When I first embarked upon a path of change, it felt like trying to move Mount Rushmore.
I built so many strategies to cope with the emotions that I didn’t want to feel—and in the face of inertia, I often crumbled back into the abyss of procrastination.
That vast crevice swallowed up my meditation training, writing, and all of my other non-urgent plans. Then one day, I looked at the hot pink yoga mat leaning against the wall facing me; always within sight, and never been used.
Several months had passed from the time I first bought it. Yet it was still there: staring at me with its disapproving presence. Rolling out that mat to restart my yoga exercise—after a year of rest—was the dawn of a new epoch for me.
Since it was something I was doing for fun, I didn’t view yoga as a stressful goal to achieve. I told myself: if I did just two sets of sun salutations, then it’s considered a win for the day.
Those two sets inevitably turned into half-hour workouts, which stretched and built my muscles. The extra energy, posture awareness, and ease of breath that emerged inspired my yoga devotion. I soon grew to perform yoga consistently without qualms.
That conquest propelled me onto other goals: inner child integration, writing, and meditation—which produced the most striking effect.
It was serendipity that led me to The Realization Process embodiment meditation. My anxiety and intrusive thoughts were at their heights in 2013; when I chanced upon a therapist’s site that talked about the trauma-dissolving effects of this method.
Inhabiting my self helped me to feel safe in my body—and allowed me to feel my emotions without being overwhelmed. Embodiment was the foundation I needed to face the monument of my time-frozen emotions. Years later, it empowered me to integrate my shadow self: to finally unearth my repressed feelings and express them.
However, I had enormous resistance to embodiment. It made me sleepy and tired, and I became wary of practicing. There would be periods of steady practice; and then none for months.
I searched frantically for ways to resolve this. My meditation teachers said to rest between training—but that didn’t rebuild my motivation. Therapists didn’t know either, and endless research did not help me tame the stagnation.
For seven years, I vacillated between unwavering practice and sinking into the quicksand of delays.
When I found success with yoga, it inspired me to rise from the rut of procrastination.
I aimed to meditate again.
Resolve Inner Conflict
There was only one problem: yoga didn’t require a dive into the innermost part of my being. In that sense, it was less “invasive” than meditation.
After I healed my shame and pieced together the splinters of my fragmented selves: the truth appeared. My five-year-old self did not want to grow up because her youth was the only thing that spared her from getting beaten by her father. She saw him batter her mother and siblings, and it frightened her so much that she stayed enmeshed in the strands of time.
From the cave of my subconscious mind, she lashed out at my adulting efforts. To absorb her into my adult reality, I had to prove I could save her. She needed someone who would deeply care for her—who would prioritize her happiness—and that someone was me.
Once the light flicked on, the second obstacle became easier to handle. It was the issue of my adult part who feared that my recovery would change my relationship with my siblings.
They didn’t want to delve into the past to fix their abusive behaviors—and never admitted that they were the ones who forged the volcano of suffering that was in my life. If my awareness expanded through meditation, it might guide me to erupt ties with my family.
Both my adult and child parts had valid reasons for keeping me enshrined in the tomb of time. They needed assurance that my recovery wouldn’t cause more grief and demolition. I assuaged their fears by recognizing that living in the past did not bring them the love and triumph they longed for.
Their aspirations would only become reality when they let me work without obstruction.
They seemed to agree with me.
After the assimilation of my parts, I started meditating again.
There was less subversion that time around, and I meditated without drowsiness or depletion. Then one day—as I was inhabiting my head during meditation—a spark of insight broadened my perception.
Embodiment drained me because I constantly condemned my actions—I talked to myself exactly as my abusive family did!
Am I breathing correctly; did I get that chakra right; am I fully in my body; did the breath come through the right spot on the nostrils; did my breath hit the right chakra in the center of my head. Was it really the center of the head; should I be feeling the resonance more; this is too subtle; I’m not feeling the breath move. I’m doing this wrong; why is this so hard for me; god, I feel so sleepy; why am I sleepy. How come I’m the only one that feels like this; I’m exhausted; what’s wrong with me?!
Before that moment, nothing explained my defiance against meditation. Perfectionism was so deeply ingrained in me: I didn’t know it was the reason for my fatigue until I remedied my shame and absorbed my fragmented selves.
I glazed together the shards of my healing vessel, four years after I first learned of embodiment. Only then was I able to hear my thoughts clearly and identify them for what they were—self-annihilation.
When I deflected hateful thoughts with compassionate ones, it got easier to accept the mistakes I made. This acceptance relaxed my muscles and deepened my breathing; creating an enjoyable session.
After that day, I flowed towards essence instead of resisting it. Uniting with my essential self empowered me to live deeply in the internal space of my body.
This expanded my depth of awareness. It lit up the corners of creation where I could apply this vital truth about willpower—to all of life’s worthy endeavors.
Whether to heal the past or achieve for the future; the key to reaching those important, yet non-urgent goals is the same: take small steps forward, dissolve barriers, be kind to yourself, and keep going.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
—Tao Te Ching