If you follow me on Instagram (@em_dunc), you may have seen these three photos and captions posted earlier today. I decided to also place them in a blog post for memory’s sake, and so that if you (or I) ever need/want a place where they are easy to find, we have that. I may start doing this with some of my favorite posts and captions… Who knew typing on an app could be so cathartic?
Lesson one – at the beginning of practice, Alex said, “Pay attention to your breath, and honor it, for your very breath is the breath of God flowing through you.” Not only should we honor that breath, but we should use it. Allow yourself to feel peace in that, because that breath holds so much power. There is no rewind button in life… there are no “do-overs.” A truly clean slate or fresh start is virtually impossible, because we all carry baggage of some kind with us from day to day.
What we do have? We have breath. Each exhale allows release of the old, of things we need to let go of. Each inhale allows us to create space within ourselves. It gives us new air, new perspective, a new moment with which to make a choice – where will I direct this breath of life in this moment?
Honor your breath, for He flows in us through it.
Lesson two – Keep an open heart.
Many of us, and I would put myself near the top of this list, partake in closing off our hearts in an effort to guard it. I think there is value in guarding our hearts, surely. We shouldn’t allow “just anything” to enter or escape them.
More often than not, my guard goes up in an effort to protect myself from what love is not. But it usually doesn’t work as a selectively permeable membrane – while trying to keep out what love is NOT, we also tend to keep out what love IS.
In order to feel what love is, you must also learn, feel, and experience what love is NOT. There is duality in all things. I would rather learn to keep my heart open and face the pain of knowing what love is NOT so that I can also create the space for, welcome, and appreciate what love IS.
While it may bring discomfort, my heart remains open to all things. The joy of what love truly IS far outweighs any pain of what it is not.
And lastly – what is required to overcome.
We as humans do not want to hold on to pain – yet we all do. We carry a mélange of baggage with us at seemingly all times, ranging from physical ailments to emotional maladies like anxiety and depression. They make us sluggish and slow. Why do we carry such things?
Because we refuse to acknowledge them out of fear.
If you want to release pain of any sort, you must first FEEL it. You can’t simply play ignorant to it. It must be acknowledged, heard, felt. You can try to mask the pain in your heart by things of this world – money, drugs, alcohol, other addictions or futile and functionless “busywork” – but that does nothing to release you.
If you feel pain, feel it. But don’t make a home for it. Breathe into it. Know that it is a part of you, as we all have dark and light. Then acknowledge that it doesn’t serve you, and allow yourself to release it. Release isn’t always a simple process, but it is possible, no matter the burden.
We are creatures of FEELING. Embrace your humanity, even when it hurts. Feel the pain, free of judgement, and allow it to leave.
I am no yoga expert. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert at anything… But I would consider myself increasingly proficient at listening to my heart, my body, and the intersections of the two. What I love about yoga is that it helps me to create space, both in the sense of physical space in the universe, but also space in my heart. I tend to bottle things up, allowing the pressure to build until it explodes. I tend to white-knuckle things. I love feeling like I have control over my life. But the reality is, none of us have true, uninterrupted control over our lives. God is the only one who is in control. Yoga reminds me to release that grip and let God take the reigns. His breath is mine, and that is enough for me. “The light in me honors the light in you, for they are the same. Namaste.”
The world’s largest hugs and thank yous to my dear friend and my literal support system for today’s practice, Alex (@brohavior). This quite literally would not have been possible without you.