Yoga Saved My LifeMar 10, 2021
I am finally ready to do this. I have been working up the courage to publish this for 3 years…
I have backed off out of fear. Fear of judgment. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown. Fear of shedding my skin. Fear of releasing who I was and embracing what I am. Why was I so afraid? Why am I STILL so afraid? It was my identity, who I thought I was, who others thought I was. Who others still believe that I am. Even if we are all wrong, the known is way less threatening than the unknown. Minimizing yourself is the easiest route. However it can be the most damaging to your psyche.
I don’t love talking about serious things. Whether they are happening to me, or have happened to me. I have internalized so much of what I have endured. I reduced myself into a barely lit, cheaply made, energy efficient bulb. A far cry from the powerful, bad ass, bright as fuck supernova that I am. Yes I am passionate. I have always been loud and explosively expressive. I love to joke and laugh, it’s a beautiful physical response to joy. It is an easy emotion to be comfortable with. It is difficult to speak candidly about pain, suffering, trauma, guilt, shame and sadness. I used anger as a default to deflect feelings of weakness. I felt the need to make my presence larger, so it was bigger than what made me scared. Here’s the catch: the larger I made myself inauthentically, the thinner I stretched to cover that space. I am a huge advocate for reaching out when needed, but all too often we outsource, when we need to turn inward.
So here it is. My biggest fear. My deepest and darkest shame: Cutting. Self mutilation. Self harm. Physically abusing myself. Gross. Just typing it makes me feel disgusting. That is the immensity of the shame. Who does that? What kind of person willingly inflicts pain on themselves? I can’t speak for every victim of the diseases that cause it, but in my case; it was a deeply traumatized person. Seems counter-intuitive right? I am so severely hurting, that I am going to further hurt myself. The physical pain was a sick form of relief from my suffering. I have intentionally cut, burned, and bruised myself. I can recall one specifically horrendous anxiety attack which resulted in a black out and me slicing myself over 100 times. Over 100 slash marks on my body. I was numb. I had spent my then 16 years of life allowing myself to be degenerated. I felt like I was nothing. I didn’t just dim my shine, I extinguished it entirely. So what happens when you put out the light? You invite in darkness. Like attracts like, and therefore darkness begets further darkness. You attract some of the darkest situations, the darkest people, and allow yourself to be treated like you deserve all that darkness.
After all, I brought it on myself didn’t I? I feel worthless. That must make me worthless. I can’t count how many times in my life I have shame-spiralled like that. Over the next fifteen years my self- harm evolved from physical abuse, to mental torture. Why? Mostly stigma if I am honest. Little girls cut themselves. I am a grown woman, and a mother. I was more worried about being judged for my illness than I was about seeking treatment. I let people who did not have my best interest at heart dictate how I lived my life. I had found myself surrounded with people who didn’t care about me beyond what I could do for them. As I put the judgements of others at the forefront of my mind, I shame spiralled even more: “I can’t be depressive and a good mom.” It was my responsibility to put those voices of judgment before self love. I had to prove to people (who didn’t give a shit about me) that I was a good person, and a good mom. I allowed myself to be bullied because I was allowing my ego to bully the fuck out of me worst of all. These were some of the utterly ridiculous thoughts I battled with every single day.
So how did I remedy this? Well, in the words of Jim Carrey: “Depression is your body’s way of saying, ‘Fuck you. I don’t want to be this character anymore. I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created in the world, it’s too much for me.” He goes on to reference one of his spiritual teachers Jeff Foster, who told him, “you should think of the word ‘depressed’ as ‘deep rest.’ Your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character you are trying to play.” After finding recovery, I have found that is exactly what I needed to hear. I was shame spiralling for being depressed because I was depressed about the person I was. But those emotions (which lead to diseases like depression if they are left unaddressed) are your body’s way of telling you that it needs you to listen to it. Your body is beautifully designed and highly intuitive. Instinctual alarm bells that create further and further discomfort until you address the discomfort. I know that sounds insensitive, I am fully aware these diseases are crippling. However I know from first hand experience, if you never trust yourself enough to seek the help you need, you will never recover.
Yoga has been a saving grace in my life since I first attempted recovery 15 years ago, to where I have finally accomplished active recovery today. The grace that yoga has injected into my life is what led me to taking the conscious steps, and mindful decisions that led to me embodying the courage to save myself. It has guided me to alleviating the pressure and anxiety I was co-creating in my life. Illuminating the truth that was reflecting in the unhealthy relationship dynamics I had been participating in. This awareness, along with the encouragement of the genuinely loving and supportive people in my life taught me how to face my inner demons. Their positive affirmations reminded me of my innate strength, courage, and humility I convinced myself was non existent.
There is NOTHING!! NOTHING!!!!! In this world worth even remotely dampening your light for. The acceptance of any religion, society, person/people is NEVER merit enough to not honour the brilliant light to this world that you are. It’s incredibly hard to stand up for yourself. It’s frightening to face what you may lose when you finally say “enough,” and love yourself for all of your shortcomings alongside your strengths. You have every right to be unapologetically yourself. What falls away due to this: friends, family members, community- simply cannot align with your self love. Refusing to let go of these things only amplifies the disservice it does to you. Let the illusions of love fall away, and give the utmost gratitude for the honest and sincere love and acceptance that you receive.
Does this mean that your life is perfect and everyday is sunshine and rainbows all the time? Of course not. We are divine beings having a human experience. The darknesses of life circle back to bring appreciation for the luminosity of love, joy, peace and serenity. Honouring yourself with the discipline of a practice that aligns with your unique effervescence to help you maintain balance when you have it, and achieving balance when you lose it. Healing takes time, so it is important to hold yourself with patience and compassion. Some days are good, some are bad. The more dedicated you are in your discipline of choice, the easier it will be to lead yourself through the uncertainties.
By Marissa Gillis
Marissa's schedule of classes at Super Seed Yoga
MONDAY - 5:30am pst >> Reinforce the Week
TUESDAY - 5am pst >>Salute the Sun
TUESDAY - 8pm pst >> Surrender to Slumber
WEDNESDAY - 8pm pst >> Yoga Evens the Score
THURSDAY - 5am pst >>Salute the Sun