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Finding True North

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Finding True North

Alana Kessler

Let's talk about patterns. We all have them and for the most part we can’t see them. They are sneaky little energies that grow over time - creating roots in our muscles and connective tissues, reorganizing fascia, influencing the nervous system and literally altering and changing the natural essence of who we are.

I personally experience this and am in awe every day at the uncovering of layers and past traumas that surface through my practice of yoga and mindful living.

In my early and teenage life, I experienced and processed some of my childhood experiences as trauma. Looking back they were pretty typical things like being made fun of by my peers, getting in trouble with my parents, worrying about being liked by people -  but for me, as a super sensitive type, I really internalized this and began building the tracks for the patterns that would solidify into habits, personality and eventually my world view; such as retreating inward and isolating myself when I feel overwhelmed, creating walls around my heart, and engaging in some pretty unhealthy eating habits.

It wasn't until I tore my left ACL in a skiing accident when I was 19 that the re-pattering really began to take shape on the physical level. The left side in TCM is the Yin side. Its mother, it’s earth, it’s the ground - the foundation. At the time, I didn't know what was happening. As with most injuries, the initial incident isn’t where we experience the most suffering.  

The suffering sneaks up over time and manifests in different ways for different people. But the body - the body holds all the patterns. It stores all of our hurts and disappointments, heartaches and desires. It is steadfast in keeping us moving forward,  and as an added bonus - it is so well supported by the mind.

But, one of the reasons I love my work, and one of the reasons I choose to teach yoga, nutrition, meditation and application of mindfulness in service of healthy living is because underneath all those great intentions is the heart that just wants to be free. The heart that wants to be courageous and loving and follow the path that asks “is this courage or am I just crazy”.

After that injury, I lived and loved in this protected state. I still do somewhat. I am still fearful of a lot things and hold myself back.  I still am insecure about my worthiness and don’t always follow the road of my heart’s true desire. But what I am not afraid of anymore is to open to this pattern. What I am grateful for is that after almost 20 years of regular daily spiritual practice, I see and even feel the patterns so clearly,  and have resourced the willingness and even the enthusiasm to humbly go deep into these murky waters and shine a light of interest on them.

I now actually feel the atrophy in my left side, and the shoulder tightness, the sacral instability and imbalance from the years of overcompensating with the right “yang’ side -- SO. MUCH. DOING. SO. MUCH. FORCING.

As I have gotten older, I am committed to returning and re-integrating the patterning of  the soft, intuitive and patient essence of my nature that was severed all those years ago. I am more patient. I don’t rush to get anywhere or become anyone.  I do less. I eat well. I show up. I listen more. To others and mostly to myself.

Because as an adult woman, it is my responsibility to restore the yin back to myself. To unpack and repack the suitcase of my patterns and offer respect to this body and mind that so lovingly held my spirit even in its most broken, trying its best to take on the whole burden.

And its working. Every day, I feel more connected to the truth of my spirit. More available to trust in the love I feel for others and share my heart with them regardless of outcome. More willing to make difficult choices in service of aspirations that are more and more aligned with destiny rather than history.  

More and more, I feel like me.

“I love the dark hours of my being

My mind deepens into them

There I can find, as in old letters, the days of my life, already lived

And held like a legend, and understood.

Then the knowing comes; I can open

To another life that’s wide and timeless”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke