I feel like the practice of positive thinking has been misleading for me. I’m realizing that, in my efforts to remain positive in thought and action, I have been judging and shutting out a whole part of myself. I experienced a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy session last night (amazing work that I highly recommend!) and it brought my attention to the darker sides of myself that were feeling swallowed and ignored.
Overall, I feel incredibly happy and blessed to be able to do what I do every day at the studio. I know, I say it all the time. But it is my truth. I love teaching yoga, I love doing reflexology and energy work sessions. It gives me great joy to see the change on a student’s face when they exit a yoga class- calm, centered, grounded, and focused. I am definitely being sincere when I tell you that my true work in this lifetime brings me a real sense of fulfillment.
But there is also a part of me that is really sad and pissed off. It’s not pretty, I know, which is why I always hide it. Why am I angry? Because I have to ignore what I know is best for me and work a second job that overloads my time in order to be able to live my dream. And that really sucks. I feel sad that I cannot focus on my family the way that I would like to because I am working two full time jobs. I just need to acknowledge that part of myself in a public forum, because stuffing it down and pretending it doesn’t exist is not healthy.
Being angry or sad does not make me a “bad” person, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with me. I believe that we all experience what we consider to be “negative” emotions sometimes. I’m judging myself, when I decide that what I feel is “negative” and not good to show. And I’m creating a hidden space deep within where that anger and sadness fester unseen, and eventually explode.
As a student in the lifestyle that is yoga, I feel like I’ve taken the message of positive thinking the wrong way. Yes, having a optimistic perspective on things can change reality. Yes, expecting the best and trusting the Universe can lead to a life where abundance flows more freely. But what about honesty as well? There is a balance that comes when we are able to truly see who we are, light and dark, and then be that authentic person out in the world. I want to live free of the shame that comes with self-judgement. I want to recognize that all of my emotions are valid, and hold space for them. I want to see both parts of myself, accepting the whole of my being. Not dive too deeply into either my light or my dark, but be centered in both.
My goal as a yogi is to live a life of balance. And guess what? That means equally experiencing the “good” and the “bad”, allowing space for the full spectrum of emotions. Going further, even, and releasing the judgement that specific emotions are “good” or “bad”. Understanding that having anger with me right now doesn’t mean that I can’t be positive. I just can’t be ONLY positive. I have to be real.