Over this past 16 months, I have evolved and shifted within my own skin so much that I look back at my 16 month-younger self, and I realize how naive, unconditioned and trusting I was. A huge part of this change was distinguishing bad from good. Or rather, choosing whether I perceive situations or experiences as “bad” or “good”.
Sixteen months ago I was diagnosed with CANcer. Surficially, this is incredibly scary, ugly and overall negative. Which is of course how I initially felt. However, I am so lucky to have had the ability to realize that I could CHOOSE how I was to experience this life-altering dis-ease.
Yoga teaches us how to distinguish between bad pain and good pain, and also that we often must experience the “bad” in order to experience the “good”. Sometimes we must endure a time of bad pain in order to be rewarded with the blissful good pain that will follow. This is not to say that we must overextend ourselves in our yoga practice or in life to the extent of injury, but that if we are able to endure difficult, fearful or emotional phases in our practice or life journey, only then will we able to reach new dimensions and conquer colossal mountains.
I believe that this is what some people refer to as “enlightenment”. Witnessing yourself reach new levels physically, mentally or spiritually that bring you to be overcome with joy, emotion and drive to delve even deeper; seeking new layers to uncover and discovering dimensions of yourself you had never before known.
So, perhaps enlightenment begins with our ability to choose how we perceive our experiences in the world around us, and in the energies and higher forces that cannot be seen. Just because you cannot see something does it mean it is not there? Well, that is up to YOU to decide. How do you perceive “coincidences” or “deja vu”? I believe that these are just words that society has attached to feelings and emotions that cannot otherwise be described. Although there is a bit of a revolution slowly rippling throughout our culture, the majority of the Western World does not understand these feelings, so labels them as something to be joked about rather than feeling the feels and exploring them further.
Was it a coincidence that hours after I woke up one morning, not finally deciding but being blown away by the overwhelming assurance I had inside of me that I was destined to complete my Yoga Teacher Training course, I saw an advertisement for a course passively scrolling across my computer screen? And is it not interesting that completing my teacher training only seems relevant in my life after experiencing CANcer, which lead me to found May Cause Radiance and offer free restorative yoga classes to Young Adults affected by this dis-ease?
This may be a coincidence, but I believe that is the Universe confirming that I am on the right path – but hey, that is only how I choose to perceive it. For my journey, CANcer was a prerequisite to my enlightening moment of realizing my destiny of becoming a Yoga Teacher. I had to endure my lowest low, my biggest fears and my “bad” pain in order to be rewarded with greater clarity and purpose.
So, although yoga teaches us how to recognize bad pain in terms of joints, muscles and our bodies ability, I believe this can be extrapolated into every dimension and aspect of one’s life journey. Recognizing the “bad” pain, consciously choosing how you wish to perceive it and enduring pain and discomfort if necessary in order to reach highs that allow you to experience your journey in a completely different, multi-dimensional and purposeful way.