Shine Your Light

By: Bethanie Jones

I’ve never really been great with emotions. I mean, I feel them of course but I can’t always articulate and organize them well. Some days I feel like pain swallows me whole and I’m completely lost, while others, I go on not feeling anything at all. It’s almost as if my head isn’t attached to my body. It just goes on think, think, thinking on it’s own, inside of it’s own little world. My body somehow shows up to go through the motions, the day ends and I can’t remember a single thing I’ve done. Talk about a bad case of not being present.

Today while I was in Jolynn’s Vin and Yin class, she said “Set an intention for the day, it can be something on the mat or off of it, but just notice what comes up.” Sometimes when teachers say this I struggle to find “something to say to myself”. Like it’s some sort of assignment and I have to be prepared. Today was one of those days where I left my homework at home.  It was one of those days I had no idea what I needed or where to even begin. I felt lost, overwhelmed and sorry for myself.  Nothing was coming to me, and nothing felt easy. I haven’t been coming to class or practicing at home, and I did not feel confident in my skin. The truth is, over these last few months I have been very unkind to myself, and I was growing quite tired of my own negativity. I have been judging myself so harshly as I most often do when I lose my center that I just wanted to cry. How do we get ourselves into these cycles, toxic and then healthy, grateful and then wanting, lazy and then overworked, content and then unsettled? It’s like a pendulum; we swing right on past that sweet place of balance with our frantic outstretched arms, only to miss it by seconds.

There was a moment of pure anger and frustration in class, where I literally let out an audible sigh, scrunched up my face and told myself to shut up and cut it out! That I was sick to death of living with this horrible mean voice in my head and I’ve had enough!  I don’t know how long I held that down dog or how much I was shaking my head and gripping into my mat but it felt like some time, and if people had their eyes open they most certainly thought I was transforming into a werewolf or that, at the very least, I had ticks.

I forcefully pushed into a flow and ended in upward dog. My legs strong and steady, hands firmly planted, heart reaching up toward the sky, when my head fell back into defeat.

And that’s when it came to me.

I opened my eyes, looked to the sky and said “Help me, I need help. Help me to love myself in the way that you love me. Help me to see what you see. Show me how to be kind to myself. Pour your love into me, and drown me in peace. I am not well. I need you. I need your love.“

And just like that, I exhaled.

We met in child’s pose and tears fell onto my mat.  I heard the sound of my heart beating and throbbing inside of my ears. My hands fell behind my head into prayer and I imagined a line of light streaming into the crown of my head and spilling over into my body, filling me. I wept with fullness.

We were silent for some time, when Jolynn began to read….

“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. “

Shine Your Light