First published on http://blog.sivanaspirit.com on 23/09/2016
It’s scary when you realise you would have been dead at 45.
An even worse realisation is that it is as a result of the things you’ve done to yourself and the way you have lived your life.
I lived my life teetering on the edge. My battle wasn’t with a commonly recognised foe like drugs or alcohol. My conflict was with not being good enough, and underpinning this was a lost sense of self and an addiction to perfection.
My perfectionism drove me to a place of exhaustion and overwhelm, where I was running on empty fumes. I existed on two or three hours of sleep for over a decade. I gave everything I had to everyone around me until I had nothing left to give – and then I gave more.
I lived with the creed of ‘you have to keep going – you have to push through’. In my most honest moments a little voice inside would acknowledge that I was terribly unhappy and desperately unwell … but the moments were fleeting and then that voice was pushed deep down inside where it could no longer be heard.
I was on a one-way express train to a traumatic event in my life. There were loads of warning signs, but I was too busy being ‘strong’ and ‘resilient’ to take any notice.
To everyone around me, I appeared to have it all. How do you explain what it feels like to go from being a high-powered, award-winning executive to on the floor, in a million pieces and unable to stop crying? The truth is, no one else can understand what you’re going through – because you don’t know what has happened yourself.
What I can tell you is that the little things in life suddenly matter a great deal – simply because they’re the only things you can actually identify with. I suddenly had no one relying on me, nowhere to be, no responsibilities – and all the time in the world to re-connect with the beauty around me, with sitting still, with the simplicity of your life. All the time in the world to realise that I had no idea where to start … no idea how to connect … no idea where to turn.
I was like a child, learning about life and looking at everything around me as new and unfamiliar.
Yoga played a massive role in my re-emergence to a ‘normal’ life.
I learned to love the space that my yoga mat gave me – wherever it might be, with whomever might be around me.
I learned to bring my focus to the confines of my yoga mat and to allow myself to surrender to the practice that was right for me – right there, right then.
I learned to block out the ‘noise’ of the people around me – to allow them to have their practice, their way, in the same space.
I learned the importance of honouring where you are at – right here and right now – and the understanding that I have everything I need to be okay.
I learned to form my own thoughts and to accept the wisdom from every teacher that was willing to share their understanding of an ancient art form.
Most of all – I learned to apply this wisdom to every single day.
The peace and the solitude that a yoga mat brings is perhaps the greatest asset I can take into every day. The ability to step back and view a situation from multiple angles – to reconnect with myself and make a decision that is aligned with who I am.
The process of yoga can so clearly reflect the process of daily life – if only I am mindful to let it.
In yoga I often start out a bit stiff, and sometimes sore. Then I slowly work into the depth of a pose – allowing my muscles to surrender in line with where my body is at. As my muscles warm up I can allow my mind to relax and then my body can explore its own boundaries.
Taking this mindset into my day allows me to step back from the noise and the demands around me and allow a conversation with myself that enables me to move from the ‘stiffness’ of an immediate reaction to the ‘surrender’ that allows me to be in flow.
I love my yoga mat –its simplicity saved my life.
I am now reborn and live my own life in a totally different way. Plus, I can now dedicate every day to showing people that there’s a very different way to live.
Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.
Want to chat? Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!
Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert and global thought leader and is the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook; Instagram or LinkedIn.