I recently noticed a deep sense of stillness in my soul. The massive waves that once crushed me have now become less than the tiniest of ripples settling throughout my body. The calm that has poured over me was so subtle and slow that I didn’t even realize it was there until a recent conversation I had with a friend about our past “teachers”.
Teachers are anyone, whether boy or girl, old or young, who has come into my life and taught me something so meaningful, it changed me. When I reflected on my past teachers, I quickly realized the ones who’ve had the most impact were also the ones that caused me the most pain. The assholes. The waves that used to crush me.
I most certainly have had people do evil things to me, not more than the next person but enough to have some serious inner demons to defeat because of it. My snag was that, like a lot of people, I so sadly attached myself to these people and situations that caused me pain. I attached myself to things that were done to me and the things that weren’t. The things that were said and the things that weren’t. The reactions I had, the emotions it triggered, the pain of the memories. I let my past linger on with me as the weight set itself up for a long, comfortable ride on my shoulders. I allowed past pain to take the wheel and drive how I conducted myself in the present and thoughts of the future. Over time, the weight caused my shoulders to slouch as my body language became an easy exposure of the walls I put up. A slightly turned chest, the hands that subconsciously always covered my heart, the physical arms distance I would keep myself. I would literally sleep in the tightest little ball with my arms covering my chest as a way to close myself off from the world. Which was how I was most comfortable. My intense fear of commitment and relationships were a dead give away to past hurt. I pushed good people away and twice lost something really special because of the fog called fear I allowed to cloud eyes. And to those people I hurt, I truly am an asshole.
Recently however, I’ve noticed all this dissipate. I try to live by yogic principles as best I can. What set me free was a significant concept in yogic philosophy, found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.12, which is finding one’s reality through practice (abhyasa) and non-attactment (vairagya). The more I practiced and was open to these ideas, the more I noticed it start to enter my life. The waves that once crushed me became smaller and smaller until my body became weightless and free in the water. The weight of a million pounds of sand on my shoulders slowly began to trickle into my bones finding the perfect balance of grounding and settling. I finally cut the stings that pulled me into my past and shifted my perspective to see the assholes as the most brilliant teachers I could have ever have. I finally saw these people as little gifts and from the bottom of my heart,I feel a deep sense of gratitude for these teachers who taught me the biggest lessons of my life.
The assholes have brought me a courage, strength, bravery and wisdom that I would have been devoid of.
They have taught me to love like I didn’t think was possible because they have already shown me what it is to feel pain like I didn’t think was possible.
They taught me to savor every moment with someone I love because they showed me what it feels like to have that taken away.
They taught me to have a compassion and empathy for others because they showed me what it feels like to be treated without it.
For all the greatness you have brought into my present life, my dear assholes, I thank you. You have given me the biggest gift I could have ever asked for. You gave me the person I am today. I may have many flaws but who I am now, I couldn’t be more proud of. I have conquered the many insecurities, doubt in myself and lack of self worth not in spite of you but because of you. I think of you individually, and I thank you, thank you, thank you.
We have many choices in life. For so long I made the choice to be a victim of the things people had done to me. But the gratitude and love I have for the assholes of my past, the assholes of my present and the sure to come assholes of the future, fill up the empty spaces. The choice to let these teachers be a light, allows them to pour over the dark corners. All it took was a shift of perspective and whole lot of healing on my yoga mat.
The waves have stopped crashing and the stillness settles in my soul. A peacefulness washes over me leaving behind only a stronger body, sharper mind and the strength of a lion’s heart. So to the assholes of my past, the assholes of my present, the assholes of the future, thank you.