This week has been all about being authentic. It is definitely one of my favorite intentions, I practice it daily! Authenticity did not always come easy to me. It has only been over the last several years that I feel I have been able to embrace my own authenticity. I can tell you it has been hard work, but like I always say the hardest things in life always provide such a large reward.
For years I would hide behind many masks. I would mold myself into being whomever, I thought others wanted me to be in that moment. I got so good at this I began to lose touch of myself. I remember a time when I felt anxious all the time, always worried that someone would figure me out, that I was a fraud. My teacher Baron Baptiste asked at my level one teacher training, who are you? I thought to myself, I have no f’ing clue. This thought left me feeling depressed and anxious. But it also inspired me to want to figure out why. Why was I so lost? Why didn’t I have a clue who I was? So I started to dig. Why was I so concerned with wanting to fit in? To blend in, to be just like everyone else. Why was I so afraid of being myself or possibly different then others.
How do we discover the answers to these questions? It’s actually quite simple. We ask ourselves over and over again. My minds first response was I don’t know. But I knew not take that as an answer. That “I don’t know” is just the mind wanting an easy way out, to stay in the comfort zone. So what to do? Ask again and again and again until the mind comes up with a different answer. Why do I feel like I need to fit in? If I don’t fit in what does this mean?
I discovered it dates back to my childhood of feeling different not fitting in. Most of the kids in my school weren’t jewish, and I was often teased because of it. As a child all I wanted was to be “just like everyone else”. I created a belief system that I was different and being different made me “bad”. Throughout high school, college, and into my 20’s I continued to prove this belief system to myself. I made it real, by finding proof from the outside world over and over. I now realize this is what the mind does, we have a thought and it is from this thought we create a looking lens, and from this lens is what we see. My thought was “I don’t fit in”, so I was looking from this perspective. In looking from this perspective I saw over and over how I did not fit in, how I was different, and in my mind how this was bad. If my lens was looking from feeling accepted I would have found proof from this lens. I find it so fascinating how powerful the mind is. If I had had a different experience as a youngster and interpreted the situation differently my entire childhood and young adulthood would have been different. I am so grateful I now have this knowledge. That I get to choose what I want to think and believe. I chose not to believe this belief system any longer. Once I gave up this belief my life began to change instantly. I began to find proof of the opposite. That being different is what makes the world so beautiful, and that we are all different. Once I was able to accept and integrate this belief system I was able to start dropping the masks one at a time. They need to fit in no longer felt so important, having everyone like me was not my concern, instead I began to attract the right people into my life, people that are aligned with me, that have integrity and who are also beautifully authentic. I was able to reclaim who I am in this world, and no longer feel lost or overwhelmed with anxiety.
If you hide behind masks, I encourage you to do the work. Ask Why? And when your mind doesn’t come up with an answer ask again and again. The answers are there. Many people are just so used to looking outside of themselves for the answers instead of from inside.. All the answers we need to live a happy life live with in us. The answers will provide us with the insight we need to become our best selves, and to live the most joyful life possible.
Remove the rocks is the eighth law in the 12 laws of transformation. Here are some of my thoughts on this law.
What rocks am I holding onto? Can I let those go? If I do, what's now possible? How are you blocking your own inner light? This is a question that I have been pondering. Here is what I do to unravel them. I call this exercise a thought purge!
Start by noticing your thoughts.
Take out a piece of paper and a pen. Set your timer for 5 minutes. Write. Write about anything that comes to your mind. Don’t worry about getting it right, grammar, or spelling. If nothing comes to mind at first just write about what you see, hear, or notice around you. This exercise will reveal your own inner thinking. I promise! This exercise, I believe should be done daily. For me this exercise has given me great insight into my own thinking. The limitations, the rocks I have created in my own mind.
One recent rock I have been working on is self-doubt. I noticed in a recent thought purge that I have a underlying belief of being not capable. So I decided to do some digging. Where did this belief come from? I know that every belief comes from a past experience in our lives, usually from childhood. For me I believe this belief started when I was in grade school. I was your average student, but always friends with the smarter crowd. In my mind I never felt like I could keep up. In first grade I remember my closest friend being pulled out of class every afternoon for the “gifted and talented class”. Yes, many years ago where I grew up that is what they called the advanced class. I was so jealous of her, it seemed like to me she got special attention, that this special attention made her better than me. As I look back now, I know that her being in the “gifted” class did not make her a better person than me, but I also know a child’s mind is unable to process this, so I have compassion and empathy for the young me, as she did not understand this. For many years even into my adulthood I did not have awareness around my thoughts. I did not understand that I had any power of my beliefs, I thought they were out of my control. I had no understanding that beliefs are created by us and reaffirmed through the lens we are looking through. Over years of constant repetition of looking from a lens of self-doubt, I created a belief that I am “not as capable as others.” I proved this belief to myself time after time again. In high school I would study hours on end, always feeling like I could not keep up, putting unrealistic expectations on myself to be as smart as the “gifted” kids. Taking advanced classes to prove to myself that I was as smart as other kids, adding unnecessary stress to my life and pressure. The pressure took a toll on me. I was anxious and frustrated all the time. What I did not understand was that it was my own thinking that was leaving me feeling less than. It was not the actions of others, I put all the stress onto myself, because of my underlying belief of feeling “not capable”. No one can make us feel a certain way, only we can make ourselves anxious and stressed out or stress free and happy. As an adult I now know I have the choice to keep believing this belief or I can choose to change my belief to one of self-confidence.
It seems so easy, so I will now just magically believe I am confident. No longer doubt my capabilities. But the mind is so powerful, and wants to protect us and do what is easy. So in order to protect me, it wants me to keep believing this, because this is what it knows. So how do we change these inner beliefs. Just as we created the old beliefs, we create new ones. We practice the new beliefs. Day after day! Wake up repeat I am capable! I am capable! I am capable! Look from being capable. Find proof. Prove it to yourself over and over every single day. Choose to intentionally look for proof, It is out there. I know it. I have done this work on myself time and time again. Each time it works. Each time I find proof and reassurance. So why don’t we all do this? I think because it is not easy, it can be scary, and too often as adults it is easier to just stay status quo. Even if status quo is not leaving us feeling joyful and happy. I challenge you to look at your thoughts, be curious to what you could learn about you, face yourself, and do the hard work. I promise it is worth it!
Remove the rocks. Allow your inner light to shine to the world!
Stay still, don’t move, just observe! Do you ever hear your yoga teacher say this. Wonder is this possible? For years I did. Then one day I noticed, it was happening. I was still and just observing, I had no desire to move. It was such an amazing feeling. I have struggled with this concept for the majority of my life. I seem to always be on the move, what’s next, now what? Meditation and yoga continue to teach me to just relax with what is, to enjoy the moment.
So how do we do this? It takes a lot of hard work. Practice. Practice. Practice. I believe it starts by just doing it. Get still even if it is only for 5 minutes. Everyone has to start somewhere. So often students/clients have told me they can’t meditate. I ask them why not. Usually there answer is filled with excuses. I’ll go crazy, I don’t have time, I have to much to do, and they go on and on. But what if I told you if you meditate every day for 30 days you will get a million dollars, would you be able to do it. My guess for most people the answer would be yes! So the key is to understand why meditation is so powerful, and so important. If there's a compelling enough reason to do it, your feelings about it will shift. You will no longer see it as a chore, but a necessity to living. So many people tell me they just want to be calmer, more easy going, more patient. The answer is simple. Meditate. Meditation will over time, if you practice daily leave your more calm, easy going, and most definitely help with patience.
Meditation teaches us to be still, and observe. To watch yourself breathe and think. SO many people think that when you meditate you should be able to turn off your brain. I say good luck! The mind is always working, always thinking. Meditation should provide a space for you to get still and watch your thoughts. Start to understand your own thinking. As we become aware of our own thoughts, we begin to develop the muscle of awareness. Awareness is a magical thing. We can begin to notice our thinking, and understand ourselves on a deeper more powerful level. Once we understand our own thinking, we can begin to identify the thoughts that are serving us, and those that are not. The ones that are not serving us we can begin to understand where do they originate from. As we understand where they began we can develop a sense of compassion and understanding for ourselves. From this understanding we can decide if we want to keep thinking these thoughts or do I want to drop them and create a new thought that serves me. Meditation sometimes makes me feel like you are going insane, with so many thoughts swirling around, but once we get over the discomfort, meditation can provide us with an outlet into our own inner being. As we unravel the layers we can take back our power. We can relax with what is. We can observe without reaction. From this space we can respond from our own truth. Not from impulsivity.
For me meditation has created a space for me to listen. To listen without judgement, from a place of understanding and compassion. I have learned to pause, take a deep breath, wait, wait, and wait before i respond. Am I perfect at this hell NO! But I am better than I once was. I find myself able to let more things just be, I am able to identify which thoughts are serving me, and which are not, and I am able to sometimes respond from calm place instead of from a reactionary state.
So start now. Meditate. Identify your compelling reason, and make it strong, so when the urge to skip comes up, you chose to take the time get still over whatever else is pulling you away from it. Practice daily, because it is only with practice that we get stronger, it is only with practice do we create the life that we chose. Otherwise we are living in default, without intention, without purpose.