Acceptance, That’s the Real Love
As most of you know, when I was young I had a horrible disease that nearly took my life. I was very ill for a very long time. It was such a profoundly changing time of my life. What was once a happy-go-lucky, easygoing kid became someone who was frightened and insecure in every aspect of my life. I struggled every day with fear, needing to hold on tightly to everything external that I had, from relationships to material things. I was always looking for happiness in the form of something on the outside — if only I could buy that new pair of jeans, or if I could get that job, or if I got more money, or if I could just buy a house — blah, blah, blah. And each time I achieved any of those things, it would bring me great joy and satisfaction for a few moments or even days, but then the let-down would come and I would be off to find the next thing to make me happy. It was a never ending merry-go-round that I could not seem to stop.
It wasn’t until I started studying yoga that I realized that just being me was enough. That even if I didn’t look like the magazine portrayal of crow pose, it did not have any reflection on whether or not I was a viable yogini, just as it didn’t matter if I didn’t have the clothes, the job, the house, etc. None of these things took me to my core essence. They were only a metaphor for something that I was missing within myself. When I started studying yoga, I listened one day to a teacher talk; you may have heard of him — Alan Finger. Alan talked about how he had been sickly as a child and his father got him doing yoga, and how it strengthened him. His words resonated with my life, and I thought “if yoga can work for him then why not for me?” At first, I really wasn’t too concerned about the spiritual aspect; I wanted to be physically stronger. I didn’t realize at the time that you could not separate the two. So, while I was on this quest to be stronger physically I noticed that my attitude was changing. I was not so concerned with whether or not I had material things. It was okay for my husband to have a life that didn’t include me (to a point, lol). And, most importantly, I was okay just being with…me. I realized that after my illness I was so afraid of having everything taken away that I was actually too afraid to live. I worried so much about what would happen tomorrow that I was missing out on today.
There is a saying in the yoga philosophy that we are either here in the present moment or we are nowhere. We are either worried about a past that doesn’t exist or a future that doesn’t exist. That was me to the core. As my yoga practice progressed I started realizing that, at the core of my being was an acceptance, a wholeness that I had forgotten. I began to live a much happier life. I won’t say I don’t ever worry, that would be a lie, but now it is like an ocean wave that gently rolls over me instead of taking me out to sea.
Yoga has helped me in so many ways. It helps me celebrate the good times completely and accept the not-so-good times completely too. It has helped me find my essence. As Owen Wilson said in the movie “You, Me, and Dupree,” it helped me find my ness, my “Katness.”
So many people go through life, this one and only life that is so uniquely ours, and they are so caught up in pain, hurt, fear, etc., that they overlook the beauty and essence at the center of their being that makes them who they uniquely are. I always find it humorous when someone is very loyal and faithful to God, and yet they believe that they are less than they should be. We are all children of God: God is perfection, and at our core we are perfect too.
Unfortunately, I believe that until we get it, until we truly get it, we will never find that happiness and acceptance in ourselves. We will keep repeating the same merry-go-round ride until we finally figure it out.
Strengthen the physical and you will find the mental and spiritual too. If you believe in yourself, you will have the strength to roll with the punches in life and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.