Are you sure you believe that?
Updated: Mar 10, 2021
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We are driven by what we believe in.
When I started to practice yoga and meditation, I did so because I heard a calling from my soul. I was sitting on the back porch of my then home and I was thinking about how depressed I was. I had done everything I thought I was supposed to up to that point. I was doing the best I knew how given the circumstances of my life. I had built a business that provided for me, I married the love of my life, we bought a beautiful little home that I adored, I was living life, and yet I felt this desperate yearning inside.
This yearning twisted within me. I felt like it was trying to tell me something. I remember that day so vividly. I remember the question I posed to myself. What should I do to help myself? What is next for me?
And what I heard next came quickly, and it felt and sounded very clear.
I heard, "Practice Kundalini Yoga."
Years before this, I had tried a yoga class at the local rec center. I had no clue how to do yoga or really what it was.
Back when I was a child back in the early '80s, I was watching the news with my Grandpa as I often did, and the news commentator was talking about the rise of yoga in the west. They showed video footage of men cross-legged bouncing around on their buttocks. It looked crazy. I must have been around five or six years old; I have never forgotten that news segment.
There I was in this dark room with close to 30 people, the instructor at the front of the room. She had us bring our hands together at our heart, and she started to chant. I had never heard anything like it in my life. I don't recall if I made a sound or if I just stood there listening. She chanted the same thing three times. The room felt oddly different and more peaceful after. The students followed along as she guided us through a Kundalini yoga and mediation class. It was all so new and foreign. I thought it was weird, but also wonderful. I left class, got in my car, lit a smoke, and drove back to our small apartment. I went back a few more times and then kind of forgot about it.
Here I was about 10 years later, sitting on my back porch and my intuition is telling me to learn and practice Kundalini yoga. I decided to listen.
This choice led me into strange practices that confronted my inherited belief systems. I was confronting what I believed about myself, and everything I had learned to be true up until that point. I was holding sacred space for this to happen, and I was doing most of this in my living room with a DVD set I purchased on the internet. Little did I know that this man teaching through my T.V. would become one of the greatest teachers in my life. I was too nervous to go to classes and practice with other people at that time, and I am glad for that, for I never would have found Nirvair Singh, had I had the confidence to practice in a group with others.
I had spent much of my life using Christianity as the filter through which I experienced life. And much of what I had been taught, was that these sorts of strange and mediative practices I was doing were wrong. And not just wrong but Satanic. "One should not meditate. Meditation opens the door to Satan. The only thing one should focus one's mind on is the Bible." I had heard this many times in my life. Not just from family members but random people I would encounter in my business. Had I allowed myself to believe them, I would still be twisting in yearning.
I am thankful every day for the practices that led me to question and explore the many systems of belief that were acting as filters in my life. I had the choice because of my growing awareness to allow this confrontation to take place, to explore what ideas and beliefs were driving me. The experience of confronting myself, again and again, made space for radical curiosity. Six months later I overcame a great fear of flying through Hypnosis and Kundalini Yoga so that I could fly to the ashram and study with my teacher Nirvair Singh. I had come far from the safety of my living room. I had to confront the fear that said I couldn't fly. A fear that felt so true. I believed I would die in some horrible flying accident. Confronting that fear was very challenging. I am glad I did not listen to it like gospel. It wasn't true. My mind was lying to me.
The bible says," Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
That verse, to me, was pointing me not to believe in things concretely, but to make room to explore, and most importantly, practice being curious, innocently curious like children are. I was, for the first time in my life, giving myself permission to really explore.
When it came to healing my body, I had some pretty rigid views. You see I've been living with a chronic painful autoimmune disease called Endometriosis, and for many years. I rejected the idea that it was possible to heal. I had made up my mind that I was broken and damaged. I made no room for exploration around this illness. Even after many years of mediation, I was holding firmly to the belief that my body couldn't heal. Until one day, a surgeon said to me, "Why beat a dead horse, you should just have a hysterectomy." I started to cry right there in his office, I even apologized for crying. I wanted to keep my reproductive system. I still had/have hopes for a miracle baby, and somewhere in me knew that even if I couldn't conceive, I wasn't ready to experience menopause at thirty-seven years old.
I decided than in the car on the way home that I was going to heal myself to the best of my ability. It was an intention I planted and it took many years before actually knew how to go about healing. I just knew doctors couldn't help me anymore. And don't get me wrong, allopathic medicine is amazing and in fact, it saved my life where I was three years old. I give many thanks to doctors for what they do. I had done enough research on my dis-ease, to know that even a full hysterectomy doesn't always cure this autoimmune condition and that many women still experienced a great deal of pain even after such a surgery. I also knew that allopathic medicine isn't always the answer for every condition. Even though I had no idea how to heal, I knew that I needed to believe that I could.
It has been five years since I cried in that surgeon's office. And since then I went back to school, learned all about food as medicine, and became a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. I continue to study yoga and mediation, and I also became a Clinical Hypnotherapist. In order for all the above to take place, I once again had to listen to my intuition. My husband and I quit our jobs, sold our home, gave away all our belongings, traveled most of North America in our R.V., allowing the unknown road to guide us where we needed to be. We had no plan and no idea where life was taking us. I was confronting the belief system that my home and job made me who I was. I let go and decided to believe I had a destiny to fulfill. I dropped all ambition and floated in the arms of the sweet unknown. I made room to listen and to let go. It wasn't until I was standing on the beach in P.E.I, eight months into our nomad adventure when I heard that old familiar voice. It was my intuition. It told me to go to school and learn everything I could about food. Right away the belief that I was unable to go back to school because I was dyslexic was staring me in the face. Telling me I was too stupid to learn, especially at my age. My yoga training prepared me for that moment. I could confront my own mind and my beliefs, making room for compassion and radical curiosity. Was that in fact true that I was too stupid to learn? I knew it was a lie. I was just afraid and being afraid of something new is normal. I confronted this belief and I am glad I did.
During the last five years, I have been met with all sorts of belief systems I didn't know I had. I now have the power to reject or accept my own thoughts. And I chose to become radically curious about them. I even go as far now as to befriend these dark and shameful thoughts. Curious about how they came to be. Is there a softness underneath them that I could touch and even hold in love?