I love being a woman.
Don’t get me wrong. I could do without the punch-in-the-gut cramps that accompany my monthly "ladies holiday," or listening to full-grown men be shocked at the strength of that "cute little girl." There are always two sides to the coin, but the positive side of this coin is enormous. Strength, beauty, wisdom, power and sisterhood, just to name a few of my favorites.
Strength and sisterhood have been particularly important to me lately because a woman I know and love is going through a life-shaking change in her life. As much as we’d like to think we’ve got this whole life thing mapped out, crap happens. I’ve seen the strongest women brought to their knees in painful situations. These incredibly vulnerable moments can make us ponder many things:
Did I bring this on myself? Is it my fault?
You can’t change the past; you can only learn and grow from it. Dwelling in the "coulda-woulda-shoulda" world is like staying on the same page of the same chapter in your book, afraid of what the next chapter may bring.
Will I ever be the same?
No. It’s a good thing. We're always evolving, changing and growing. Don’t desire to be the same; desire evolution.
What will people think of me?
Pain is a tricky companion that plants constant seeds of doubt in our minds. There's a multitude of reasons for every action and reaction in our life, but I firmly believe that if you’ve been aiming true — living the life that you believe in and doing your best every day — even the crap storm has an incredibly useful purpose. Does it make the explosion of pain enjoyable? Oh, hell no! Pain is pain, no matter what pretty outfit you try to dress it up in. What fascinates me is looking at the pain and understanding why it needs to happen to get us to where we WANT to be.
We’ve all heard the phrase, "like a baseball bat to the head," and often it’s the only way to make a point. Bold decisions are needed. Statements so loud they can’t be swept under the rug. This means others' opinions will follow. Supportive, conflicted and aggressively attacking comments rain down like hail. These moments remind me of a line from my favorite prayer, written to the goddess Artemis: “Allow me the strength and wisdom to be my own mistress, not defined by the expectations of others.”
No matter how pure or poisonous someone’s opinion is, it doesn't matter because it’s YOUR life. No one can understand what goes on behind closed doors or inside your heart, for that matter. Hold onto the strength you possess knowing that your choices need no explanation. Choose what makes your heart beat. Follow the path that may not be well trodden but leads to your wildest dreams. Own and love who you are whether people throw flowers at your feet or tomatoes at your head. If you believe in yourself, drive forward!
In this hurricane of confusion and deceit, know that you ARE safe. There's purpose in this moment, so keep working your way out of the shell. You have everything you need, and nothing is permanent. This murky storm will clear and you will shine all the brighter. From one sister to another, stay strong.
Kathryn Budig is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher and author known for her accessibility, humor, and ability to empower her students through her message, "aim true." The Kansas native graduated from the University of Virginia with bachelor's degrees in both english and drama before moving to Los Angeles, where she trained at Yogaworks under Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller. She is the author of Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance! and travels around the world teaching.