Before becoming a mother, I started teaching yoga. One of the aspects that I enjoyed the most about it was the messages I was able to relay to my students. I used to spend more time developing the theme, than the actual asana (the postures) portion of my classes. It had become my main creative outlet, I absolutely loved it! But it took a while to get there.
To convey their wisdom, my teachers seemed to find inspiration in their life story. I always felt a bit fruity in comparison, as if I was lacking in the life-changing challenges department. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself blessed that most of my life has been a pretty smooth river. But I did struggle to find my voice, I felt very vulnerable opening up. It’s when I stopped trying so hard (I was exhausted and as self-conscious as ever) and decided I would teach from a place of joy that I finally started gaining in confidence and having fun with it (otherwise, why do it to begin with!).
From then on, my themes came a bit more naturally and I started to take delight in intertwining them with the physical practice, relating them to the human anatomy, yoga philosophy, and such. The mind-body-spirit connection suddenly made more sense to me and I could feel my students being more receptive to the practice, teaching me truly what the union of yoga is. Towards the end of my first year of teaching consistently, I understood the value of being a ‘teacher’ and it was the most humbling experience.
And then I became pregnant and my newly found calming, introspective qualities went on to growing that very special soul inside of me. I stopped pouring my heart out teaching and sent all the love I had to give down into my belly.
When I gave birth, I met an infinite source of inspiration and shortly after, I rediscovered a creative outlet I had forgotten about: writing. When I gave birth, I also ‘signed a lifelong contract with anxiety’, as a friend of mine once told me. I was expecting to deal with the sense of fear and anxiety that comes with caring for someone else’s life. What I had not anticipated was their paralyzing weight, which seemed even heavier under sleep deprivation. Over the past few months, working out has been a wonderful stress reliever but the end of my maternity leave has added a bit of pressure to the whole thing.
The other night, I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to an exclusive webinar with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love. She was sharing that her deepest wish for humanity was for women to be totally relaxed, at ease. Her speech lit up something inside me, just as teaching yoga used to. It reminded me that in order to feel less scared, more grounded and at peace, I have to act from a place of joy. Aside from my family, what makes me the happiest is sharing how I find my own joy, which is by putting myself first. It might sound selfish but to be happy and at ease, I must continue to put myself first despite the many (absolutely, obsessively beautiful therefore difficult to avoid) roadblocks of motherhood. Sure, my daughter fills me with happiness. But my true joy is only possible in a place where guilt does not exist. My joy depends on my capacity to forgive myself. My joy starts with me.
After that webinar, I wrote what follows to have something to go back to when shit hits the fan. I am my best teacher. So here it is, my letter from me to me, my mama-bear care reminder :
If you love yourself, you’ll invest in yourself
If you love your family and your children, you’ll invest in yourself
If you want to live a fulfilling life, you’ll invest in yourself
You have the power to take that step for yourself
It’s a conscious choice. Choose carefully.
When you’re healthy, happy and calm
You’re a better version of yourself
A better lover, a better parent, a better human
Invest in yourself
Take care of your most precious possession: your health
Continue to pay a higher price for higher nutrition
Even if that means less money for stuff that sounds way more interesting and exciting
Investing in yourself means saying no
It’s knowing that everything good comes at a price
That it’s a trade-off
You’ll trade something bad for something good
That’s the easy part
You will also have to trade something great in order to achieve what’s even better
If you truly love yourself, and listen to your inner voice
You’ll find the strength to let go when needed
That voice knows what you need, what you want deep inside, and it’s screaming
You may not hear it very clearly because of the layers of noise all around
If you love yourself, you’ll make a conscious, consistent effort to quiet that noise
In order to hear that seemingly small voice that has such an enormous message for you
Invest in experimenting with the variety of tools that might help you achieve that stillness
Because there is no ending to the most important mission of your life: your wellbeing
You will find what works for you
If you love yourself, you will trust the process and believe in what you can achieve
If you love yourself, sky truly is the limit
Love yourself, choose yourself, believe in yourself
Perhaps one day I will feel confident enough to publish such a text without the foreword explaining where it comes from. Because it does still feel like I need to explain or justify myself. Like anything else, it’s a work in progress I suppose!
May our soul seeking, heart growing, philosophical thinking, and endless curiosity never cease to teach us about life 🙂