It takes guts to say Yes to our own heart’s song.
It takes time, and being quiet, and making mistakes, and usually doing things we don’t love for awhile…
And while we are doing things we don’t love, and whiling away perfectly good hours, we have a little tiny thing inside us saying More More More….
and the song just keeps getting louder, and louder, and LOUDER until we are stifled by its noise and MUST LISTEN.
That’s when Courage shows up. She shows up when we aren’t sure if we can really do it, and she screams at us of our worthiness and our abilities and our convictions. She reminds us, that darling Courage, that we are more than our stories and our past experiences and our families and our limitations.
“You are INFINITE, so get your ass moving!” She yells at us across a computer screen or in a park or wherever we happen to be pandering, doubting, wondering how the heck it’s all going to turn out.
It takes guts to listen and really take those steps to change our lives, and I truly believe (with every pixie-cell that makes up my fiber-of-being-ness) that THIS is when we transform into a closer version of the person we are meant to be. In the moments of fear, doubt, paralysis, and pandering…when the roar of Courage rises up, we shed an old samsakara and move into a greater, more free aspect of ourselves.
Samskaras are patterns that make up the personality, our body, our environment and our realities. Think of the word meaning “some scars” we carry with us from past lives, early childhood, and the like. Our bodymind system is wildly intelligent, and never forgets the experiences we live through, good or bad. It simply stores them, allowing them to inform our future behavior until one day, we process the experience (consciously or not) and heal it, and let it go. In yoga, we learn about the power of the postures and meditation practices to unravel our samskaras, helping us evolve and shed old habits and beliefs, replacing them with more fluid and compassionate paradigms. The releasing of samskaras can happen in very big rushes, but more likely, it’s small openings: revelations, emotional releases after physical practices, dreams, pain and other symptoms for no apparent reason are all indicators that we are releasing samskaras and evolving in ourSelves, but ONLY if we know how to care for ourSelves WHILE the process is happening.
Samskaras are catalysts for growth. They are not bad, or to be demonized. They are simply forming our world to look a certain way, and when we let them go, our world shifts in some way.
When we are listening to our heart’s song, and living life in ways that feels more authentic to ourselves, our samskaras sometimes come up with vengeance for healing and compassion.
It takes courage to listen to the voices that are whispering to us, and it takes a special sort of compassion for ourselves to heal the samskaras that come up for healing. I offer you a simple process to shift out of the samskara and heal it through gentle awareness, in hopes that it gives you more Courage and chutzpa to listen when she roars 🙂
1. Identifying a samskara: Same old, same old. The food you are craving, the not-great-for-you guy you are dating, the judgemental voice you hear when you’re trying something new. These old behaviors and patterns are definitely samskaras, and need some loving attention.
2. In the moment of a samskara appearing (this may be a tricky step, because you must pay attention to yourself), pause. Just stop whatever it is. Stop acting on it. Stop mid-sentence. Stop the car (safely). Hang up the phone (relatively politely). But stop. If it’s not safe to stop, then take a breath or two, and remember this moment for later.
3. Either later, or after you have stopped, do a body scan. How is your breathing? Where is there tension in your body? How is your body feeling? Is your head throbbing, head pounding, mouth watering…is pain present? Other symptoms like tingling, burning, numbness…all of those are indicators from your body.
Your body is telling you, “I am working through some STUFF here. Just LET me!”
4. Soften the breath. Tell your body that you love it..silently or aloud. Get quiet. What is motivating this experience and reaction? Fear? Anger? Aggression? Pent up emotions? Send love to all these aspects of yourself.
Ask your bodymind what it needs from you. Ask it, “How can I help this process to ease? How can I support you?”
5. Wait for an answer. Listen. Then take your actions accordingly.
Now, I know this may not be realistic while in the “outside world” but as soon as you are alone, with your thoughts, I heartily recommend moving through this practice with a journal and a few minutes of quietness. Call up the memory and moment you want to work through. Have the conversation with yourself. Find out what is going on!
And listen, listen, listen with love.
Respond with love. Respond with compassion.
6. And then rest. Crawl under a blanket or do a yoga nidra, but give yourSelf time to process and release the work you just did. This is the most VITAL part of healing samskaras for the long term. We must integrate the new paradigm and continue releasing the old, and resting tells the system this is safe.
Resting may need to happen over several days, and the healing may take place over several days, weeks, or months. Each time the old pattern shows up, breathe in love. Notice your options. Remind yourSelf of the moment you cultivated another choice. Choose again.
We must always choose ourSelves…over and over and over, until there’s another samskara, and we learn how to choose for that instance, that aspect of us, and release the old way, welcoming the new.
This is a process of evolution…like all Heart Songs. All our hearts lead us, eventually, to sewing seeds of goodness in the world. If we are truly listening, we see the beauty of other hearts, we see that we are all living in the same current of life, and we want to sew moments of ease, laughter, and beauty for others to reap. Life has a million ways for us to sew these seeds, but we always begin with ourSelves.
Until the next,
heed the Roar.