"Prayer is asking, meditating is listening." - Gabby Bernstein, The Universe Has Your Back.
I got onto my yoga mat to practice for the first time in years last night. I have changed, my life has changed, I've even changed careers and sizes a few times. But yoga, well yoga hasn't changed.
I shed some quiet tears for the first five minutes of the practice realizing all that has taken place on and off that mat over a decade. I started my yoga practice when Lila was seven months old, just about ten years ago now. I've healed through postpartum depression, and had significant growth as a woman in all my many roles, most especially as an individual.
The tears weren't tears of sadness but acknowledgment and gratitude for the power of prayer, meditation, gratitude, reflection, growth, stillness.....and yoga.
I wasn't raised in a church so when it was time to find a church home when we were pregnant for Julia 17 years ago, I didn't have many rules to follow except I knew that I wasn't a part of a specific religion. A friend recommended, "you'll know when a joy springs up in your feet." I thought this was strange, but it sounded interesting so I tucked the idea away in the back of my mind.
We lived at the "X" in Forest Park at the time, so we checked out Trinity and I felt that joy my friend talked about. Fast forward many years and I became pretty aware of "church rules." Not necessarily Trinity rules but just churchy-rules. Do you know what I mean? Unspoken rules about how to be, dress, act, participate, give. I'm not knocking the rules but in reflection I can see that I embraced them as a newbie to the "church world." I wanted myself and my family to have a church home, but navigating the expectations of others was tricky. I became one of those judgy church types... "My faith is better than yours" mentality. Now, don't to get me wrong -- I never said these words, but looking back, I was struggling with a lot -- finding my way as a wife, a mom and a professional, so as my insecurities about everything abounded, this was one place that I can see it happened, too.
I had become the judgmental Christian that I had previously been irritated with. Again, maybe due to age, stage of life or limited previous exposure to organized church (or all that plus more). Whatever it was, I didn't like it. What I did like was the peace I found in my own growing relationship with God and how that peace could positively impact our growing family.
So as my path went, over the last 17 years I have continued to seek what has helped me feel connected to peace, source, God, the universe. The judgy church lady who used to reside in my insecurities is long gone. I have learned to embrace what I believe is true fellowship. (You can read my thoughts about that here.) I still consider Trinity my "church home", but I pray and meditate where and when it moves me, which is often multiple times per day, not just when I attend church.
I embrace that there are no rules, everyone practices gratitude and faith in the way that works for their lives. There should be no judgment of how or when. A spiritual practice is never about right vs. wrong or judgment of any kind. << in other words, my practice isn't "better than yours" or vice versa. >>
A spiritual practice is what returns you to your natural state - love. Looking at all things through the eyes of love and leaving all judgment of yourself and others behind. Sometimes this is tough which is why it is called "a practice".
My first book, Becoming a Unconsumed, was a devotional filled with prayers -- the asking. My second book, currently being written, is a book filled with moments of meditation -- the listening.
Wishing you loads of peace and love today.
Wondering how else you can find me or work with me?