In Search of Soul. Turning Inward for Peace from Mental Illness.
We are in the thick of summer, and officially more than halfway through 2019. Wow, okay.
When I initially stopped to reflect on this, I felt a little bummed because I haven't accomplished many of the things I’d hoped I would, and I’m still struggling with a lot of the same stuff.
But that doesn't mean I haven’t been growing. If you’re in the same boat, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
And then another tunnel, after that...
This time last year my family and I were in shock and grieving the loss of my grandmother, and I had flown to another continent hoping to be transformed at a yoga teacher training. Wrote about that experience in this post: Yoga Teacher Training Reflections.
It was a time of monumental change, and monumental emotions to say the least.
When I came back home from training, I experienced months and months of depression, and isolation. Um, WTF life? Read about that in this post: 5 Things I Learned from my Mental Breakdown.
Ultimately, I realized getting a certificate didn’t fix my life and I decided not to start teaching yoga because I just didn't feel ready yet. So out of necessity, I spent the past year taking care of myself and figuring out: What. Do. I. Want?
Mind, Body... Soul?
I spent a lot of time last year cramming information into my mind, and getting my body “in shape”. I don't know if I gave as much thought to my spirit and soul.
Why do our poor souls always get treated like an afterthought, or worse, forgotten completely?
Our souls are the essense of our being. It represents our entire element of existence. We have one because we exist. Or better, this quote from Walter M. Miller, Jr.
“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”
I feel a little bad for my soul, because it has really been through it, and I keep acting like it’s not enough. Maybe you know the feeling? So, I set out to find what my soul is starving for.
I scoured the internet,
I read a ridiculous amount of self help books,
I slowed down my yoga practice,
I got in touch with the moon and studied astrology,
I worked with oracle cards.
I talked to trees
In this search for answers of some kind, I’ve gone to all sorts of healers. I saw a nutritionist, a herbalist, spoke with a couple life coaches, had reiki, massages, and energetic clearings. Saw two different shamans where I went on two different shamanic journeys, plus a soul retrieval.
While I acknowledge how fortunate I am for the ability to explore all these approaches, I’ve struggled the whole time with feeling disillusioned and desperate and defeated.
I keep finding myself disappointed about my lack of “life changing experience”.
I’m doing all the things, I’m trying so unbelievably hard, and yet, nothing earth shattering has happened. I’ve triple checked.
I’ve been waiting for a booming voice in the sky, a visit from my ancestors in my dreams, a lightning bolt at my feet, a vision or some kind, anything. I seem to be straining to find solutions, a message, or a clue of some kind to tell me what to do and where to go. This has been causing me to twist every mundane thing into a cryptic guidepost, and now I'm dizzy from all the circles I've been walking in.
But when I manage to shut my ego up for a brief moment and put those grandiose expectations aside, I can see that so much has been happening for me underneath the surface! It may not be visible on an external level, but things are slowly shifting on an internal, spiritual and emotional level.
Every month that passes I begin to feel more integration of these experiences,
an absorption if you will. I'm being dealt the lessons of patience and surrender.
It's a slow process of unpacking, sifting, and settling.
Don't quote me but I'm pretty sure the recipe for this is : Awareness + Time.
Breakdowns and Breakthroughs
And so it seems, the moral of the story is, breakdowns and breakthroughs go hand in hand. Here's what I’ve come to find over the last few months.
My happiness is reliant on less.
When I stop wanting and desiring all the things I don't have, and start focusing on the things I do have, I appreciate the beauty in simplicity, the spaciousness and freedom of alone time, time to unravel, study and reflect, time to tap in and listen.
That is soulful living.
This is something so underrated in our society and honestly, it deserves more promotion.
What it always boils back down to for me, is this, and it's so simple and redundant it's embarrassing:
Honoring where you are NOW. Being present.
Focusing on all that you DO have. Being grateful.
Giving up that chase and the desire for things.
Taking steps towards what lights you up and away from what brings you down.
Honestly, I think it's all in the eight limbs of yoga. But we’ll save that conversation for another day.
So, maybe for me it’s been more than a full year reflection, then a halfway thing, but this is life, it's one fluid thing anyways.
I hope you take a moment to reflect on the year so far and give yourself credit where credit is due!
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