You're not bad, you're a badass!
"May all that is unloved in you blossom into a future graced with love." ~John O'Donohue
Sometimes the light, the love, the loss is just too much to bear for one human mind and body. This is in part why we heartbreakingly see yoga and meditation teachers ending their lives. (That is a whole other topic I am not addressing in this post but I will write more on that later.) It's said that when we bear the unbearable (and make it out alive) we learn true compassion.
When we sit inside the fire and live through the burn that we actually become compassion itself. When that pain is emotional and related to not just what we're going through in the moment but something we experienced in the past, it can feel like we're drowning. (And then totally fine 5 minutes later.)
When there is no one left to blame or rage at there is nothing left to do but feel it and own that it's never really about them. That ultimately it's not even about what it's about. We realize that it's up to us to pick up the pieces and step forward, into more love, into something that will help us. We are learning self acceptance and the type of forgiveness Jesus and Mary were all about.
I have felt this wild compassion in my body and heart. I've watched myself as I didn't think I could be of service to anyone cry with other women and be with them deeply in hard moments, while we both starved for the Grace I knew deep down existed because I've experienced her arrow plunge into my heart. (My heart has been breaking and blossoming ever since.)
To be with one another, not as someone who even knew more, just with the awareness that because we were humans connecting from the heart that we belonged. Choosing to stay in our bodies and on this earth as humans. And as a powerful divine energy that desired to experience itself.
That together we were safe after so many years of having doors closed on our tears. In a moment of what my wise friend Heidi Robbins calls ... uncommonly low. A place so many of us are afraid to meet one another in when the truth is that this is one of the best places for us to connect. Or at least the most satisfying to the soul, nourishing for the heart and transformative for our lives.
I've wailed with the trees alone, vulnerable pushed to the edge of surrender. The positive side is this uplifted experience of wisdom and self trust that comes from being brave enough to make hard decisions and live through the pain of them.
But if I'm honest something else I've gathered from these experiences is that I was bad. That I didn't and don't deserve love and happiness like everyone else, because I'm different and someone who goes to depths of the darkness and emerges with a deeper trust and faith. Or at least a stronger knowing of who I am, separate from what others think and say.
But still the old "you're bad" loves to show up for some of this sweet tea I'm sipping on.
What grown ass woman walks around thinking she's "bad"? Well I do. And I sit with women in a circle of fire, inside tear-filled eyes who think they are, even if it's buried underneath generations of blame, shame, and self-abuse.
So I'm curious. Where did we pick this "being bad" up from?
When did we decide that we don't deserve love and happiness because we have made mistakes? Who taught us that identifying with our mistakes is more valid than identifying with the good that we do?
Marianne Williamson speaks about how there is no way God is some condemning, almighty being who will punish us with every chance he gets. She shares how, as humans, when we make mistakes, we punish ourselves and cause ourselves immense suffering as a way to deal with the pain. So why would God need to do this for us? Why would God need to be anything other than unconditionally loving to us in those moments?
I've followed my heart, I've failed miserably, have been humbled and humiliated by death and debt, and have burned to the ground and risen from the ashes. And yet this subtle taste of bad in my mouth still remains. The hungry wolf inside that feeds only on toxic communication and a shoving away when I want to be closer must also be loved in this journey. Must also be expressed somehow and find a place to belong.
Am I bad because my dad lived only by his rules and the conditioning of addiction? Am I bad because I've fallen in love so easily, and then don't feel anything at all? What is it that makes us good, anyway? And who decides what that means? There is a way that takes us into the authentic place where we connect our goodness so deeply that the layers of self hate and judgment start to melt off our heart.
The heart. That's it.
As humans we make mistakes, big and small, and through these experiences, we learn how to forgive. How to love the parts in us that don't know they're worthy of love, no matter what.
We are loving up the bad and unleashing the badass.
This process takes time, and lots of watching ourselves do the same painful thing over and over again—until we don't. Our badass-ness comes from a heart that is innately good. It is one of the main principles in yoga—you are good. Which doesn't mean you're supposed to act it all the time, or not make amends when they are due, or even believe it all the time. But goodness is our home base, This is the place inside where we turn in order to remember what is true. Where we sense what we are meant to be doing. That space past what we've been told, or what those around us are tugging at us to do.
This is your heart. And she is a badass determined to love and spread her brilliant light no matter what trials and tribulations come her way. This is what she was made for. She was made to break open, and stay open.
As the late and great Leonard Cohen suggests...
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
In a world gone mad, you are not the bad that you see. You are the one that can forgive, that can reach out for help when you need it. You are the one who learns courage through terror and and bravery through practicing being bold.
Love is who you are. This doesn't exempt you from pain. Sometimes you will hurt others and sometimes they will hurt you. The ego is meant to be broken, let go, and embraced with a big hug. But the Spirit is not meant to be punished or beat down. The world often conflates these two actions, so we must step up and support our Spirit. We must hold it and build it up. Share the part of us that will never die.
We are a tribe of holy lovers, loving up the "bad" and unleashing the badass.
Please join us this fall for the Power of Love training at Yogala Studios. We will support one another in this process, have a ton of fun and get you the practice you need to lead other with confidence and authenticity. Reach out with any questions and go to www.yogalastudios.com for more info and to sign up. Would be an honor to have your wisdom with us!