I’ve been feisty since birth. Fluent in the language of sarcasm and only moderately skilled in speaking English, Italian and even Sanskrit, I’ve spent decades communicating my strength, passion and intelligence through my body language, facial expressions, gaze and most importantly, my humor. The human beings and yogis I resonate with the most are those who endear themselves to others through the use of laughter. What began as a defense mechanism and method of exerting presence and power has now become my connective thread to others.
What has and continues to be a valuable life lesson is turning my incessant inquisition, recovering cynicism and need for levity into something positive, rather than a means to separate, infiltrate or dominate a situation or person. I used to lead with my sarcastic foot, quickly alienating many and showcasing only one, sharpened side of my being. I felt if I led with strength, I sealed myself off from potential insincerity, protected myself from potential harm. I had this insecure need to put people in their place, and regardless if I felt my cause was just, that I was championing a good cause, I was still communicating with my fellow man with an unnecessary edginess that spoke more of my nature than theirs.
Sense of humor is of utmost importance in navigating life’s sometimes challenging waters. How was I to showcase my yogic inspired softer soul while keeping my beloved sass? I learned through the grace and beauty of others the importance of tact. How and why I communicate are even more important than what, where and to whom. My hope is when I acknowledge the flaws and the journey in myself, my mistakes and fallibility will encourage others. Sass can be used like spice on a dish, in appropriate, digestible doses. I pepper it in for flair, for fun, less emphasis on righteousness and more focus on positive passion, on the courage it takes to be our unique selves.
As yoga began to soften me, as it showed me who I could be, I felt myself losing grip of who I was. Eckhart Tolle speaks to the opportunity for breakthrough when you realize you don’t know who you are anymore. When we don’t know who we are, we know who we’re not. We’re not our past, our previously adorned labels, the expectations of others or the criticisms we’ve been kind enough to bestow upon ourselves year after year. We are living, breathing, laughing, loving forms of life, walking Earth together. Anything else is up to us! We can express our own personal truths how we choose and just because I labeled myself as cynical, guarded, or headstrong up until this point doesn’t mean that descriptor has to have a stronghold over me now.
The key to genuine change and transformation comes from the simplicity of awareness. I became aware of my old patterns, my on-going internal shift, and the lightness I felt as I forgave myself and others. I surrendered the past to the past and relinquished any control over the future, and that was too freeing to turn back on. I can only truly affect here and now, my experience and perception of this moment and I choose the energy I bring to any given situation and to the people I share it with.
Communication should be used to inform, engage, enlighten, encourage, entertain and/or love. No matter how frustrated we are by circumstances or people, ears and hearts are most receptive when the message is carried out effectively, positively. I know this from many wasted words and misplaced energy. I’m learning and feel I know better now. Sass is for humor, for fun, it shouldn’t be weaponized. Strength runs far deeper than the eye can detect and needn’t be projected to be felt. Real strength flows out of a sincere love of self, a respect of others, and an impenetrable trust in our ability to carry ourselves through life.
I still get a little feisty when I’m hungry, overwhelmed or frustrated. All of these energetic states build and burn through my gut, no one else’s. So when I feel those flames building within, I have to be disciplined in reminding myself of my own cooling mechanisms, the softer soul with the ability to soothe and restore me to balance. I laugh at my own shortcomings now instead of hiding behind them or hiding them within me. They are apart of the human experience and as long as I can stay alert in how my energy is affecting others, I can use these tools in my personal arsenal to stay on a positive track, to keep communicating effectively and to remain in a state of progress.
Accept and acknowledge all that you’ve been, all that led you here. Decipher which qualities better your experience and connect you deeper with others and let all else fade away. Embrace your uniqueness and give that same permission to others. Let your days will filled with creativity, laughter and love. And some delicious food, too.
Photo by Derek James Robinson