As we grow up we develop a multitude of neurotic beliefs, many of which tell us we cannot be, do or have what we dream in this lifetime. That a happy life, one that is the product of our own choosing, is for everyone out there, not for ourselves. It’s unfortunate how self-limiting and self-sabotaging these thought patterns can be and I want to challenge you to choose differently. Don’t think for a moment I don’t have them (neuroses). I absolutely do! And my partner will attest to that. I call this, ‘being human’. In an attempt to confront neurotic thoughts, I make daily commitments to cultivating a more positive mindset, one that focuses on what I can do rather than what I can’t. I do this because I’m mindful if I do not take active steps to address negative and unhelpful ways of thinking, then I shall be consumed by such thoughts and this shall become my life. This is not an easy path, and there are days when everything feels impossible, but it’s certainly a very real one.
As a rehabilitation consultant, I witnessed hundreds of my clients give in to the circumstances before them. They handed their power over to the greater forces they believed to be at work, continually operating with a victim mentality. Blaming their employer, family, children, friends, doctors, physio and so on…. for everything that was going wrong in their lives.
Watching people hand over control of their lives like this always saddened me, for I could always see the incredible potential in each and every client, potential they denied existed.
My work was a real eye opener as it challenged me to think differently, to choose my path rather than have it chosen for me. It was upsetting to witness so many wonderful people become mere shells of their former selves following an incident of some sort. Of course there were many factors at play with my typical clientele, and I often worked with the most challenging of cases due to my experience over the years, but the patterns always looked the same.
Life as they knew it, incident occurred, blame others, become consumed by feelings of frustration, resentment, fear, overwhelm, shock, depression, anxiety, denial, then often seeking retribution to make things right. This final stage was quite possibly the saddest and most challenging, for retribution never ends well. Rather it remains as an excuse to keep small and victimized, forcing people to remain stuck in a drama triangle, a loop that is relentless unless faced head on and stopped in its tracks.
I’ve noticed students of yoga generally posses a very different attitude to their lives and how they want to feel each day, making this work (if you could call it that) very inspiring. What I’ve found as a teacher and practitioner of yoga is the vastly different attitudes of the students who walk through the doors. Unlike my clientele from my previous life, my students are often in a mindset that seeks healing. They’re there because they know something needs to change or improve in their lives and they’ve sought yoga as a tool for helping them get there. They may have experienced all of the above feelings of anger, sadness, frustration etc for various reasons, however they’re now in a position where they want to really challenge those negative, unhelpful thought processes. The thoughts that keep them small and in a place of lesser than. Whilst I felt my career in rehabilitation was valuable to my clients, what I’m now very aware of is that I can only help people who want to be helped.
I can show people the door, but it is up to them to walk through it.
In yoga, many students are standing at this door and are looking for that teacher, that support, to be with them as they begin this powerful, confronting and incredible journey. I love this about the practice.
I’ve always looked at asana as a true sign of strength for when I see a student progress with their practice, I see a genuine commitment and devotion to healing. I observe the struggles that people overcome in both body and mind by watching as they get up and try again every time they fall, or hurt themselves or feel weak. This is real strength.
People who are unwell need support during those difficult times, but as professionals, as teachers, we are lying to ourselves and to our clients, if we believe we can fix whatever problem is going on for that person. Not only is this a violent act (as we are not trusting in the strength of the individual to move through this tough time), but it is also impossible to achieve. We are all responsible for the path our life takes. Yes, encouragement and support is wonderful, but it is not everything. We need to find the strength, the motivation, the courage within ourselves to fight for what we believe in. To challenge our minds when we want to give up. To trust in our own intuition when every one else is in doubt.
We are all so much stronger than we believe. We deny this about ourselves because it is easier to stay small. The risk seems lower. But if you ask me, to not follow a life that is determined by myself is the biggest risk of all. We are here but once. If you fall, get up. Don’t give up. Why? Because each and every moment matters. If you want something enough, believe me, it can be yours. Take that first step and go for it.
Sending hugs, Jessica xx