And so we begin...
This is a synopsis of the beginning of my journey. I wrote this years ago when completing my YTT200 at Soulspace Yoga, a place that will forever hold a space in my heart filled with gratitude for the teachers and the time well spent in this safe haven. I felt like a pioneer on my own exploration within myself, this safe and comforting place (Soulspace) playing a significant role in my self-discovery.
Given my feelings on how this experience has helped me to forge ahead in uncharted waters, I have made the choice to write this as a letter to me. I am just on the brink of learning to trust my Self and my faith in something bigger than this world we live in (yet that resides within my own heart) is just starting to blossom. I wanted to be able to have a record of my experience there weaving in the teachings of the Yoga Sutras. I know that the “forces of distraction are strong and unrelenting” and wanted to give myself a reference point to come back to on those days that I need to reconnect. As I am learning, so much of the journey of life is just merely letting go and remembering the divine nature of who we truly are in the first place. I wanted to give myself that reminder in this letter for those moments in time when I may seem to have forgotten.
Perhaps this letter will resonate with you, perhaps it will motivate you to write your own letter, perhaps it will be just for me. Whatever it is for whomever needs it, I am writing it out of the love and compassion for myself that I had forgotten about for so long but am starting to remember. It is those moments of pure bliss that we all seek, that I now feel and instinctively know their familiarity, which grow deeper and are felt throughout my entire being, lasting longer each day, connecting me to who I really am. As I navigate through unfamiliar paths learning to LOVE mostly myself, perhaps this letter will simply be the first one of many love letters I will write. May I practice what the Yoga Sutra’s teach us, “Study thy self, discover the divine” 11.44 as I continue on my journey of swadayaya.
My Dearest Jackie,
May you remember where you were, to remember who you are and be present in where you are going. May you know that your journey in this life was not easy from the start, while you may think that it was normal and “fine”, you are indeed a survivor. Let’s not talk too much about the past but let’s remember that the past, YOUR past has shaped you and brought you to the very road in which you are walking today. Thank your past, accept it, realize that it served a very important purpose to shaping you so that you can embark on this journey of self-discovery, self-love and remembrance. For if you did not experience life in the manner that you did, then you would never realize your pure potential. And so we begin...
A year ago you were in a job you despised, you knew inherently that there was more for you. You were on your own sinking ship with an intuitive understanding that there was a better way for you to live your life, to make a difference in your body, mind and spirit as well as the lives of others. The initial intention of your journey was to improve your health, but you grew into an understanding that yoga is so much more and the real shifts happening were at the soul level. Bright eyed and bushy tailed you made “plans” to teach a certain number of classes, start promoting yourself and essentially continue down the same road you had before with a different career. Planning… controlling…
“The mind flies off,
And with that come
Pain in the body;
Shaking in the hands
And other parts of your body;
The breath falling out of rhythm
As it passes in and out.” I.31
Your mind was causing more pain than you realized even at the start of this journey, your intellectual curiosity combined with the passion and commitment to your intention of Self discovery, love and enlightenment shaped your course. It brought you to where you are today… remembering that your soul existed long before your body or mind and will exist long after. This human experience will be exactly what you intended it to be and a continuous discovery of how to live and remembrance of who you really are.
“On that day
The seer comes to dwell
Within their own real nature.” I.3
You knew that choosing to leave the job, and essentially the life, you had known to enter a world of ambiguity, that you would grow but did not even fathom how much in such a short period of time. You are beginning to understand that we are all teachers and messengers even when we don’t know that we are doing either. Sometimes unlikely places become the most nourishing to the soul and opportunities are available everywhere to teach others through kindness and compassion. Sometimes sharing a message that existed well beyond our time exists in all of us and that is why we embark in this journey in the first place. Yoga may begin on the mat for most of us, but should continue into every facet of our being, living a pure path touching numerous lives and transforming our own. That little slice of divinity, pure potential exists in all of us and we need to practice true yoga not just on the mat, but more importantly off the mat.
Through much reflection over the past few months, you were at times aghast at how far you had strayed from your true Self, at how out of balance your inner winds became over the last few years. You knew for a long time that you needed to look within and the only way to unclog your pipes were from the inside, yet you had no idea how to go about doing it. It was not until you quit your job that you truly opened your heart and began to allow yourself to open up to so many possibilities. For the first time in your life you let go of the plan, you completely surrendered and let life take you away, just enjoying the ride (ironically enough, that was your motto all along according to your 3 year plan). Your commitment to transformation from the inside became stronger and stronger and you knew intuitively that yoga will help to get you there. The poses would stretch you from the outside but without the introspection and stillness, you learned you would never reach the desired destination.
