I've been doing some hard things lately.
This subtle shift of empowerment happened at the beginning of this month. Last month was an emotional rollercoaster. I got sick, spent a few days in the hospital, started school for my second semester but really had no idea why I was here or if I even wanted to be here, and my relationship began to crumble on unstable ground. I needed something to make me feel strong, like myself again.
So in the beginning of February, I started a holy yoga challenge called #loveisourasana. I did a challenge in August, and fell in love. And this challenge was no different. I fell face first into my fearless tribe. I got heartbreakingly honest about the real life shit going on in my life. And I tested out some new postures.
It wasn't easy. 90% of the poses were ones I had looked at other people doing when I first started my yoga practice a few years ago and thought "I couldn't do that." Mid way through the challenge I faced some conflict that I thought could have been strong enough to break me. It brought me face down in my own brokenness. For a while it made me bitter and angry. But then something shifted.
I remember encountering this one pose - one that I looked at and laughed, sure that even now I wouldn't be able to execute it. And then I tried it. And it sucked. I didn't get the posture right and I fell flat on my face. But I posted the picture anyway, with a comment that posting this picture was my act of defiance against all the voices in my head that said I couldn't do it, and maybe I couldn't do this exact (insanely hard) pose yet but that didn't mean I would never be able to do it.
And the next time a hard pose came around, one that I was trying to argue my way out of doing, I tried it again, this time with more success. And the next time, and the next time, and by the end of the challenge I was doing poses I was sure I couldn't do. And maybe they didn't look perfect but I was showing up. Messy and scared and unsure and humbled every time I stepped foot on my mat and broken I was showing up and I was doing the poses and sometimes they looked horrible but in the doing of the poses, I found my brave.
I've been working on telling the truth. It started during the challenge, when I shared my struggle with codependency. It's something that's always been there for me, but something I never had a name for until a friend described her struggle with it and something clicked in my brain. Admitting that, admitting that there is this thing, this addiction that I have and its ruining my relationships and my life was terrifying. But it opened the door for new kinds of honesty. I finally shared the blog post I've been hiding away for months, never quite feeling brave enough to share my messy story with the world (still feeling a vulnerability hangover from that one.) I confronted some people in the name of love, people who didn't need me enabling them anymore. I got honest with myself, that I'm not as fine as I think I am, that most days I just walk around scared to death, and I shared that with some people that I love. And just today I was able to share a brutally honest post I wrote in a 2am fear induced insomnia episode on smartpatients.com, with a world of patients and doctors and med students, and to begin to change the way we look at medicine using the vessel of story telling (I could write a whole post about that though. Working with Roni and his team was such a dream come true. For now I say go read it. Go read my heart for the future of medicine).
I'm facing down the truth about what I believe and why and how what I've been taught fits into the whole story of my life and it is ripping me apart.
So why am I writing all this? Because through all this - the yoga challenge and the honesty and the writing - I learned I can do hard things. I have this incredible sense of bravery and power inside of me, flowing in me and through me. For the first time in a long time I believe I am brave, and I believe I am powerful, and I have a strong knowing that I can do hard things.
Tonight I went to the gym (working out is killing my abs but so good for my soul) and I did that pose, the one I was so afraid to attempt, the one that I did face flat on the floor through tears in the middle of brokenness that ended up looking terrible. I did it, and I did it with so much better than I ever thought I could do it.
I keep showing up. And things change. And things happen. And that, I think, is where real bravery and power lie.