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  • Writer's picturethe traveling yogi

Trusting Yourself - a yogi's standpoint

My family has a tradition every year around Christmas time. We head into New York City to see the tree at Rockafeller Center. Over the years, we have developed this checklist of things that we see and do. We go to the same restaurants, pay a visit to Saint Patrick's Cathedral and of course see the tree. In addition to this, for some strange reason, we always stop in the Oakley store on 5th Avenue and then we head over to the Barnes and Noble across the street. It is here that we separate, find our spots and warm up. My family knows that soon after we enter the bookstore I quickly head to the "self-help" section and plant myself there until they come to get me. Oh, how I am in my happy place. There are books on how and what to eat. How to stop one habit and/or start another. How to be a good wife and parent. There are books on how to manage your time and schedule your day. How to sleep well - what time to get up and what time to go to bed. There are books that tell you how to be more assertive, courageous, and spontaneous....you name it - it's there. Books, books, and more books on how to live a wonderful life.


It was about 2 years ago when my family trickled into my sacred spot to came to get me, that my son started to read the titles of these books. His face made a kind-of-contorted expression and he said something like this: "Why would anyone listen to these books? Someone else telling you how you should live your life." He was only about 17 years old at the time. What a confident thing for him to say! I, on the other hand, was about 1/2 century old and his comment simply just stopped me in my tracks and made me think - he is absolutely right! Why was I so influenced by the thoughts, words, and advice of others? Especially, when it came to living my own life! That was a pivotal moment for me. It became clear to me that I needed to learn how to become myself and more importantly, I needed to start trusting myself.


Now, don't get me wrong, there is something about a good self-help book that I think I will always be drawn to and places like the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY are one of my top 5 happy places. It is in places like this that I immerse myself in the teachings of inspirational masters and love every second of it. With that being said though, I felt like the time had come for me to lean less on others and put more weight and importance on what I felt and thought. This is a common theme in many spiritual traditions. Here is a quote that I like from Judith Lasater's book Living Your Yoga, "when we acknowledge that ultimately there are no answers outside of ourselves, and no gurus, no teachers, and no philosophies that can solve the problems of our lives. They can only suggest, guide, and inspire. It is our dedication to living with open hearts and our commitment to the day-to-day details of our lives that will transform us. When we are open to the present moment, we shine forth." I remember being at the Omega Institute when Tim Olmstead referred to the same idea. Tim has studied with many of the greatest Buddhist teachers of our time. During his lecture, he spoke of his process of absorbing the teachings from his master and then being able to fly away on his own. This is part of the process, you learn and then you do.


For many reasons, this is not easy for me. For years, decades even, I was unconsciously taking the temperature of the room. It is just how I showed up. I lived within self-made walls that were created by adhering to what the majority of others thought, felt, and did. I was a half-asleep sheep following the herd. For me, it is a classic case of seeking others' approval and validation. So then, the process of knowing, and then being and "doing" yourself takes a lot of courage. Being the sheep who stops and walks in the other direction is crazy - scary! It could be the wrong direction!? It could be a mistake!? Stepping away on your own path and listening to and speaking your own voice is a process. The work is not for sissies - I tell you! Not following the herd makes you vulnerable. You may disappoint others and/or it may lead to the disapproval of others. Oh my, I can tell you that for someone who is always seeking approval, not getting it, is simply not comfortable! It's a process that requires you to leave your comfort zone - often. It is okay though, I know now that "flying away" really means flying away from your comfort zone into unknown territory. I feel like in order for me to emerge into myself, it simply has to be done. I think the saying goes, feel the fear and do it anyway. 😬


Nowadays, as much as I can and as much as I remember to, I check in with myself. I first get quiet and then I ask myself the following: 1) Is this important to me? 2) What do I want? 3) What do I like? 4) How do I feel? 5) What is the purpose? 6) Does this align with my values? The stiller I get, the clearer the answers become. I use that to guide me into action. (Learning how to be still and listen is why meditation helps, but that is a topic for another blog.) Last year, right before our pandemic lockdown went into effect, I made this sign at a painting party with my friends.


I have this sign hung in my bathroom. It is a reminder for me to drop in (to myself) often. To emerge into my IAMness. I am learning how to be my own guru. In other words, my own expert, authority, and leading light. I will feel. I will listen. I will be guided by this. I will have the courage to speak and act from this. I will learn to trust myself.


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2 Comments


Mary Donegan
Mary Donegan
Mar 04, 2021

From the mouths of babes. It sounds as though you are in a good place in this journey of life.

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Unknown member
Mar 05, 2021
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Thank you for reading Mary. 🙏❤️

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