Did you forget? Did you lose sight of yourself and become blinded in all directions, deafened by the noise and dampened by the clutter? Did you forget what it feels like to come home? To gently usher in the ocean of bliss that rises from communion with your soul? Did you forget about your healing? Your traumas? Your sore places and feeling parts? Did you forget how you love to laugh and swim inside the roaring waves of experience?
One of my dear students forgot about yoga recently. He didn’t show up to class for a few weeks and when he walked back through the studio doors, it took about five minutes before he said, ‘I forgot’. I forgot how good it feels to be here, to be on the mat, to be part of a community, to move, to remember where I get stuck, where I need to work, how far I’ve come, where I need to go next. We forget the joy of being, breathing and moving. The purification of feeling. The dynamic stillness when we sit in meditation and step into silent conversation. We all forget and that’s the way it’s set up. We forget so we can remember. So we can dance inside the pulsating structures of perfect paradox. We contract we so can expand, we sleep so we can awaken, we burn so we can rise. We live and die inside each breath and in every moment lies the invitation to remember the evergreen field within each of us. That place that is endlessly patient and infinitely present. That place of pure awareness-consciousness, also known as Chit-Ananda. The Shiva space. The ground of being.
I love that sweet homecoming but I also work to remember the parts of me that aren’t so delicious. Those parts that someone once told me were far from beautiful. Parts of me I have exiled and openly spat out in front of myself. Parts of me I have kept quiet and dimmed down for fear of upsetting someone or shining too brightly. Parts of me I haven’t understood or trusted or been able to nurture, parent and breathe back to life. The becoming of this yogini is a wild song of connection and disconnection. I’ve been carefully dismembering myself over the last couple of years, burning through veils of clothing and layers of connective tissue to get to the marrow and vasculature of my bones. Hands dripping with blood and my knees torn from falls of surrender that carry the promise of transformation. Deliberately and consciously flinging myself onto the fire, with as much dignity and integrity as I can gather, before approaching the dark corners to collect the body parts and begin the re-membering.
Re-membering myself has become an innocent and unwitting experience of reclamation and recognition as I come into view. With compassionate acceptance, I’m beginning to see where I’ve cheated myself, cut myself off, dimmed myself down. I see that I’ve cared so much about everyone else and what they think that I’ve not cared enough about myself and what I think. Freedom has come to be that place of recognition where I see consciousness reflecting back at me. But freedom has also decided to be a very real experience of becoming less bound by my own judgement and expectation, so I can be everything and nothing. Of feeling more free in who I am and how I choose to express myself. Freedom in the choices that I take and being comfortable with each of them. Not trying to live up to someone else’s ideas or ideals of who I am or who I should be. Of holding myself whole and listening to the talking circle inside myself, embracing my inner child, owning my patterns, giving less of a shit about what defines good Col or bad Col, old Col or new Col, teacher Col or student Col, creative Col or consultant Col. Just being free to be all of me, without exclusion, shame, fear or diminishment.
I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a fully integrated human but I know i’m emerging as a much less fragmented one and, as I lovingly stitch my canvas back together, other parts of me take form and I remember.
“Erase what you know, what you are so sure of. And then start thinking again. Not with your mind this time, but with your heart.” Elif Shafak