Day 76 | Accepting Growth

Day 76

When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into that which she had always been.

But she had wings.
— Dean Jackson

It was quite the weekend of yoga!

Thursday night brought a double whammy of two back to back hot vinyasa flow classes during our 5 hour session taught by the students. We are continuing to train our asses off to learn every last bit of knowledge about flow before we end in two weeks. 

Friday night was Ignite the Night at the Lifetime Target Center MPLS. Basically a big yogi rave party, where you feel like you may be tripping off of substances but are completely sober. There was hours of different yoga styles, prizes and events.

It was actually one of the most epic yoga experiences I have had. 300+ people came to the event both Lifetime members and non, decked out in reflective paint, neon clothes and glow sticks.

 There was a DJ, strobe lights, beach balls and a dance party half way through the session.

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It was a very proud moment for our YTT group as our very own teacher Cody was the one teaching the entire audience through this whole vibrant experience. 

Lets just say, its times like that which remind me it isn't necessary to drink to have a good time. Something which has been becoming more apparent to me as I reach the 3 month mark of not one drop of alcohol. The group was encouraged to give this up while undertaking this YTT program, to live in authentic yogi lifestyle. Something which I do not regret doing one bit since. 

Which brings me to my next topic, which isn’t the easiest to talk about…growing out of relationships, including friendships. 

When you start to reflect on the pursuits that bring you together or the priorities that have started to separate you. Seeing the side of individuals in their sober state verses their alcohol induced change of identity, even more apparent now because you have been the sober one at the party for months. It’s these small shifts, that add up to a larger picture. The repetitious snarky comment about your life changes or no comment about your progressions at all. All of which does not lift you up, but instead drags you down. 

I’ve discussed my own conclusions along with other friends about why this separation starts to occur.
One thought was that possibly this action of putting someone else down makes the individual feel better about where they are at in life. Or possibly they are stagnant in their own life, lacking that desire and passion which they’ve noted in you. But instead of putting more fuel on your fire to ignite your flames, they try to cover up your accomplishments to dim the light, so they can feel brighter about themselves. 

But is that what friends are meant to do? I am starting to believe no
It’s like a story my dad told me about his visit to Bali years ago. In front of a local, my dad and his friend were verbally picking on one another and this Indonesian man could not wrap his head around the concept of being cruel for fun, to someone you called “friend”. He could not for the life of him understand how making fun of a friend or tearing them down could be a positive action. 

 Now maybe this sounds extreme to you, as it did to me at the time my dad told me of this tale. I believed it was natural to take jabs at individual for fun. But as I grow older and reflect on this story, I begin to question how true it really is. Why do we have to bring one another down to have a good time? Is it really just to increase our own egos, even if so minutely subconscious that we don’t realize it? Is it okay for a friend to taunt me with a slab of meat when they know I have been trying so hard to be vegan? Or scold me publicly by yelling “Jen, stop preaching that yoga SHIT”, when out of good intention I was trying to educate someone…
 Its hard to swallow that such words or lack there of, can come from individuals whom call you a "friend”. How ever casually said, or how many unpremeditated actions made. I am starting to agree more and more with the mindset of the man from Bali...

Don’t flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

It is bitter sweet to say that this yoga group has been the one of the most positive and uplifting group of individuals I have had in my life in a long time, if ever. Its so refreshing when you can open your heart up, express your darkest insecurities but still feel accepted AND lifted up. Not once has anyone had the need to poke fun at me to feel “connected”, or bring me down to feel better about themselves. I believe from hearing one another’s weaknesses and insecurities we’ve began to realize in ALL of us, in every person, there are broken pieces. All we really want is to be accepted, to be encouraged, to be loved. We begin to dissolve the ego, knowing that just like them, we have our own insecurities but also a light which should be celebrated. So naturally in the group we have started to celebrate that light verses allowing our egos to get in the way of our actions towards one another.
Even we can become jealous of one anothers' abilities in the group but we take the high road and decide to morph the jealousy into an encouraging love for the other person. I catch myself being jealous of others all the time, but I have been starting to realize that holding onto this comparison does no good but only causes harm to yourself and others. How do you begin this shift of encouragement verses comparison in your own life? It's hard, but I believe it comes with practice and an authentic love for your friend. Sharing a real verbal compliment, or actively listening when they want to be heard instead of interrupting or half listening. When you dig deep and realize you really would rather see them fly then fall. Focusing on this concept separates the friends and acquaintances.
In the end of our lives, all we take with us is unseen. Invisible bonds made with other individuals on this earth. Love is the most powerful force on this earth and it is completely invisible, only made tangible, palpable, physical, when we make it a reality by the actions or words that we choose to take.
My teacher Cody stated before, “It may take awhile for people to adjust to the new you, to accept the changes which have been taking place. You are not the same person which you were when you started this program. Some people may eventually come around, others will never accept this change, continuing to view you as the same person you were a few months ago, or even the same individual you were all the way back in high school. It’s times like these when it is up to you, to decide who you want to keep in your life. To keep those individuals who see the change and accept you for who you are now, that encourage the expansion. Or let go of those who hang onto your past and stunt your growth.”.

It’s like they say in yoga, “all things change, nothing is permanent”, it’s the same with people, families and relationships. Everything changes, everyone changes. Its just a matter if you change together or grow apart. 

F.R.I.E.N.D.S…
Fight for you.
Respect you.
Include you.
Encourage you.
Need you.
Deserve you.
Stand by you.