I recently heard from one of my teachers the following words, which have since been etched in my heart as a deep remembrance of the healing power of devotion and personal practice.
He said; “No matter how many times you break a vow, you can always return home to yourself. Even if you break it 1000 times, you can always come home. Like a soulmate, you are it—and for that, you may always return to you.”
I am so moved by this teaching because I firmly believe that the most sacred relationship we will ever endure is the one we are having with ourselves. It’s the one most worthy of our time, attention, nurturing and deep listening. Having a rich and deep relationship with ourselves is how we learn how to be in this world through adversity, distraction + heavy influence. It’s how we discern our true nature from the nature of another. It’s how we make decisions that are centred in who we are and what we value most in life. It’s how we learn to self soothe, regulate and remain neutral in the face of chaos.
Honouring + loving ourselves with conviction is the great work of our lives and in my opinion, the only way we truly learn how to give to another.
I’ve spent so much of my life seeking answers + abandoning myself, which has left me lost and confused more times than a few. My model for life, based on my upbringing has always been to do the right thing, say the right thing, be the right person, get the job done. Essentially, do what it takes to survive, please and fit the mould of other people’s expectations and all will be well. Though this has served as a brilliant model for succeeding in multiple areas in life, it’s left me time and time again frustrated at my inability to speak up for what I truly need + live out a life where I feel safe + empowered to make my own decisions with full trust in myself.
The amount of times some kind of life event has knocked me off my axis and sent me into a tailspin has been more than just a subtle clue. A clue that my relationship to my essence, my spirit + my truth has been weakened. I’ve had to fall off the tracks enough times to understand that there is no right path in this lifetime, no secret recipe to lasting joy + no human being strong enough to carry all my burdens and fulfill my soul’s needs. I’ve looked to so many external sources: family, friends, teachers, mentors, healing practitioners, books, yogic lineages, you name it. All in a hungry search for validation from external sources that would satiate my inner need to “get it right” by some kind of a standard.
Over the years, I had developed practices centred around rigidity + heavy discipline to keep me on a so called “path” and keep me safe. From overexercising as an adolescent, to never missing my asana practice as an adult— These practices, though serving me in the beginning, would swing my inner pendulum so far to one side that any sudden blow could swing it all way to the other side of apathy or dismay. I would get so far down a rabbit hole of what I thought was a devotional practice that I wouldn’t realize how dogmatic and repressed I had actually become. An unsustainable practice to say the least, and a surefire way of taking me further away from my intuition and inner guidance system.
I want to be clear, that what I’m not saying is that there’s anything wrong with consistent practice. And in fact, consistent, devotional practice is key to refining this relationship with self + bringing us closer to our divinity. But what I am now learning is that if I don’t give myself the authority to listen + be in the drivers seat of my life, someone or something else will, real quick. We all have the capacity to take ownership of our lives and live as the luminous beings we came here to be; by knowing what matters to us + by setting ourselves up with compassionate practices that support our relationship self to self.
These practices need not be perfect or follow any strict set of rules, but they serve to continually bring us home to ourselves in a loving + compassionate way. They instil a sense of deep devotion and commitment to something bigger than our thoughts of how things “should” be. Some days I am called to a long asana practice. Other days I sing mantra while cleaning my house. Sometimes I dance, sometimes I walk in nature. And sometimes I simply pray and sit in the quiet stillness of my heart. Whatever the vehicle, however it arrives, I am always left with a deeper connection to voice of my highest self.
What I know for sure is that you are worth coming home to and worth loving without condition. You are worth the devotion, the nurturing and you are most definitely worth listening to. Set yourself up with practices that nourish your soul + keep you connected to your essence. Like an alchemist, stay curious + find what works. Not rigid or established in perfection. But rooted deeply in honesty, integrity + a loyalty to who you really are.
Come home to yourself. Be your own soulmate.