My Journey of Self Exploration [Part 1]
This is my first blog article.
I am writing to you. I am writing this piece with the intention of sharing. My intention is to be completely transparent, honest, and compassionate. As humans, we all have an inherent drive to learn and better ourselves. The drive and motivation to improve our well being comes easy for some, but for the majority of us, it is difficult. Let me take you on a little journey that allowed me to explore a new beginning in the expansiveness of my own mind.
My catalyst experience occurred sitting on a waterfall in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I had an emotional breakdown a few days prior due to a terrible airline experience, and a wave of loneliness inhabited the forefront of my mind. I sat looking up at the sky, the sun was glistening through the trees.
After 30 minutes of stillness, a realization came to me. I was not lonely, I was merely alone. I had to use all of what was left of my strength to stay completely present. My mind only observed what my senses allowed. I dropped the past, deleted the future worry, and I chose to just BE. I found some peace in my solitude.
Over the next year, a mentor suggested I work on defining my personal values. I wrote down 30 values, narrowed it down to 10 values, and then narrowed it down to only 5. This was the first time in my life I ever put my values clearly into words and made sure to align myself with each one of them. I came up with the following core values:
1) Curiosity — to never stop asking questions for the purpose of seeking knowledge 2) Spontaneity — to surrender myself to uncertainty when making decisions 3) Transparency — to choose with honest and clear intentions 4) Service — to give without selfish desire 5) Influence — to speak with integrity and understanding so that people have an opportunity to grow
Each one of these values I’ve defined in my own way. They encourage me to stay motivated. My values are my foundation. Each choice I make, and each action that follows, is fueled by intention and rooted in my core values. Not every choice I make perfectly aligns, but I use my values as a feedback mechanism so I can iteratively correct and improve.
The iterative process requires constant reflection. Sometimes I notice the misalignment immediately because the outcome isn’t desired, but most of the time, I have to reserve time to notice how I feel. I ask myself: Did I desire the outcome? Does the intention or outcome align with my values? The most difficult misalignment to spot is an outcome that makes me feel happy, but does not resonate with my values. Part of the process is just making small progress to improve.
The Turning Point
After suffering a severe toe injury from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I decided to start practicing yoga. My intention was to improve my flexibility, mobility, and physical strength. I am a person of habit so when I start to do something, I do it to the fullest. I practiced yoga 4 times a week for 6 months. After 6 months, I began to notice gradual change in my ability to tune into the present moment.
Yoga is a mindfulness practice. We practice creating opportunity to be with our breath and our body. Through this connection, we are present. I believe my yoga practice allows me to feel the present moment more readily. As my practice grows, I continue to rid the obstacles that inhibit my ability to be mindful.
My key takeaway: yoga is an experiential practice. Everyone’s yoga experience is uniquely different, and I hope you get an opportunity to tune into your own awareness.
Spontaneity Brings Random Chaos
I could already feel the positive effects yoga was having on my emotional stability, mental awareness, and physical confidence. In living true to my first core value, I began deepening my exploration and got even more curious!
Nine months into my yoga practice, I enrolled in a 200 hour, 10-week, yoga teacher training with Yoga To The People. This was one of the most spontaneous decisions I ever made, and it turned out to be the best investment of my life. The training deepened my knowledge of yoga philosophy, improved my awareness during my practice, but most importantly, the experience served as an opportunity for self-exploration. Through the teacher training, I allowed myself to become 100% vulnerable.
To be clear, it’s not easy to be 100% vulnerable. I recognize that for many, vulnerability may be difficult due to past experiences. The space created by Yoga To The People felt safe, for me (and for many others). Safe spaces can allow and support the gradual flow of vulnerability.
Through vulnerability, I am able to embrace discomfort. I know wholeheartedly that growth presents itself when I am challenged and all challenges come with some discomfort. Embracing that discomfort is valuable because the opportunity to grow becomes readily available.
Yoga teacher training taught me the power of choice. With clear intentions behind every choice, I feel less regret, guilt, and resentment. With awareness, I am clear and mindful in my actions. Consequently, I feel more aligned to my value of service — choosing to give more of myself to others without feeling any less whole.
Experiences Without Reflection Are Lost
Serving, without helping or fixing, allows me to be more selfless in my actions. Through service, I am so happy to teach yoga. My compassion and motivation to teach yoga is solely rooted in serving others and giving them a chance to feel their own full body experience.
With mindfulness and awareness, I try to cultivate a habit of being grateful for everything that comes up in my life. Everything that I’ve experienced has contributed to my process, therefore, I include all the things in my gratitude. Yoga is a self study — teaching gives me an opportunity to practice gratitude and share my creativity with others. Everyone deserves an opportunity to understand themselves and reflect on their own experiences. It’s a blessing I get to share the same gifts I receive throughout my learning experience.
Self-exploration never stops. I choose to be vulnerable so I can learn. I choose courage over comfort. I obsess over the unknown. We live one life, and I want an infinite amount of fulfilling experiences. I can only try my best and know it is good enough. Your best is good enough too.
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather simply professing them.” — Brené Brown
With compassion, I genuinely want others to self-explore!
My journey follows this path:
Choose to reflect because you are curious.
Write down values that resonate with you.
Experience with vulnerability.
Be creative in your process. Allow your feelings to come and go.
Notice what and how you learn, then improve.
My Journey’s End
There is no end. It’s only a process. There is only the opportunity to grow. Will you allow yourself to be creative enough to see the opportunity when it presents itself and courageously TAKE IT?
If any of this resonates with you, please let me know! Thank you for reading! :)