Committed, Not Attached.

Yoga has become to me just as it was intended, as the word yoga literally means a “yoking” or “union”. Through my practice I have experienced a binding of my physical asanas and the daily practice of living with integrity on and off the mat. Yoga has been a sort of “coming of age” tale. I’ve met so many amazing people who have changed the way I live, love, and be. The entire journey has changed my mind, body and soul, culminating in intensity over the last year.

In my practice and when I teach, I set an intention or “theme” for my classes. Sometimes it’s as simple as “send my sick friend warm, healthy vibes”, or “live with gratitude for what I have and in doing so, attract more abundance”, or “may the workout I do today burn off that bacon eggs Benedict I ate yesterday”. A recent theme has been Aparigraha, or non-attachment. At first I couldn’t quite grasp how to integrate this into my life without seeming aloof or uncaring; but soon realized that non-attachment does not mean apathy. Attachment to any worldly thing is guaranteed to bring harm because nothing is constant. Change is the only absolute certainty. But then how do we focus our energy, our creativity, our love? How can we be inspired to build anything if our very existence is merely a castle in the sand? This is where the next lesson comes in: Pratibaddhataa – commitment.

Ah, commitment. A word so often preceded with the phrase “fear of”. But the only thing that’s really scary is the mix up between commitment and attachment. With attachments come expectations and let downs, heartbreak and dis-ease. And all too often we choose to commit to the wrong things or the wrong people at the wrong times, based on our fears and weaknesses. Perhaps, if you’re like me, you’re afraid to commit to your career out of the humiliating possibility that you may actually suck at what you spent a lifetime’s wages going to school for. Or worse, that you’ll succeed and actually be happier than you ever thought possible. Or perhaps the man or woman of your dreams has finally walked into your life and you are scared to death that you’ll let them down or that you don’t deserve them. But all of these thoughts stem from the lies we’ve come to believe about ourselves. Lies that only the light of awareness can dissolve.

Mediocrity and general malaise is a great place to hang out in. It’s comfy, poorly lit, and we can hide all our flaws and weaknesses there. But we can’t hide out in the warm, dark, cavernous abyss of so-so-ness forever. Something calls us forth from the fog and we are forced to shine. Shine or else be damned to a life of regrets and could-have-beens. This is why we eventually must commit – being sure our first and most poignant promise is to the most important person in our lives: ourselves.

I was often reminded of the cliche “love yourself first”. I shrugged it off for many years, uncertain of how to do that exactly. The best answer I’ve come up with for how to love myself is to remember that the divine dwells inside me, and to go against my inner voice is blasphemy. I was in a yoga class recently and the instructor said, “Be here now. Take this moment just for you and thank yourself for taking time out of your day to be here” I was stricken by this simple sentiment. I suddenly remembered what it felt like to show myself some love, and it felt like a warm hug from a friend I hadn’t seen in a long, long time. I had disconnected from myself, and therefore became detached from the ceaseless pulse of energy from the universe. I had somehow begun to build walls again, fearful, light blocking walls. I had broken that promise to myself and gave energy I didn’t have, meaning I had to look for energy elsewhere. It doesn’t work like that. This has been my greatest lesson: as soon as you burn with the heat of your own fire, you can light others with it. Then and only then can you love from a real, big place, and give your love away without fear or attachment because there is no perceived scarcity of it. Only then can you be fully present and commit. Commit to others, your work, your relationships, your marathon, your life.

So my goal, my intention, is to find that place in me where my love burns the hottest and brightest, breathe from that place, work from that place, speak from that place, love from that place. I will give back to those men and women who have shaped me and shown me their committed love: my family, my friends, my colleagues, and my teachers. I commit to my yoga practice. I commit to healthy living. I commit to my art. And I release the fear that there is not enough of me or that I am not enough. I surrender. I open my heart. And I accept the abundance when it comes flooding in.

Namaste. ❤

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