Shining Your Light
Isn't it funny how you can discover something, forget about it for a while and then find it again right when you need it the most? It's been a rough year, 2016. From traveling in India for the third time to disappointment and rollercoaster emotional rides and emigrating from the UK to Germany - it has been full on, non stop. By the time Summer was over, I was depleted. Totally spent. I was crabby, tired, emotionally and creatively blocked, and ready to hibernate away from it all. And then I saw this.
I'd downloaded Light Is The New Black on Kindle after a fellow Ashtak graduate shared it on Instagram months ago. I'd been drawn to the dreamy cover and one clicked it as if my life depended on it...only to forget about it straight away because, you know, I had so much other stuff going on. And then, one night when I was so tired I could barely see straight, I took myself to bed and scrolled through my Kindle to see this waiting for me. And it was exactly what I needed to find.
There's something about Autumn that fills me up in a way the other seasons can't. It might be the spectacular oranges and reds, from leaves to squashes and pumpkins, or it might be the scent of wood burning in the air. It might even be the appeal of chunky knit scarves and boots. Whatever it is, I always find myself wanting and striving to be more. I've always known this. But I always forget that in order to feel this surge of creativity, of sharing, of gratitude and boundless energy, I have to take care of 'me' in ways other than a yoga practice, healthy eating and a good daily routine.
Moving to a new country is hard. Especially when you have to learn a new language too. I'd been isolating myself in a way that wasn't doing me any favours and forgetting who I was, what my essence was. What I loved about this book, was that it re-opened my eyes. I'd always hated motivational things - speeches, videos, conventions and stuff, because it always felt so forced. I'd always been uncomfortable around certain women. I'd always been inwardly shy. This book made me question, why?
Why was I so averse to motivational energy? The speeches that repeat the words - yes, you can or yes, you deserve it or yes, go for it? The super enthusiastic people wanting to convince you of it all? Because I was scared.
Why was I so uncomfortable around certain women? The women who glowed with femininity, raised others up and gave hugs that could melt someone in an instant? Because I was scared.
Why was I denying the side of me that likes pretty things, like flowers and cute pictures and 'girly stuff'? Because I was scared.
Why was I afraid to carve a life out for myself in this city I've grown to love, with the man I love? Because I was scared.
It's not easy admitting to being scared of things, especially when you're supposed to be all zen and wise and knowing. But if we're to expand and grow, we have to get to know and challenge ourselves, both on and off the mat. It's so easy to get swept up into todays perception of the 'yoga lifestyle' that I was forgetting about me, why I did it in the first place and the uniqueness I brought into the world. And so I did what Rebecca Campbell told me to do. I turned my light on.
I let in that motivational 'wishy-washy-mumbo-jumbo-stuff' and let it blend with the autumnal energy that somehow always calls on me to shed my old skin. I told myself that yes, I can. Instead of privately doing NaNoWriMo (the November long challenge to write a novel in 30 days which basically makes authors go crazy) because I was scared of not being able to do it, I said "screw that. Let's do it for real!" I signed up, updated my Facebook page and, as Rebecca Campbell said, I showed up.
I reached out to these simultaneously awe-inducing and intimidating feminine beings and told them I was inspired. Instead of wishing I could be like them, I thanked them for their energy and felt it bounce back a hundred times stronger.
I acknowledged that hey, it's okay to like cute things. It's totally fine to publicly pin images of cute foxes and matte pink nail varnish and autumnal editorial style guides. I don't always have to look strong.
I reminded myself how grateful I am to have such a wonderful boyfriend, to have met him in India and somehow ended up here. I reminded myself that I am not alone in being an expat in this city and created a Meet-Up event. By the next morning, 10 other people had signed up to it, sending me messages of thanks for creating the group.
Ok, so I'm not getting fanatic here. Sure, there were things in the book that didn't resonate with me (yet, probably) but it did exactly what I needed it to. It raised my vibration, picked me up off the floor and gave me a big, squishy hug. It reminded me of what makes me, me - and what makes me feel happiest in the world: sharing. Time, energy, words, love, yoga. Sharing is what does it for me. It made me realise how much I missed blogging and made me write this very piece.
Honestly, it's a book I'd recommend everyone read, and not just women. Everyone. Because life is too short to run around being scared all the time.
It's been a year full of lessons but it's a year that's made me realise on a heart level what I already knew on an intellectual one: that we are forever students, and forever teachers.
Much love xx