Do I dare open into the belly of my own desire?

RYT-200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. Erica started practicing yoga daily to bring herself flexibility, strength and balance. She enjoys doing yoga on the mat in the room, in nature and at the sea side. Erica brings yoga from the mat to everyday life and it helps her to be balanced, non judgmental and to learn new things. She likes learning and challenges, and encourages students to challenge themselves, learn new asanas, practice and enjoy every minute of yoga.
Holding on... holding on

Holding on… holding on

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat

I’m sitting in the Picton Ferry Terminal, about to head over to Wellington for my second book launch event.

The first was at the International Yoga Conference and Festival at Kawai Purapura last weekend.

It was both a blissful and challenging experience, and – as always – a learning experience.

The bliss came in teaching a class to 40+ eager yogis and feeling the flow alongside them. It was such a joy to share my teaching and my yoga.

It was also blissful to launch Forty Days of Yoga.

Some 20 people or so came along to the lunchtime book reading, listening and asking questions about home practice. I sold my first books face to face and realised that yes, people do want me to sign the books for them.

Both of those events put me on a high for the rest of the day.

But it only lasted a day.

By Saturday, manning the stall with my friend and colleague Melissa Billington while attempting to keep my three year old entertained, was grinding me down.

It was wet and foot traffic was sparse. We hadn’t sold any product.

However, I’m wise enough now to know that sales are not the only indicator of success. During my time on the stall I had some beautiful conversations and got to meet many people who read The Yoga Lunchbox. Nothing beats connecting in person!

Person after person told me the same thing.

I love your honesty.

I love how you keep it real.

I love how you don’t pretend to have it all together.

The was the message, and I heard it loud and clear.

By Sunday, the single parent challenges of being at the conference had worn me down.

I was shattered and emotional, so turned to my writing to get it all out. The resulting article felt raw – I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it with my audience. I was afraid.

But I remembered all those people I’d talked to over the course of the conference and what they’d said. That’s what they value – the honesty.

Honesty is so rare in our society now that when someone who shows up as they it stands out and inspires others to have the courage to show up as they are.

So I published the article.

Later, a comment arrived that made me cringe. “May your longing…”

My longing! I hate that. I don’t want to long for anything or anyone thank you very much. I don’t need anyone. I’m fine all by myself.

Oh… watching that train of thought and feeling the contraction in my body flicked a light-switch on.

This was an old pattern, from childhood. This was the seed of my bolshy, independent feminist self who declared boldly that she’d never get married and she didn’t need any man.

This was the Me I thought was Authentic Self up until about age 35. Then I realised she was all an act – an act so well delivered even I believed her.

As with all projected Selves, this one often ended up creating the exact opposite manifestation in my life. I’d get into relationship and turn into this weak, needy, insecure woman I didn’t recognise and despised. Who was this woman I wondered? What happened tony strong independent Self?

It’s only now I see that these two woman are one and the same. The qualities I denied in myself and pushed away, morphed into Miss Insecure. The qualities I projected and valued made me Ms Independent.

The woman I am now knows enough to integrate all aspects into Self.

I can be capable of taking care of myself and still need support and love from other people. I can be happy being by myself and still fervently long for a relationship of the highest order. This is the nature of life. Day can not exist without the night. We can not feel warm without knowing cold. We always contain both aspects within us.

Anytime that we demonise or reject a part of ourselves, it will come out in our lives in other destructive ways.

Yoga helps me integrate these rejected aspects of self.

My practice of yoga means when I read that comment from a reader on my article I was able to notice my reaction to it and inquire into that reaction in order to learn something about myself.

It’s the same as going into Warrior I and using our awareness to notice that it’s difficult to square our hips and so learning that we need to open our hips.

I learned that I need to open into longing. I need to feel ok with having desires.

I need to learn that longing for a thing does not make me incomplete. That I can hold lightly to my longing. That I can own my longing and not be consumed by it.

And as I discovered on reading this article called Getting off the Crazy Train of Romantic Relationships, this longing is immerative. It’s the marker of a mature relationship.

It’s important to learn the difference between needs-based love and desire-based love. Needful love is really just a strong attachment to someone, where your happiness or unhappiness is tied to the relationship. The primary motivation is to get your childhood needs met. This kind of love is immature, unconscious and will leave you feeling empty.

Desire-based love is a strong bond, where each person is responsible for his or her own happiness. The relationship is a vehicle for personal growth and true intimacy. The primary motivation is to learn to be a better lover and human being. This kind of love is mature and conscious and will provide a feeling of fulfilment.

I get it now. I’ve observed before that my relationships appeared to be needs-based, and when my own transformation meant the underlying need that created the bond was no longer there, the relationship melted away.

Now I understand why that was.

And now I know the way forward.

I’m fascinated by all of this, and look forward to sharing more of my learnings and understanding of relationship and yoga over the next few months.

I’m also curious – what’s your experience of relationship like? Needs-based or desire-based?

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