Finding Kindness

recite-383--1444800253-1drakruWe cannot be kind to ourselves, love ourselves, unless we know ourselves.

The realization came to me smack in the middle of savasana (yes the time we are meant to clear our minds – doesn’t always go that way, does it?) following a power infused yoga class.

The scene was hundreds of yogis buzzing about the Wayne Art Center in Pennsylvania for the 2nd annual NamasDay Yoga Festival organized by Philly Area Yoga … if you don’t know about the event or the web site, you’ll want to check them out!

The class was a lovely, inspiring one with Nicole Cucinotta called “Live Out Loud!” … if you haven’t taken a class with this amazing woman, do yourself the favor!

Nicole’s request at the outset of class was to bring into vision the biggest version of ourselves. I tried. No picture arrived. I waited a few more breaths. Mind blank. What!? Hello, in there! Nothing at all. How was this possible? But no matter, no judgement, class was set to begin.

Then, 90 minutes later, not sure whether I was broken down by all those Chair poses, or opened up by all the the heart chakra focused asanas, but I laid down for final relaxation and tears poured down my cheeks.

I rolled along with Nicole’s very sweet reading about what it means to “Live Out Loud!” Some of it reminded me of SARK, another colorful and bold author you should totally check out, who offers food for thought around the concept of radical self acceptance.

It became clearer that while I might know what I like to do and what I don’t like to do, what works and what doesn’t work in my life, I don’t always make choices that align with this awareness. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone.

Making choices (whether smaller or bigger ones) that run counter to our intuition or our sense of honoring self is actually a huge slap in the face to the practice of kindness, or Ahimsa. This is actually the first of the Yamas, which lay the groundwork for the yogic eightfold path … but we don’t have to get all ancient history, it just makes good sense. We gotta be nice to ourselves!

With the recognition that I clearly don’t always honor myself, it’s no wonder that I don’t always love myself. Sometimes life gets heavy, ya know? Can I get an Amen?

With the awareness that I don’t always love myself, it makes sense that I would be confronted by the suggestion of envisioning the biggest version of myself. That’s like trying to be an abstract artist without knowing the fundamentals of realism, right?

The clearing, then, as I see it: Get in touch with what matters to you. Investigate what you need to do to really become the version of yourself that you adore, through and through. Find kindness in your choices and love yourself for honoring you. Experience moments of your life fully, accepting and alive inside of them because they align with who you are and what you choose. Then root down in intention to rise up big!

And if you lose sight of the path, it’s all good … no reason to fret! Bring yourself back to center and choose knowledge, kindness and love again … it’s practice, and you’re perfect exactly as you are!

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