Trust the Process

Sometimes it takes a lifetime to learn to trust the process. What does this even mean? Last Saturday in Jess Padula’s yoga class I read from Melody Beattie’s book Journey to the Heart. This is something that is done on the longer Saturday morning gatherings. It was dated May 9 and titled ‘Trust Each Step.’ What she wrote resonated with me, especially about wanting to take a big leap to get to the end of a process, a goal, or a lesson. But if we do that, we miss the experience of each step we would have taken.

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When I think about trusting the process, it reminds me of trusting my intuition. Knowing myself and listening to my feelings helps when making a decision. I know when I’m doing what I’m meant to be, I get that excited and confident feeling. When I’m not, I get that sick sense in my stomach, and my heart rate might pick up from nerves. I’ll even get a headache. Paying attention to how I feel and what drives me helps. When I trust those feelings, I usually make the right decision. But there are many times when I trudge through a process despite the negative concerns. Let’s face it, we all have had to work jobs that we haven’t loved in order to pay bills, gone to events to fulfill obligations, or made a poor decision and needed to follow through on it. That’s a part of life.

Trust the Process

For me at this place in my life, I want to do what sparks passion and brings me joy.

This can also mean creating space for what I know is my path. Jess spoke about pushing back to create space for the next part of your life. This is a tought spot to be in when I’m in a nice cozy place that I really don’t want to leave or I’m too overwhelmed to make a move. We want life to fall into place without obstacles. We don’t want to rock the boat. But what happens when you can’t ignore that feeling anymore? When you have the distinct knowledge that you are on the wrong path? What happens when you are so crowded and consumed by what you don’t want that you HAVE to push back in order to breathe?

Oh yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, people may not be happy. They may be used to you handling a large part or all of a project, job, family, etc. If I trust I’m going where I need to go or doing what I need to do, and pushing back is the only way to get it, then I’m gonna push. In doing so, I might just create enough space for someone else to also get back on their path.

I do not come lightly to any decisions that rock the boat or change the course of my comfort zone. It would be easy to live each day the same over and over again, but that’s not how I operate. That’s why when I know I have to make a difficult decision, it weighs heavily on me.

One of the reasons I love practicing yoga is because of the challenges and the messages I receive in class. I rely on my community, but as was brought up in class, no one can carry someone or the work all the time and no one can be carried all the time. A community holds one another up when we fall and gives us space when we rise. That’s the same with trusting the process. Get out of the way and let it flourish.

Sometimes when I stray from the process it can take a long time to get back to where I’m meant to be. But maybe I didn’t really stray. Perhaps I was taken on a winding road that may not have made sense, but then when I connect back to my path, I have that ‘aha’ moment.

Trusting the process, fulfilling my passion, learning and growing never end. It’s up to me to create the space, breathe through the turmoil, push back or bring in. Trusting it, doing what you are called to do is the greatest gift you can give yourself and this world. Trust yourself, and you will be given what you need.

Building Emotional Strength

This morning, I attended Jessica Padula’s 90-minute Hot Baptiste Beats yoga class at Clifton Park’s Hot Yoga Spot.

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Janine and Jess, Baptiste sisters!

I wish I had taken a photo of us together after today’s class, because even though this one symbolizes our connectedness, today’s would have displayed our emotional strength.

Class started with a reading about spinning your wheels and getting stuck where you don’t want to be. Sometimes we have to dig in and kick hard enough to get where we really need to be. We don’t get there by waving a magic wand. We get there through determination, self-inquiry, and doing the work.

But how do we know where we are going? How do we build the necessary muscles to make such an important journey? How do we know what to pack?

The power in yoga is breaking down to break through and build ourselves up when we are stuck in that deep rut. This rut can be caused by a countless number of things. Grief, loss, depression, low self-esteem, abuse, addiction, the world around us, and the list can go on and on.

Jess compared building our emotional strength to lifting weights. When we lift, we actually cause mini-tears in our muscles that then connect back together to become stronger and bigger. But there has to be a balance. If we keep lifting a large amount every single day, then our muscles never heal. We will cause damage and be in pain.

She explained that this is the same with emotional strength. But here is the most important part. Jess said, “Emotional strength doesn’t mean being numb.” If we deny and avoid the tears, the pain gets deeper, and the damage can be permanent.

I have always been open about losing my son, Nick, to cancer. This year is 10 years since he was diagnosed and passed away. For a large part of those 10 years, I ignored those tears and stuffed down the pain of not being able to see my son, talk to him, or hold him. It’s a heavy burden to bear, and some of the damage may very well be permanent. A broken heart, an ache that never goes away, and a sadness that waits for another opportunity to show its face can throw me off for days.

Every time something reminds me of Nick or I comfort another family who has lost their child to cancer, a small emotional tear forms. Whether it’s in my heart, my soul, my body, it affects me mentally, emotionally, and physically. I have often ignored that tear by numbing out: eating foods that aren’t good for me so I feel the physical pain of a stomach ache, instead of the hurt in my heart; I take on so many activities, create more events to plan and attend I don’t have downtime; I make it my absolute purpose to fix anything and everything from someone’s relationship, to organizing someone’s wedding, to healing a person’s depression, so I can save someone.

I do all this, because if I ever opened up to the full scope of my loss, those tears would become rips. Don’t get me wrong, I love helping people and being in service. But I wasn’t taking care of myself or being in service to me and my purpose.

Over the last three years, I have become aware of those tears and how I react to them. I found relief through yoga to heal the physical pain. But it was by journaling that I understood how I could face the emotional tear, heal it, and build my emotional strength. Jess’ analogy perfectly described what yoga and journaling does for me.

My yoga practice and the empowering community created a safe space for me to cause the tear in my emotions, just as if I was lifting weights. I don’t know how many times I have broken down in class and left feeling lighter, but drained. Through journaling I am able to work with that tear. What caused the break down? What is blocking me, holding me back, how am I not supporting my purpose or exercising self-care. By acknowledging the tear and being alright with the fact that it was there helped me to soothe it. Eventually my writing released the spasm of pain and strengthened my heart, so that I can walk alongside my loss and live my purpose.

It doesn’t end with yoga. Today was an emotional class. I felt the pain of my fellow practitioners, and I wanted to go to them and comfort. But I stayed in my practice and shared my energy without causing myself irreversible pain and tears.

So I say to anyone who feels those emotional tears, write about it. Release the toxins that are hurting you. Understand where they come from. By nursing each emotional tear, we build the strength to deal with all that life may put in our path. The combination of yoga and journaling has strengthened me emotionally to the point where I know what balm will heal my heart and soul.

Thank you, Jess, for living your truth and sharing it with our incredible yoga community.

What are your emotional tears?

What caused them?

What ways have you avoided your emotions or numbed out to the tears?

How has that affected you physically, mentally and emotionally?

What can you do right now to heal one tear?

What else do you do to build your emotional strength? What tools do you use?