On Feeling Trapped

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Do you ever feel like a caged animal? Contained, stuck, hopeless? I went to the zoo with my family last week. I have some inner conflict with zoos. On one hand, having the animals there make people happy and provides education and awareness that helps change human behavior around taking care of the earth. On the other, these magnificent Beings are trapped.

We had an amazing experience watching grizzly bears play joyfully in a pool just inches away from us. Our hearts felt full seeing snow leopard cubs snuggle in for a nap with their mother. Time and again though, our conversation would turn to the dark side of it all. Was this right? Were they suffering? Were we wrong for supporting it?

At one point I found myself in the ocean exhibit gazing through the glass at an octopus. Beyond thoughts of how he should be in the sea and that he must be suffering, I felt a peace within. I stood still longer to connect more deeply to that sensation of ease gently making it’s way through the flood of thoughts to the contrary. Suddenly an insight bubbled up; here these creatures are clearly confined but my sense of them was one of contentment, even happiness, yet we humans are totally free but so often feel completely trapped. I wondered why and brought my sister in to discuss. We mused on how this is a perfect example of what the path of yoga teaches. That for whatever reason, it’s human nature to create self-imposed cages made up of thoughts and beliefs but that instead of dwelling in the mind, we can feel our way into the present moment, exactly as it is, and know peace no matter our circumstance. We even realized that we were projecting our own dis-ease onto the animals. Our thoughts about how they must be miserable merely a distraction from our personal mental constructs that limit the capacity for joy.

bodycheckingSound familiar? This is one of the main reasons we’re prone to suffer as souls in a body. We resist reality and lay down layer after layer of wrongness about our life, about ourselves, causing energetic weight within each and every cell of the physical self. We try to get rid of this by controlling the body. Not only does this cycle lend itself to painful body image (and eating imbalances), it diminishes our ability to manifest more of what we do want in life.

This experience ties to the topic of surrender and some questions about it that I put to my Tribe in my last newsletter. I promised to share my answers so here goes.

What does surrender mean to you? To me, surrender and freedom are synonymous. Surrender means trusting what is to be what’s “right” in ways that I don’t fully understand. It means accepting that I don’t have control, which is crazy hard, but is also the most empowering step I can take towards peace. Surrendering helps me influence my inner and outer worlds in a loving way .

Surrender to me means accepting the perfect imperfection of myself and life at large.

What are you resisting or holding on to due to “The FAT Experience” aka feeling Fearful, Anxious and Tense when it comes to being your True Self?  I’m holding on to beliefs that I don’t deserve to “have it all.” I’m holding on to the samskaras/malas of unworthiness and not enoughness (see Module 2 of the eCourse for more on these). I’m resisting some of the love and support available from friends, family and colleagues because of this. Sigh..so there it is.

Sure I know better than to get caught up in these dynamics, but peace is a practice. There’s no autopilot setting for it, no cruise control. I have to consciously return to my breath, my mat, my journal, to nature again and again to remember my wholeness. I share my struggles and allow my humanness to be seen. As we do this for ourselves it helps others do the same and our graceful hearts and sacred bodies can feel light and free as much as possible.

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. ~Maya Angelou

Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings below! Namaste, Julie

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