Five Ways to Live into the Fullness of Your Being

I travel all over the world teaching yoga and am continually heartbroken to find that 99 percent of the people I encounter have a persistent, nagging sense of “not enough.” Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not wealthy enough, not fit enough, not wise enough, not patient enough, not talented enough, not spiritual enough, not worthy enough, simply not good enough. Could this be the root of so much of our stress and dis-ease? As a yoga therapist, I have found that changing this deeply seated and incorrect assumption is paramount in the healing process.

The truth is, everyone has gifts. Everyone is talented. Everyone is essential to life. Each and every one of us is something so much more than simply enough. Yet this persistent belief in our inherent lack endures because in so many ways we have forgotten.

So we turn to yoga as a practice of wholeness and remembrance. Yet if we are not mindful on this journey, soon even our yoga practice will fuel our sense of lack. We may feel like we need to do bigger poses, more breath practices, and deeper meditations; read more books; go to more workshops, gain more knowledge; drink more tea; wear more malas … the list goes on and on. But all we need to do is remember, and realize that all that we seek is right here in the palms of our hands, in the beat of our hearts, and the flow of our breath. The worthiness we seek is in the human that we already are, in this being that has always existed. No need to get, to do, or to be one more thing. Here are five ways to remember your innate wholeness and true nature.

Get outside and observe the innate perfection of the natural world.

There is perhaps nothing that can change our perspective more quickly than getting outside into nature. Go out in the day and sense the sun on your skin, the wind in the air, the clouds in the sky. Observe the way the plants and trees reach up from the earth, each twisting, winding, budding, blossoming, deteriorating, and decomposing in their unique journey along the continuum of living and dying. Go out at night and bathe under a sea of stars. Go to the top of a mountain, the middle of a field, or just to where the pavement meets the grass. Notice the innate and essential interplay of the elements; how the existence of everything in nature is codependent on and affected by the existence of everything else.

Then remember that you are not separate from this dynamic and wild tapestry of life. You too are sewing an essential thread that only you can sew. You too are supported by the rhythms of life. You too are twisting, winding, budding, blossoming, and deteriorating in your own unique way as you weave your way along the continuum of living and dying.

Turn to the wisdom within.

So often, we look out to our families, friends, loved ones, teachers, and even adversaries to get a sense of our worth. We look out to astrology, oracles, articles, and even quizzes on the Internet to tell us who we are. We look out to the societal standard for an acceptable outline and timetable for the arc and direction of our lives. But if you dare to crawl magnificently deep inside, you will find an innate wisdom that is governed like a compass to steer you well and guide you perfectly along your own soul’s journey.

Here is a short practice you can do at any time to drop into the wisdom within.

  • Stop where you are.
  • Interlace your fingers and lay your palms flat on your chest in the gesture of trust.
  • Take a few deep breaths right into the palms of your hands.
  • Once your awareness has dropped inward into the space of the heart, ask yourself anything. Perhaps, Who am I? What is this quality of my existence? What is it that I live for? What is the next step on my journey? Would it serve my soul’s journey to choose this, or that? Remember the questions are yours and the answers are there.

Create space to name your gifts.

Many of us are adept at naming and describing, in detail, our long list of faults. Instead, take some time to tune into your gifts. Do this practice in a place that is peaceful for you, where you can allow a sense of spaciousness and presence to grow. It can be in your house, outside, or somewhere else that inspires you.

Once you are there, allow your whole being to arrive, perhaps by taking some deep breaths to soak it all in. Or you could sit down, close your eyes, and touch the earth. Maybe singing would inspire a state of presence. Movement practice of any kind can be a great way to settle in.

Once you feel a sense of spaciousness, presence, and connection, grab a pen and a piece of paper and list your gifts. List those innate gifts that you seem to have been born with, and those gifts that you’ve picked up along your particular path in life. Name them, own them, honor them, and embrace them. Then go back out into your everyday life and dedicate yourself to generously giving them away.

Embrace imperfection, and know that you will be judged.

In the impossible effort to fulfill everyone’s needs, make ourselves look good, and avoid being judged, we strive for perfection. But we will all be judged, we will all face tremendous challenges, we will all make mistakes, and we will all fail. It’s an inevitable part of being human in this life. And if we live our lives trying to avoid these imminent experiences, ultimately we will find ourselves anxious, depressed, and living small.

We must be willing to know ourselves and to be ourselves with all those we meet. We must own our gifts and cultivate the courage necessary to go out and give those gifts away, no matter how imperfectly given or received. We must be willing to show up for the hard conversations. To fall flat on our face and cry out in surrender with tears of disappointment and grace. To get back up with a fuller understanding of what it means to be human. To try to be kind when every fiber in our being just wants to be right. To forgive ourselves when we lash out. To allow our friends to see us with ruffled hair, unpainted skin, holey shirts, messy houses, ice cream mustaches, empty bank accounts, empty hearts, and the unspeakable truths that speckle the paths of our lives. We must be willing to let it all fall apart, this crazy façade of perfection, so that we can be real together, raw and wild, in our truth, imperfectly divine.

Explore the mystery of the bigness of life.

Remember, not only are you an essential, magnificent thread in the tapestry of life, you are just one thread. The greater weaving is vast, and much more mysterious than you could possibly imagine. Allow yourself to be awed by the sunrise, stunned by the stars, captivated by the silence, taken by the wind, melted by the touch of a child’s hand, honored by the words of the elders, firmly planted and growing in the earth of your garden, inspired by the colorful frog that jumps 50 times its own length, humiliated by the intricate pattern of a pine cone, persuaded by the persistence of a flower that pushes stubbornly up through stone, humbled by the grace of a seashell, rocked by all of the waves and expressions of life.

This article is excerpted from Meg’s article on Gaia.com.

Meg McCraken, cofounder of Alaya Yoga School, has been teaching yoga for more than 18 years and has been a yoga therapist for more than a decade.

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