Who is hiding inside? Do I know you? Good grief…how many years did I hide behind those questions? Most of my 72 years were spent on “Looking Good.” Oh no it was not just the external looking good although that was paramount, it was also looking good everywhere. You know, shade the truth just a little so I could look good, nod knowingly when I didn’t have a clue…anything that would cover up the feelings of inadequacy. It was imperative that the exterior Joy was perfect. That was so one would ever really know who I am. Worst of all, I would never know who I am. My defenseless self was armed against the world. I internalized the negativity about my body and my spirit and I developed a well defended façade. Look at me my “looking good” self I cried but don’t SEE me. I am not worthy. Yoga teaches that a core problem is that we have forgotten who and what we really are. I certainly had if indeed I had ever known. I was defined by my body, my looks, and my possessions. I was estranged from my authentic self. I did not know who was hiding inside…..I did not know who I was but I was longing just to “be”. I wanted to be set free from the bondages of self.
As I look around at the numbness I see in our world I know that that was me. Now I am filled with gratitude that my path has led me to the yoga mat. As I progress in yoga I see that yoga de-ages us. Yoga can peel away the years and I can continue to resolve the vulnerabilities that I was incapable of doing in my earlier years. As I learn to live in my body and experience true power, freedom, and self-expression I can move on and put aside what is no longer mine. I can see and be seen as I truly am. Best of all I can see who is hiding inside and I can know her. This is exhilarating and frightening at the same time. Have I given up looking good? Of course not. But I have learned that I do not have to be so significant. I have learned that all I have to stand for is love and I have learned that I can let go and be here now in freedom and joy. I have learned that I can be authentic and truthful and that is good enough. I have learned to focus on the nature of the effort and not the nature of the result. Because the prize rally is the process. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that we transcend our suffering when we are able to passionately use our gifts in the service of others. That is how I want to spend the rest of my life in service… Yoga has helped me to come home.