For so long you went through life feeling numb to it. Fear mostly overpowering life experiences. Whatever the reason, you to start to let go. Surrendering and staying committed to the practice of yoga on and off the mat started to poke holes in the clogs in your pipes allowing your inner winds to catch more breeze. You started to really FEEL, mostly the thing that you neglected most, LOVE for who you were and who you are becoming. Your perspective started to change and the way you looked at the world changed, the world felt different to you the more you practiced and you started to crave that feeling. While the clogged pipes are just an analogy, their significance is that energy runs through each of us and unless we are able to really, truly look within with compassion and acceptance of what was, unlearn our ways of thinking to plant better seeds and live a life for others, then we will always have clogged pipes and never fully reach our middle channel or pure potential.
As stated above, one of the most earnest lessons for you was acceptance for things as they are. You were secretly angry on the inside. It would come out when you least expected it and you never really understood why. Perhaps you were holding onto past suffering or perhaps your thoughts were allowing you to live in a place of continuous suffering as a result of past suffering. Regardless, the anger that would come out when you least expected it simply because you were not aligned with who you really were. In many ways it reminded you of your birth father, while he was not violent, he was caught in the cycle of reliving his own pain and creating new. Something started to happen in your relationship with him as you started to understand and look within, you learned to accept him for who he is, no more, no less. You learned to actually LOVE him for who he is and ENJOY his company. It was your own mind in so many ways making him who he was to you, it is all a matter of perspective and we become to others who they believe we think them to be. And so we begin again...
“Selfness is where
The strong impression
Of someone seeing something
And the something someone sees
Makes it seem as if
Each one were itself.” 11.6
Your thoughts and actions plant the seeds in your garden. Just like you taught your son when he was yelling at you because in his 4 year old mind he wanted something you would not allow him to have at the moment, each kind act plants beautiful flowers and each unkind act or thought plants weeds. What kind of garden do you want to have? Beautiful flowers or overgrown weeds? This journey has awakened you to an awareness moment by moment in your life of being kind and living with love towards everyone and everything. The innocence of a child and the loving nature of how they care for the animals and take them in, even in a broken down state after they might be hurt, represents the kind of love we all need to have in our lives. If you approach everything with love, kindness and joy for what you do, then not only will you “stop the enemy” before it comes by being a conscious observer to negative thoughts or preventing negative actions, but your garden will flourish with beauty.
“The pain that we
Are ridding ourselves of
Is all the pain
That would have come to us
In the future.” II.16
So walk away from this experience remembering it for what it was, for it is just the beginning. Practice planting good seeds through good thoughts and actions always serving others even in your own yoga practice. Do it for your family... for it makes you better for them and yourself.
For the bad seeds that you planted before you knew about seeds, go after the most powerful ones first and look at them with a new perspective. Through honest introspection and well-informed regret you will be able to sit and work out the antidote for those old bad seeds by consciously making the choice to not repeat them. This will put you on the path of pulling out the weeds in your garden. As you continue to uncover bad seeds you may of planted and go through the first three steps above, the last step to get rid of them is to come up with a concrete action to undertake which would be the opposite of what planted the seed in the first place. Only by doing this will you begin to master tending to your own garden.
“We must become
As gardeners.” IV.3B
You are well on your way to discovering your dharma and stay the course. For you know that your Angels are with you and are guiding you along the path. You are safe, you are loved and everything will happen as is intended. Continue to LOVE who you are becoming and be proud of yourself for the work that you have done so far. Remember YOUR prayers will ALWAYS be answered if you ASK.. You are LOVED.
“And there will come a time
When they invite you
To take your place with them.” III.52A
Have faith and keep loving.
Jackie Waszczak is a busy mother of two beautiful boys with a supportive husband that encouraged her to follow her bliss. After working in corporate America for several years she took the leap of faith to follow the callings of her soul, even though she had no idea where that would take her. Through the process of seeking and surrendering through her yoga practice, she was led to teaching and then guided to Jikiden Reiki quite unexpectedly. Most importantly, her journey has taught her the importance of being present in every moment, trusting and having faith in something bigger than we can understand in this human experience. To learn more, visit www.justflowingwithit.com.