Dear Yogi: I Love You, Now Change

Nicole Markardt
Dear Yogi: I Love You, Now Change

In my early 20s, I took a few yoga classes. I felt a bit foolish doing poses like Happy Baby and snorted back laughter through Lion’s Breath. The OM-ing, the language the instructor used…

I found it amusing at best. I enjoyed part of the class but only returned a few times.

Too Full of Fear

I was still recovering from trauma in my late teens and looking back on the girl that I was then, she was too filled with self-doubt (and deeply insecure) to understand the freedom and terrifying joy of stepping out of her comfort zone.

I was too full of fear to risk feeling silly. I was too full of fear to risk anything. I protected myself at all costs from feeling fear. If fear took hold, even my physical immune system would begin to respond; breaking down so that I had no choice but to stay in bed where it was safe. I lived so heavily in my body that I would often lose my voice if I spoke an uncomfortable truth.

I tried desperately to say the right thing. Preoccupation with being liked was inescapable. I did not nurture my emotions or my creativity, as I was safe if I played small.

Finding Better Living Conditions

Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions. ~Hafiz

As I entered my 30s, something began to shift. I began to nurture my divine feminine, take more risks, and redefine those labels that I had placed on myself. I became more mindful of making grand declarations about who I am, what I like and dislike, and began to welcome changing my mind. Other people’s ideas which were different from my own became more interesting and I found myself labeling others less and less.

I loved myself enough to let go of the stories that had held me back. I let go enough to turn the page.

Loving All of It

My 20s found me avoiding the deep corners of myself where my shadows lurked. I wanted to feel loved, but was too overcome by self-doubt to really love my entire being. I only loved half of me. Facing my own shadows was too painful.

My priority was in picking up the scattered pieces of myself. I could not focus on what I found there. Peeling back the layers of darkness was not possible for me then. Piecing the brokenness together was enough. 

It had to be enough — a mosaic of light, shadows of gray, and the prisms of color in between, both beautiful and repulsive. How could I fully love myself if I only loved the beautiful parts?

It has taken me a very long time to bow to the darkness of my being. I still turn my back to her mirror at times. 

I have found, however, that only in letting go of stale perspectives was I capable of real change. I needed to face the ugliness, put my arms around her, and offer her love as well. I was turning my back on the very parts of myself that need more love, not less.

Keeping Our Thoughts Fluid

We often commit to our thoughts. I know I do. Our thoughts help to create our reality. This is a concept that I did not fully embrace until I grew older.

I’m not a yoga person. I’m a mother and mothers have to live a certain way. I’m too responsible to ever... I could never do...

These were thoughts that I had committed to, thoughts that held me back. They kept me stuck in a fixed identity which did not allow for creativity, life experience, and passionate existence.

Keeping our thoughts fluid is empowering — inviting possibility and expansion. Changing my mind is always an option for me, now. There was a time in my life when I did not entertain the idea that I could change my mind. 

Our minds are where our lives happen. Our minds create possibility. Everything we enjoy about our lives in this moment began with our thoughts. Fluid thoughts allow for endless possibility, whereas fixed thoughts leave no room for new experience.

Embracing Change

As I approach my 40th year, I stand in the welcome realization that my mind has changed. My body has and will continue to change. My heart has changed. I let them change. I’ve allowed for transformation by letting go of who I thought myself to be.

Move. You are not a tree. ~Nicole Markardt

Definitions change. Our hearts will crave new vehicles to travel through our experience of love — this too will change. Over and over again. Fear clung so tightly to my body and mind that it paralyzed me in the land of predictability and comfort.

If we are lucky, we will live through many decades of experience and we will change. That can be an incredibly comforting reality. Everything changes. 

The cycles of nature remind us of that. In the cold, barren darkness of winter we can always count on the fruitfulness of spring. And if we find ourselves stuck, lost, and full of emptiness — we can change our mind. Let go of who you think you are.