Take an inner vacation... Personal freedom
“Take an inner vacation…”
Are you struggling to escape pain or stress? Do you often want to get away from it so bad that you’d rather jump out of your skin? Try the opposite perspective: dive inward and own your stress. Own the reasons why stress appears in your life by committing to a lifestyle change that will alleviate it. Commit to your life goals and your higher Self over your stress. A lifestyle of self-care can work miracles for shifting stress and pain in your life, allowing you to transform it and release it. Many people choose to adopt a lifestyle of self-care in the form of yoga. Kelly was one of these people and committing to herself through yoga created a life-changing impact. Follow her story below…
Kelly was in pain… Her headache hadn’t subsided in days and now weeks. What was wrong? What did this pain represent? Working too hard? Unfulfilling career? The possibilities were too numerous. For now, Kelly just wanted to escape and if this pain ever went away, to make any lifestyle changes necessary to prevent it from ever coming back again… Her doctor prescribed her medicine but before long, the pain kept coming back… Nothing was helping. Kelly was almost at her wits’ end when her doctor suggested self-care in the form of yoga…and that’s when everything changed.
How often do we choose to take care of ourselves instead of giving in to our stressors, in life? Self-care tips sound easy on paper but what about really committing to your higher Self (the deepest, best version of yourself) and your life goals? How about the executive who suffers from corporate burnout and amid all the risks, chooses to serve her higher Self by quitting her job and pursuing her passions? This requires changes and transformation at the lifestyle level and it requires significantly more commitment than employing self-care tips. How can we own our commitment to ourselves? Kelly found the personal freedom to commit to herself by pursuing a self-care lifestyle of yoga and making it her own…
Kelly enrolled in her first yoga class and, perhaps a little self-conscious, muddled through a beginner’s class while learning poses and trying to blend in. To her surprise, Kelly’s pain began to subside... But, as with the doctor’s medication, the pain wasn’t gone for long… Regular, consistent classes were necessary and to create consistency, Kelly was going to have to really commit to herself by making some lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle change is hard and while committing to yourself is easy on paper, it’s hard to choose ourselves in the face of life’s stresses, pain, and challenges. Changing our lifestyle behaviors demands that we revisit our life goals, re-commit to them and change our values if necessary. In essence, we need to recommit to ourselves on a whole new level. It’s time to up our game...
Kelly changed her daily routine to make time for regular yoga classes but it wasn’t until she found the right teacher that things really began to click. Kelly’s teacher, Ben, was personable and supportive, helping maintain Kelly’s interest and commitment. Ben gave personal attention and pointers to those who were new or struggling to correctly pose on their own. More than an effective teacher, Ben was very good at motivating his students to own their yoga practice with the same personal intentions they were using to own their life goals. Kelly remembered how badly she wanted to be pain free, to own her self-care through yoga...and she felt her self-commitment deepen. Kelly was putting herself first in all aspects of her life and before long, to her great relief, her pain went permanently away...
What does it take to commit to yourself and your life goals above all others? Nothing less than a lifestyle change in your self-commitment. Committing to yourself requires that you own your stress. For example, if you’re suffering from corporate burnout, why did you choose this corporate job? Is it still fulfilling to you? Change begins by naming your pain or stress, owning it in your own words and identifying life goals that you value more than your stress. Do you have a passion that sparks joy in your soul and nourishes your spirit? Serving your higher Self starts with self-commitment and self-care.
Through the self-care practice of yoga, Kelly discovered the freedom to commit to herself in the face of her stress and pain. We hold so much stress and pain in our bodies and yoga helped Kelly release her fears and attachment to it all in the name of putting herself and her life goals first. In this way, Kelly transformed her relationship to her pain and stress by simply owning it as an extension of herself in the form of life goals that needed adjustment. She that these were necessary challenges that would make her life goals worth it along the way. Choosing yourself over your stress doesn’t have to require compartmentalization or “escape”, we simply have to own it in the service of committing to our higher Self.
Commiting to ourselves can provide a great personal freedom and help us give ourselves permission to take an inner ‘vacation’ at any time we choose. We don’t have the freedom to choose our problems but we always have the freedom to choose our reaction to them, to own our problems by choosing to put ourselves first. We always have the freedom to commit to ourselves, to own our time and space and exercise our free will by choosing how to spend it. We don’t have to abandon our responsibilities, in fact, we can even align them toward our life goals and live meaningful lives, just as we align our bodies through yoga poses. Self-care and personal freedom are real so take a ‘vacation’ whenever you want to pursue your life goals...to live your life...to Be You.
I’ve found that the secret to gaining ‘freedom’ from stress or pain is to own your stress as your own, as much as you own the pursuit of your life goals. Name your fears, describe your stressors in your own words, own your stress before it owns you! For Kelly, what contributed to her pain? Corporate burnout is an all too common problem. Long hours and too much work in a perhaps unfulfilling career is draining on the spirit and often, in desperation just to pay the rent, we put others ahead of ourselves.
What stress do you need to own? Why does it feel so painful? So daunting? How do you imagine overcoming it? How does overcoming your stress shape your version of freedom? How do you see yourself getting there? How are you coping with it at the moment?
I live my life through my relationship to others so my stresses have often come in the form of dealing with a difficult boss, difficult roommates, etc. The danger is that I often become a people-pleaser at the expense of myself and my well-being. To recommit to myself and put myself first, I need to be authentic in my relationships and often, this requires drawing boundaries and dealing with the tense feelings of conflict that might come up along the way. In this situation, releasing stress becomes important and yoga becomes a great way to honor that commitment to myself while releasing stress. Yoga can help me release the tension i feel about being more authentic toward people in the face of stressful relationships.
Accepting and owning your stress doesn’t mean holding it in and letting it go doesn’t mean abandoning challenges or goals. Yoga is stress release in the form of choosing yourself!
Additionally, the more you align with and commit to your life goals, the more you’ll see your own stress as perhaps the necessary challenge that will all be worth it when you achieve your goal. Remember, pain is temporary but freedom is permanent.
How do you express freedom? As I’ve said, I live my life through my relationships to others and my freedom comes in fully being my authentic self in connection with others. I enjoy finding out what connects us allows us to see parts of ourselves in each other. Being in connection allows us to be more than just ourselves. Making others feel truly seen and heard sparks joy in me and doing right by others is my way of ensuring the best outcomes for all. This is my freedom and i value it above all other life pursuits. Remaining committed to my higher Self in this way is paramount but often challenging. Often, I put time with loved ones on hold in the name of working to pay the rent. Or, I might withdraw from being my most authentic self, choosing to remain silent instead of saying how I feel because I’m afraid to disappoint or confront people. Even when trying to help others, I often put people ahead of myself and in doing so, my values and needs come in dead last (if at all). These are the challenges in which I need to choose myself and my own authenticity as a way of recommitting to my Higher Self. Giving myself the personal freedom to pursue my life goals is the ultimate self-care. In these moments, yoga is a great vehicle to rediscover your inner freedoms, to release stress and to recommit to yourself.