“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside of you.” ~Rumi
I moved back and forth across the world three times throughout my childhood. It was difficult as a young child to adjust and find friends when everybody already had their lives so settled. I was a social child (its the Gemini in me) so I did make acquaintances. But I never felt like I truly fit in. From a very young age I felt like an outsider, there was always a part of me that felt like I didn’t belong.
When I was in seventh grade, I tried out for cheer-leading. I was so desperate to feel like I was a part of something. I was in a place where I was consumed by turmoil. Loss had come into my life and ripped every single thing that once made sense apart, and I had no idea where to turn. I ached for friendship, for people that I had something in common with, that understood me. I practiced my routine for hours, days, weeks. Only to be heartbroken when the coach listed off all of the new cheerleaders names one by one, and I fought back tears when mine never was called.
This emptiness was rooted from a very early age, which followed me through my teenage years and eventually turned into years of destruction and self-sabotage. It broke me to my very core and I caused myself so much suffering that it almost took my life completely.
When I walked into my first yoga class I had no idea what I was getting myself into, in fact I didn’t really care, all I knew is that I wanted to feel better. Yoga granted me what I longed for all of those years. It filled that hole inside of me, that deep space of darkness that plagued my youth and followed me all the way into my early twenties-
…yoga gave me a sense of belonging.
Let me explain.
Yoga essentially means union. This union, this sense of togetherness, this sense of oneness is what filled that void within me that I carried for so many years. To be truthful, I didn’t quite understand it at first. When I first started practicing, it was basically an escape from what I had created within myself. It was a way for me to flee the miserable life I was leading. I wanted to lose weight, I wanted to be better, I wanted to stop drowning myself in alcohol and ultimately, I wanted to change who I was completely. I felt a connection that I had never experienced before but I had no idea what it was or what it meant.
What I eventually discovered was that yoga didn’t change me. It didn’t turn me into a different person who was better, prettier, and more put together. Instead, it gifted me the tools to accept the person I already was. Yoga transformed my perspective, and ultimately, yoga transformed me.
I started to experience what it felt like to be within my own body, I started to notice every nook, every cranny, every opening, every breath- and I cherished them. I began to become aware of each and every movement that the poses took me through and the concept that even though my body had individual organs, limbs, and cells it was all created equal. I started to experience my body as a whole and I suddenly was connected with something I had never been aware of previously… my pure conscious awareness.
This awareness is a part of a vast and expansive consciousness that sweeps our entire universe. I started to recognize this awareness within each and every person I interacted with, within each and every being that crossed my path. I started to see the life and love in everyone, and everything, even on their worst days and I started to see the suffering and hurt in everyone, and everything even on their best.
I began to recognize that we are all a part of something so much bigger than we could ever imagine. I started to realize that everything is connected; from the roots to the trees to the blood vessels within the human heart. I discovered that the connection I uncovered within myself, is my own spark of divinity, my own expression of totality that is surrounding us in every moment of every day. Something I could never touch, see or taste but something I completely understood.
I started to see that I had been a part of something all along, and that this entire time-
…everything I was searching for was inside of me.