Finding Balance on the Quest for Self-Love

If you've been following me here or on Instagram for a while, you know I declared this summer the Summer of {SELF} Love. What I love about my personal yoga and breathwork healing practice is that it connects me back to love. BIG LOVE. Through doing the work, whether that is yoga movement (Asana), meditation, or emotional breathwork healing (all of which is yoga) we find ways to move stuck energy and connect back with our true selves. The portals that open lead to love. This will further lead you to taking better care of yourself. Perhaps by continuing to practice. This will lead to more forgiveness and more patience for others but especially for yourself. That will lead to standing up for yourself, being able to see what is right for you and what isn't, and being able to let go of all that no longer serves you. Self-love is more than just pampering, it is being able to cut through the crap so you can let yourself shine. That takes work. That takes showing up. That takes being able to let go enough so that you can get to the core of what is holding you back.

The universe needs you to find that love deep within yourself so that then you can share it with others. When others witness the love and respect you have for yourself they will find ways to attain it too. In turn they will know that it is okay to shine. This creates a ripple effect.

No make-up. No filter. No editing. Just the New Mexico glow helping me out here! yikes!

No make-up. No filter. No editing. Just the New Mexico glow helping me out here! yikes!

But why is it so hard? Well, we are undoing mounds of conditioning from childhood on. We have been trained to be self-less and that anything to do with ourselves is self-ish. Yes, we need to give, we need to volunteer and not think about ourselves in the process but over time that got skewed and the collective thought erased our inner selves. Feelings of self-love were replaced with negative self-talk. "I don't give enough" "I don't work hard enough" "I'm not enough" Over time and with repetition we believed it. We have also developed negative habits and patterns to get through life. These methods may have helped us when we were a child but at some point they hinder us. Finding out what they are is often the difficulty. Letting them go is even harder.

Part of my own Summer of {SELF} Love mission was to quiet those negative and critical thoughts that bombard me when I see a photo of myself. You know the ones! I was always so grateful for the digital age of photos so I could delete a photo faster than you can say cheese. Erasing those thoughts is harder than hitting delete. It is a work in progress- but hey, I finally shared the un-edited photo above that I took almost 2 and half months ago! Through my practice and falling out of my practice this summer I discovered that the issue was more than just skin-deep.

Let me explain:

My old habit is working too much. I like to work and have recently created a life where my work is all of the things I enjoy! I work for myself and essentially by myself so if something doesn't get done, I only have myself to blame. I have 3 Etsy shops, I teach sewing/knitting and I do this work here. I'm busy but I love it. I enjoy what I do. What I didn't realize is that my old habit that I thought I squashed a year ago crept back. During the month of July I worked a solid 3 weeks in a row without a day off. I then became sick. Worked through being tired and sick thereby letting the illness last longer then it should have. Any other New Yorkers/ work-a-holics reading this? Can you relate? 

In the process, I had to cancel any of the fun things I had planned. In the process I had to skip my yoga classes as a student because I was too physically weak. In the process I also realized that being the worker bee allowed me to stay "behind the scenes". Essentially, hesitating on sharing a photo of me without sunglasses on had less to do with the criticalness of my outsides (although that is certainly part of it) but more about being afraid to be seen. Over the years hiding became easy. Hiding became comfortable. Let someone else be in the spot light, I'll cheer them on! I was afraid to shine. Let me stay "behind the scenes" with my head down and keep working. All because doing that got me through a lot of grief in my young adult years. It kept me safe. It kept me out of trouble then but I don't need it now. Now I'm ready to have fun and I'm ready to shine. I'm also still a work in progress and these habits can return at anytime and I'm still trying to let this last grip go. But I now know what to look for and the key is to love yourself enough not to lose your balance. The key is to find balance between effort and ease. A topic I speak a lot about in my Morning Glow class. There I may apply it to a weight bearing pose. Here I can apply it to life. It's all the same. We're feeling tension, we breathe, and we let it go. Through breathwork, we can figure out the why, fill our hearts with love, and lessen that grip. 

This took a lot of soul searching. I have my yoga, meditation, and breathwork practice to thank for helping me with that. I have myself to thank and to love for showing up. 

x, Karen