I used to be an extraordinarily calm, peaceful person. I had faith in a higher plan and in my power to create what I want in my life. For years, I was a yoga teacher and part owner of a successful yoga studio. This past year or so has been really awful; one bad thing after another has happened. First I was in a car accident that injured my back and I had to stop teaching yoga. My partner then decided that I wasn’t doing my part and demanded that I either buy her out of the business or give my half of the business to her. Eventually, she just walked away from it, leaving me with all sorts of bills to pay and arrangements to make. I am still trying to keep the studio going, but I’m going more and more into debt and am constantly stressed and unhappy. What was once a source of joy has become a source of misery. I feel like my journey with my beloved yoga is over, and instead of growing spiritually, I’m regressing! Do you have any advice for me?
I want you to know that you’re not alone: This year has been a total butt-kicker for me and many of the people around me. In fact, just to see if this might be a global trend, I went to Google and typed in,
2013 has been, and the autofill function immediately filled in
a bad year and
a bad year for me. So there are a whole lot of people who are feeling the same way, my friend. (For the record, I have never in the past considered an entire year to be especially rough.)
When I tune in and ask why all of this is happening, I hear,
to force needed change. When we resist change, when we cling to that which needs to be released, when we deny whatever appears to be true, when we are determined to push our own plans and agendas forward instead of trusting and going with the flow, when we sit back when life asks us to step up, we set ourselves up to experience suffering.
I view spiritual journeys as being like spirals: we are constantly evolving and growing, and as we do this, we circle the same issues and challenges until we master them, at which point we move up the spiral to a higher level of lessons and experiences. This is a lot like moving from middle school to high school and from high school to university. Those big leaps tend to bring tons of huge changes and lots of new fears and challenges. We fear leaving behind the world we’ve gotten comfortable in, where we know everyone and feel like we’ve carved out a comfortable niche. We fear the unknown ahead and all those new people and experiences. We fear that we will fail and won’t be able to find our way. Whether we feel ready to move forward or not, of course, life doesn’t let us keep repeating the same grade over and over again.
There are all sorts of experiences that can set off anxiety. These new learning experiences show us what we’re really made of. It’s easy to be peaceful and faithful when everything is calm and light; it’s another to be serene when there are metaphorical bombs going off on our doorsteps. I know that I have been very surprised at myself this past year, especially at how stressed out I’ve been when I didn’t think that anything could rattle my faith in the benevolence of the universe and the wisdom of a higher plan.
Half the time, I am still metaphorically kicking and screaming that I want to go back to the way life used to be. More and more, however, I am getting a spiritual perspective on all of this, and realizing that this year has changed me in some very powerful and important ways. I know that I’ve gotten a lot stronger and more resilient: things that used to upset or worry me roll right off my back now. I’m getting better and better at living with constant uncertainty, and realizing more and more that the certainty I enjoyed in the past wasn’t so certain after all. I’m developing greater compassion and understanding for people who struggle with severe anxiety, and learning new ways to help them. I can also see that I’m digging deep in to some big self-love issues that have been lurking in the background all along. For me, these come in the form of wanting everyone to like me, approve of me, and accept me. I’ve been unfairly criticized a few times in recent months, and my intense emotional reaction to those experiences has shown me that my ego is far more invested in what others think of me than I formerly believed. I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you all of that. The point is that difficult life experiences force us all to grow and learn in all sorts of powerful ways, whether we want to grow or not!
You’re experiencing a crisis of faith. You’re being tested. You’re being asked to examine what you’re really made of, where you really are spiritually, and how well your spirituality supports you when times get tough. It may also be that you’re being asked to let go of what you were doing and move on to something new and different, and in clinging to the past, you just keep sinking lower and lower vibrationally. By fighting the current, you are making it so the Universe has to get more and more dramatic in its attempts to pry you loose so you can move on. We all do this, of course: even people who are extraordinarily intuitive get attached to certain plans, ideas and dreams, and resist letting them go when all signs point toward the need to move on. When we get too comfortable in our comfort zones, we all need some butt kicking to get us up and moving again.
Now that you know that you’re being asked to change and grow, it’s time to ponder how you can make this a gentler, easier process. I believe that the more conscious we become of why we are attracting certain experiences and especially why we are reacting to certain experiences as we do, the more empowered we grow to flow through whatever is happening in a relatively happy, easy way. Following are some things you might do in order to align with a more pleasant journey to positive change.
1) Ask what you’re learning through all of this.
If you’re caught up in why your partner left and how you can pay the rent and what you can do to save the business, you will get snared in what’s happening on the surface and miss the deeper current driving it all. Becoming conscious of what is really happening is more powerful than it may sound, for it allows you to work at the level of cause in order to create something better in your life. Once you learn the lessons involved, you will be free to move on to new experiences.
Some ways you can ask and get insights into what you’re supposed to be learning include:
Journaling: Ask yourself those really big questions, and then just let yourself write in an uncensored way. No matter how ugly or illogical your thoughts may seem, don’t argue with what comes up; let those thoughts and feelings flow onto the paper. You’re not writing for publication; you’re writing to uncover truths that normally get censored from your awareness. Some questions you might ask yourself include:
- What am I most afraid of in this situation?
- Why do I resist letting go?
- If I could be doing anything at all, what would that be?
