In yoga class, we often talk about “messengers.” Aches and pains in the body that provide information and call to us – or even scream at us – to pay attention to alleviate the suffering or address a small issue before it becomes a bigger issue.
It’s also called “tuning in.”
But it extends beyond the physical realm, it also applies to the people in our lives who are messengers. We don’t learn and grow solely from healthy, mature, nurturing relationships, and the biggest opportunities for growth and change are in challenges and conflict.
This is what is most exciting about yoga – you can heal the body through the mind, you can heal the mind through the body, you can heal the body through emotions, and you can heal emotions through the mind. And all of it in reverse or vice versa or whatever… you get it. It’s all connected.
And it’s a practice that you can work on and get better at over time.
When you have a niggling ache or pain in the body, don’t take pills or a shot or numb it, lock up and turn away. Ease into it and try to unravel it, figure out the source and solve it for good. Then move on.
With people, it can be more complicated.
Messengers are not intentionally trying to be helpful to us, rather they are usually attacking us or tearing us down in some way because that is their path and often has very little to do with the person they are undermining.
But they offer a valuable message. The reaction we have is filled with treasures. If we are annoyed, irritated and have a flight or fight response, we miss out on the opportunity.
Sitting with the feeling and recognizing what is really happening, these are the treasures. Recognizing that the attack may have nothing at all to do with us, and instead feeling compassion because the person is suffering. Then having compassion for ourselves by staying strong, voicing true feelings and beliefs, and understanding the dynamic is the gift we give ourselves.
Unwrapping our reaction to better understand what is inside, why we are triggered in certain ways and why someone else’s opinion may have a negative impact is the practice.
As I tell my students, negative people and bullies don’t come after you because of who you are – they go after you because of who they are. There is only one person who gets to decide who you are – YOU!
Once you know who you are, their efforts to make you feel horrible are stripped away and with practice, their efforts are futile.
I love my family and friends, but I also love the people who have kicked sand in my face and left me lying in a gutter because these people gave me messages that changed my life. These messengers led me to magnificent lessons and gifts that I now treasure.
OM Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.