“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” – Pema Chödrön
When was the last time you found yourself sitting alone in the silence, with nothing more than the sound of your breath filling the room?
For many, such a practice is impossible to achieve, for it’s in the silence when our realities are often realized – those uncomfortable truths many of us would rather pretend simply don’t exist.
Soon, we’re covering up the silence with background noises and distractions, which prevent us from looking at ourselves honestly and gently.
Personal growth and fulfillment do not come about without effort – without the ability to look inward and evaluate the person we’ve become, and if in fact it matches the person we long to be. However, self-awareness is not easily achieved.
In my own life, through a series of unforeseen challenges and disappointments, I had become unfriendly, jealous, self-absorbed and even offensive to those I cherished most. Sadly, those traits had become my new normal – settling in to a sea of negative behaviors which made being around me unpleasant.
Then one day, while angrily rummaging through a desk drawer looking for a business card I thought I had saved, I came across an envelope with my name on it. I remembered immediately what it was. It was a letter my grandfather had written to me on my 22nd birthday.
It was a letter filled with memories and encouragement – geared towards pointing out my strengths, my talents and my accomplishments, with utter sincerity and love from a man I cared for dearly.
After drying my eyes, I knew it was time to look at myself honestly and gently, and when I did I realized I needed to make a change for myself and everyone around me.
I needed a way to connect with my inner self – to focus on the unpleasant emotions I was feeling in a safe environment, and hopefully find some peace.
Doing so required stepping out from the security of my comfort zone and putting myself out there.
When I first reached out to Jamie at Prizm Yoga & Fitness, I wasn’t convinced this was the right choice for me. Still, I knew I needed to do something in order to heal myself and mend the relationships I had so taken for granted.
I procrastinated for several weeks before finally grabbing my yoga mat from the closet and committing to trying a renew and restore class.
I researched several yoga studios in the area before joining Prizm – many leaving me feeling intimidated by images of well-toned bodies and branded athletic clothing on their website. Many studios felt very “corporate” and I wanted something more intimate.
Imagery is incredibly powerful, and I didn’t need to feel more uncomfortable than I already did.
From the moment I walked through the door, I knew I had made the right choice. The environment was warm and calming, membership was diverse and the owner, Jamie, was welcoming almost instantly – treating you more as a friend she hadn’t seen in a long time than simply a client.
My first class was emotional for me. It was a beautiful experience of relaxation and inner focus – guided profoundly by one of the amazing Prizm instructors I’ve been privileged to know.
Taking classes twice a week for several months now, I can tell you with great certainty that I’ve noticed an incredible difference in the person I am. No longer lost in a continual sea of negativity, I discovered that while life may not be perfect, we need to make the most of whatever life we have.
Prizm’s wonderfully talented instructors, combined with an inviting and comforting atmosphere, have been an inspiration to me, and I suspect to countless others who’ve happily explored their incredibly diverse class schedule.
I recently read this quote: “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” (Amit Ray)
Prizm has taught me to live in the moment, live in the breath. To take each day as it comes as a blessing. To understand there will always be difficult days to endure, but they don’t have to define all the days that come after.
Take a look at yourself honestly and gently. Are you happy with the person you see? If not, take a deep breath in and realize change is possible.
My appreciation to everyone at Prizm Yoga & Fitness – you’ve all inspired me more than you know.