- What is my inner guidance trying to tell me about all of this?
- What is my outer experience trying to tell me about all of this?
Meditation: We all tend to be so busy and caught up in outer circumstances that we never make time to stop, get quiet, and listen within. If you’re not meditating regularly, now would be a great time to start. In addition to helping you get conscious of whatever you’re supposed to be learning from your experiences, meditation is a fantastic tool for tapping into great new ideas and energetically aligning with what you want to create in your life. If you find yourself too keyed up to get past all the mental chatter, try Kajama’s Meditation: Go Deep and Stay There; it will guide you in going into a very deep trance state.
Seeking an Outside Perspective: Often, other people looking at our lives from the outside can see things with a lot more perspective than we can, especially if we’ve gotten mired in fear, desire and attachment. Ask the people who love you the most what you’re missing or need to do, and listen to them with an open heart. If you don’t have a wise friend you can ask for this sort of feedback, remember that you can also seek guidance from a professional counselor. (We have some great spiritual counselors right here at Kajama.)
2) Heal old trauma.
When there is more healing work to do, we all tend to get stuck in uncomfortable relationships, patterns and experiences. Often, a traumatic event in this lifetime will deeply
hook us because it has its roots in other, bigger traumas from other times. For example, I tend to over-react to people finding fault with me, and to want to try to make everyone happy and for everyone to like and approve of me. I know that there are lots of experiences in my past that this issue is rooted in, and that is why I may have such a strong reaction to experiences of this nature. It’s also why I keep attracting opportunities to heal old wounds and grow stronger in my own self-love.
When we go through hard times, it’s important to make sure that we have healed and released any emotional trauma they caused us, and it’s wise to examine them for deeper, broader issues that may need healing. There are a number of powerful healing modalities you might explore in order to heal and release all you’ve been through. The two that come to mind most strongly are EFT/tapping and hypnotherapy. You can also of course also pray for Spirit to guide you to peace and healing, and initiate new healing yourself through practices like Kajama’s Deep Healing Meditation.
3) Seek fresh guidance with an open mind and heart.
Often when we think that something in particular has to happen – this business must succeed, this relationship must continue, this path must work out – we actually block ourselves both from divine guidance AND from all the blessings that the Universe is trying to lead us to next. Make peace with the idea that whether your yoga studio is successful again or not, you can and will be okay. This will open you up to hearing Spirit’s guidance and to all sorts of greater possibilities.
Once you’re in that state of mind and heart, sincerely pray for guidance, and explore the ideas and messages that flow in. Ask for signs of what you’re to do, and embrace and follow up on them. It can be really wise and powerful to regularly dialogue with Spirit, asking for guidance on whatever you need to know or do at that time. Regularly journaling, meditating, asking for signs, and requesting guidance will bless you with a stronger and stronger connection to your own inner knowing, intuition, and other sources of guidance and inspiration.
4) Be good to yourself by filling your life with positive, uplifting, supportive influences.
When life gets stressful, we all tend to let go of those things we most love to do because we feel like we have to work, work, work to force everything to be okay. There’s an old Zen saying: You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour. I think the same basic wisdom applies to all the things that are really good for us; it’s when we’re feeling really bad that we most need to make time for them.
When life is kicking my butt, I know that no matter what, I have to keep making time to run. Running literally keeps me sane. It allows me to blow off tension and it keeps me from sinking into biological depression. When I find my mental outlook has grown gloomy, reading spiritual books and articles is often a golden key to a brighter, higher perspective. Reading about the law of attraction will remind you of your personal power to create what you want in your life and shift you into a higher vibration. A few pages every day can make a huge difference. Also, put what you learn to good use by experimenting, for the more amazing things you manifest, the deeper your faith will be in your own power to create what you desire. Reading about other spiritual subjects like near-death experiences and reincarnation will also reinforce the belief that everything happens for a good reason.
Surround yourself with positive people, experiences and energies. Create a soothing environment for yourself. If someone or something makes you anxious, distance yourself and focus on situations that feel good. Seek out uplifting people, positive films and TV shows, beautiful art, uplifting stories, etc. Make time for yoga, for hot baths, for dinners with friends, for whatever brings you joy and leaves you feeling really good. When you find yourself starting to feel down or anxious, you can shift your state in under seven minutes with Kajama’s Instant Good Mood.
If, after all of this, you discover that you just really, really want to be able to teach yoga again, then know that you have lots of options. You might choose to devote yourself to finding a way to heal yourself, and in addition to teaching yoga, perhaps become a healer who helps others find their own way to healing. You might choose to accept that you’re being led to go in a new direction with your yoga practice, one that is more metaphysical than physical. Perhaps you will end up teaching yoga to people who have physical limitations. (That feels like a really exciting idea to me.) Perhaps you will become a master at working with what life sends our way, and end up coaching and counseling other people who are walking through the fear, anxiety, stress and uncertainty you’ve been dealing with this year.
As I step back and look at all of this from a higher spiritual perspective, it’s clear to me that where you are now is not the end of your journey with yoga, and not a sign that you’re spiritually regressing. Indeed, where you are now feels like a bend in the road that is going to lead you into exciting new territory. If you trust in your journey and let go and go with the flow, I know you will find your way to new happiness, clarity and well-being.
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