrote these down in earnest, really trying to be the best I could but never feeling capable or strong, and I wondered why I didn’t feel strong. Perhaps 23 years of the conditioning above had something to do with it. Just a hunch.
Contrast this with the material I’m currently reading- I mean besides all the yoga books :)
” If you look at the definition of love and think about what it means in terms of self-love, it’s very specific. Practicing self love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect and to be kind and affectionate towards ourselves. This is a tall order given how hard most of us are on ourselves.”
“The wholehearted journey is not the path of least resistance, it’s a path of conscious choice.
The willingness to tell out stories, feel the pain of others and stay genuinely connected in this disconnected world is not something we can do halfheartedly. To practice courage, compassion and connection is to look at life and the people around us and say, “I’m all in.”
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
The above quotes are from Brene Brown in her book The gifts of imperfection.
On one hand, the you have thinly veiled threats about stepping out of line, people telling you, you are all bad, and the laying out of the path that you- as a woman- are supposed to walk. All of these encourage submissiveness, giving away your power, feeling like you are bad and helpless without others to guide you. Those were my thoughts and struggles.
On the other hand, the thoughts that are running through my brain now are ones of acceptance, trust in myself, finding my joy and empowering myself to be the best version I can be. No threats, no impending doom, just cultivating joy and connection.
I am 100 % happier now than I was back then. It’s incredible for me to go back there and remember how helpless I felt and how I had no power because I had given it all away, I didn’t know what power was. I am so grateful that I know that I am no longer in that place. I am proud of myself for the work that I’ve done to overcome the conditioning to be helpless and play victim.
I feel truly free, free to be myself, free to invest in my life and what I love to do. I teach to empower others who feel like they are incapable. If there is anything that yoga teaches you it’s that things that seem out of reach, are in fact possible. You find that you grow strength and as you continue to practice you find that you have access to things you never thought were possible.
You are worth the work on yourself, and you are more than your story.
The darkness is there so that you can define the light.