In the yoga tradition, the lotus is rich with metaphor that inspires us to embrace all parts of ourselves - the beautiful flower that is above the surface as well as our roots and origins in the "mud".
Your "flowers" are the parts of yourself that you find most appealing, it's "your good side" and your "best light", it's even the "final form" of the yoga pose.
Your "mud" is the dark times, your unconscious shadow side, all the pain, suffering, and challenge that has inspired you to grow towards the light and even the struggle you go through when working towards a more advanced yoga posture.
Often, we only want to show our "flowers". We want to be impressive and have others think highly of us. However, our "mud" is our depth and what feeds our life's purpose and meaning.
- Getting comfortable with my feelings is a life mission. From a young age I tried to escape them and 'numb' the feelings with food, cigarettes, alcohol, excessive and compulsive behaviors. I began practicing yoga because I felt a peace with my feelings.
- At 20 I overdosed on water! Unintentionally of course, but it showed me the importance of moderation in EVERYTHING!
- Obviously I hadn't fully learnt this lesson and at 22 I quit my job, sold my car, renounced society, shaved my head and went to live in yoga ashrams for 2 ½ years. There I understood that balance is the key - this is why I love balancing poses.
- Home yoga practice has been a huge struggle in my life. On again, off again. When I was practicing I felt great, when I wasn't I felt guilty. When I let go of the 'good or bad' label, I freed myself up to enjoy and listen to my body, rather than my head. Believe it or not my body loves practicing, it thrives on, so now I enjoy regular home practice effortlessly.
Every one of these stories is a little bit of my shadow, my "mud". Sometimes, with teachers or public figures, we only see the "flower" - what's above the surface - however, we all have our mud deep below.
And I want you to know about my "mud" because I believe the sharing of our stories and our "mud" builds compassion, connection, and understanding between us. Not to mention, we get to see that these challenges are rich, fertile soil for personal growth.
I encourage you today to get comfortable with your "mud"?
We live in a culture where we are bombarded by images and ideals of perfection - we're shown just the flower (and often a photo-shopped and digitally enhanced flower at that!) - embracing and expressing our mud will hep us live more authentically and more freely.