They say, no matter what you do, the most important thing is to “show up” while doing it. But what does it really mean to “show up?”
When I first came across this notion, as a good yogi, and a student of life, I attempted to decode it. Decode it, of course, based on my personal experiences, and life lessons so far. And this is how I see it – to show up, means to not hide or camouflage what you feel. It means to be able to deal, to breathe through whatever emotions rise up.
Very often, as we go through the day, we automatically turn on our autopilot, and run through the day without truly acknowledging our emotions, or how we feel in our body as those emotions find a hiding place in our subconscious mind. The thing is, our mind is so smart – it figured out the way to hide the emotions, without us, sometimes even noticing them. We blame it on our appetite, or slow metabolism, or the lack of sleep – when we reach out for a cupcake, or a cup of coffee. While, there’s nothing wrong with the delicious cupcakes or blissfully aromatic coffee, when it’s being consumed consciously. However, very often these little indulgences serve our body as the camouflaging tools, trying to distract us from an uncomfortable situation that happened earlier that day.
The critical part here is not to feel bad about giving in to the enticement, but to ask yourself what exactly was happening in your body before your hands reached out for another piece of chocolate.
Yoga teaches us to stay in the moment. It teaches us non-attachment. It guides us towards equanimity, and emotional balance. You’ve probably heard it numerous times.
You also know that yoga poses you like the least, are the ones you need the most. This is because those poses push you out of your comfort zone. Those poses trigger uncomfortable emotions. And, guess what, last time I checked, they do not serve coffee or cupcakes during yoga classes. Very often (especially if you practice Bikram Yoga) you will hear your yoga teacher saying to stay away from the water – because this is a convenience (almost justified) distraction your mind can find, to get your body away from allowing those emotions to stir up.
Allow yourself to co-exist with your emotions – this is exactly how you begin to learn to show up. By breathing through those uncomfortable poses on your yoga mat. By learning to “feel” those emotions, and by trying to watch them, you prepare yourself for the sticky situations off the mat.
It’s all yoga. You know it – the most difficult type of yoga is yoga off the mat (in your daily life). And guess what, we all are lighthouses. And just like Marianne Williamson said it: by shining your own light, however bright or deemed you think it is – you unconsciously give permission to others to do the same.
The only way to it is through it.
Namaste. Keep Moving. Be… bright.