Last year not long after my birthday, I went on a journey, an internal journey to open up my internal luggage and face my real self. It hasn’t been an easy journey, there have been more than a few moments where I wanted to take some of my findings and stuff them back down, sort of like when you have too much stuff in your luggage and you find yourself sitting on your suitcase wrestling with it so that it will close. Thankfully I started this journey with someone who held my hand along the way and assured me that whatever I found, it would be okay. I admit if it hadn’t been for that person, I would have long ago abandoned the journey and continued to keep trucking away like a pot on a slow simmer. Instead I have found peace, peace in knowing that it’s okay and that I am okay and while I wish the road was less bumpy, I am far enough in this journey that I trust that no matter what twists and turns I now face it will be okay.
A few nights ago, I was having a heart to heart with a friend and she posed a question or rather a statement that has stuck in my mind for the past few days. It was nothing bad but interesting since she isn’t the first person lately to say something in a similar vein. It’s funny because I am far more open and honest with those I trust than I have ever been in my life, so much so that people are still sitting back and trying to figure it out. Yet it’s ironic that when we get real, that sometimes that realness can be hard to digest and sometimes seen as a cover.
For me being my real self, started off as a quest to be happy but along the way I learned that happiness should not be the goal. Happiness is often temporary and dependent on circumstances and often times we have no control over our circumstances, after all shit happens. Instead my focus along the way shifted to being joyful, on the surface joy and happiness seems to be the same thing, but joy and the state of joyfulness are deeper, more spiritual. Granted one can be filled with joy and happy at the same time, which is great but joy often sticks around far longer than happy. Personally I want the one that sticks around, not the one that is fleeting.
One of the many lessons that yoga has taught me (aside from the fact I can do stuff I never dreamed possible) is that when I stay anchored in myself and allow that quiet and peace to flood me, joy is beneath the surface. I mean there is nothing particularly happy about dragging your ass to a class when you would rather be sleeping but finding a joy that allows you to laugh at yourself and not sweat most things is worth losing the temporary happy of sleep.
One of the many gifts of getting older has been the ability and really the desire to dig deep, to strip away the layers of myself and be willing to bring those layers out in the light to see what is real and what is not. I have no idea where the end will be, but I am committed to enjoying the ride!