A while back, I reconnected with people who, in some capacity, had been a part of the yoga studio that I used to own. Of course it felt great to catch up but what I did not expect were the fond memories they had of the studio. Funny times I had forgotten. Memorable events I thought only I had found special.
The last months before the sale of the studio were tumultuous and left a lot of hard feelings. Sometimes when people leave my life, there are irreconcilable differences. I hate that but am learning – at full glacial speed – to be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to like me or be happy with my actions. I hadn’t realized how much I let the stress from last year skew my perception of all we accomplished at the studio those five years. Yes, we. I couldn’t have done it by myself. Together as teachers and students we created a beautiful sangha that will continue indefinitely on many levels. I am grateful for the reminder of the connections we made, the lives we touched and the good times we had.
For a really long time, I was almost incapable of connecting with others. Isolating myself was a coping mechanism that once served me quite well. As a kid, I didn’t know how to handle people were two-faced, obnoxious, cruel. My takeaway from having endured these painful situations was that people were generally untrustworthy and the only person on whom I could rely was myself.
But the self-inflicted badge of self-sufficiency is a lonely sentence. Always searching for solutions without ever asking for help out of fear that someone would label me as stupid. Never having a shoulder to cry on because I didn’t want to be perceived as weak. Fooling myself that it was better this way but, in reality, it was an awful way to live.
Then, when I started having panic attacks, I couldn’t do it by myself anymore. Now even I was letting me down; how terrifying. At the time, it was horrible but I can see now that it was my saving grace as it forced me to do the unspeakable: ASK FOR HELP. I was actually shocked how people rose to the occasion. For the first time, I had a support system.
Along the way, I have had to learn how to set boundaries: draw closer the people who respect me and put distance between me and those who don’t. But my most shocking revelation has been: My strength manifests from my most vulnerable moments. Being vulnerable actually takes me in the polar opposite direction of panic: it brings me towards peace and love.