You don’t FIND love; it’s already there.

I am slowly changing from the awkward, self-conscious and hurried woman that I was just a few short months ago into a woman who closes her eyes in yoga poses and forgets there are other people in the room.

“This is where I am supposed to be,’ I thought as I laid on the wood floor on my yoga mat. I was in shavasana which is the resting pose at the end of class. I really didn’t understand what this resting time was all about when I first started practicing yoga a few months ago. I would lay there and be fidgety and feel kind of silly with a towel over my eyes as the teacher would tell us to leave everything on the mat. My mind and emotions would race as I tried to lay still. When it was over I would jump up, put my shoes on, roll up my mat and walk quickly to my car. Sometimes I would even get up early while the rest of the class was still letting everything go, and tip toe out of class.

I have to come realize that this resting at the end of class is a very important part of the practice. Last night I laid there and knew it was where I was supposed to be as the teacher created a sound bath for us by gently hitting a large gong with a mallet. The vibrational energy went through my mind and slowed my racing thoughts. My body was sweaty and tired from our intense Fire Yoga class, and I felt a small part of me change as I relaxed and let go.

I am slowly changing from the awkward, self-conscious and hurried woman that I was just a few short months ago into a woman who closes her eyes in yoga poses and forgets there are other people in the room. The teacher and the other people in the class are friendly and welcoming, I feel their warmth and see their non-judgemental smiles. These are my people; my tribe. A part of me has always been drawn to spirituality and I have always loved the discipline of exercise and moving my body. Yoga combines both of those, and I feel it transforming me.

My body is starting to remember the poses and to tighten certain muscles automatically without me thinking about it. It is the consistent practice that creates muscle memory. And consciously inhaling and exhaling while flowing into the poses gives me a focus, instead then thinking about if I am doing it right or not. Yoga is taking me out of my comfort zone of trying to control my body and emotions, and pushing me slowly through my hurt and pain.

I want to get through my pain. I want to be healed and feel whole. But there is a part of me that grips onto the pain as if to remind myself not to be hurt again. I used to go over situations and circumstances again and again in my head. How could things have turned out differently in my marriage? How could I have kept my family together? But yoga is teaching me that my past was not supposed to be different. I was a different person 20 years ago, and my marriage helped me to grow into who I am now. I loved having my family as my focus, it gave me purpose and intention. It made me work hard, and put others first. I learned that I am loyal, generous and that I will do almost anything for those I love. I didn’t know this about myself before I got married and had my daughter. But I know it now, I learned it in my marriage.

Yes, I experienced pain, betrayal and heartbreak over the last 20 years, but whether I was married or not I would have experienced those things. Those are emotions and circumstances that every person will feel and experience. It is a part of being alive and on this earth. But towards the end of my marriage the hurt became too unbearable as I watched my family unit disintegrated before my eyes, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. It was hard to wake up every day and feel helpless. I became guarded and closed off to keep the pain out. But I also closed out the love.

Love is not a complicated problem to be solved or to be endlessly dissected. I always thought that it was, because of the way I was brought up. I was told I was loved, but how I was treated didn’t feel like love so most of the time I was just confused. It made me live in my head to try and figure out how to get more of the moments where I felt like I was loved and accepted. This is because I was given conditional love based on my parents needs and not who I was as a person. It took me a long time to learn this. But I know now that love is just there, and it is not real love if it is used to manipulate and control. Love is already in us, we don’t have to work for it or figure it out. We just have to believe that we deserve to feel it.

Healing is a letting go of all the thoughts that tell me that I don’t deserve the love I have inside of me. It is letting go of feeling that I should give my love away and see if someone else values it, and that if they don’t value it, then I am not valuable or special. I gave so much of myself away in hopes of getting just a little love back. And when I didn’t get it back it confirmed my worst fear, that I didn’t deserve it. So, I held on tightly to my thoughts and my ego to protect myself from feeling unworthy. But as this became a habit, it was those very thoughts and my growing ego that kept me from loving myself.

I used to rush through yoga to check off the box that I did it. I used to watch other people and compare myself, and think that I wasn’t flexible or strong enough. I used to be glad when it was over and be impatient as I laid on my mat during the resting period at the end of class. I had things to do, and thoughts to think about. I had to get back to my rushed life of trying to hide my unworthiness. Little did I know that the love I was rushing around to find was in me all along.