The Sacredness of Being
I once read that for something to be sacred it means that you value it enough to let it change you. The idea of The Sacredness of Being has become my mantra in the past year. There are so many layers to this life we live, so many responsibilities and expectations, so much beauty and light. But what if instead of all this doing, we decided to become witness more often? Witness to our thoughts, witness to our actions, witness to how deeply we love and connect with others. What if? How would that change the way we navigate through life? What would fall away and what would fill that space?
In the past few years I have been exploring this idea of pulling back and witnessing what is happening around me, how I navigate my way through daily life and how I carry the responsibilities of being a mother, a wife, a business owner and the countless other labels that can sometimes weigh me down. Is there more to this? Is there another way to be in this busy, living outside of yourself society? Of course there is, but it sometimes means living against the grain. It always means being brave and accountable and it usually means feeling a little selfish so that you get what you need to feel balanced and at peace with yourself.
The reason for this mantra came from a feeling of being compressed from within. A few years back I was struggling with finding balance between raising a child and running a business. Living in a quiet small town means less people and places to help give your child well rounded experiences and more pressure to find ways to keep you afloat financially. But something deeper was at work here. This feeling of compression turned into a physical compression of nerves that left me consumed with pain and unable to participate in life the way I felt I was supposed to. This did a number on me and I fell deep, into a dark place. What am I without the doing, without the pushing and controlling? What am I if I’m not in the race? It all felt heavy, as if it was all crumbling around me, all that I thought I knew about myself and this life.
From a desperate need to get out of my head I began to do a regular meditation practice. I have always come and gone from meditation but this time I rooted myself in it. Sitting with all the feelings, all the emotions, all the pain was hard but what fell away was a perspective of myself and my responsibilities that no longer fit who I was and who I was becoming. What fell away was the need to please others before myself and especially the stigma of self-care being a selfish act. These layers that fell away were embedded into so many areas of my life, including the energy around my art practice. I realized just how deep the calling is for me to move and create visual works that express this ebb and flow we experience in life.
And so, there I was laying on a large piece of paper with charcoal in both hands, desperate to just move, just be in rhythm, in my body not my mind. As I moved I could feel the deepest release of all my insecurities, all the pressure I put on myself and most of all the release of the need for perfection. When I stopped, after a few hours, I witnessed an image that I would have never done intentionally but that came from deep within to show me pieces of myself, my ability to look inward and the freedom that can come from this practice. The image felt a bit dark but immensely healing at the same time. This process shifted something within me. Old ideas of how to navigate life fell away. The pureness of allowing myself to be vulnerable, to create without any preconceived idea of image gifted me the freedom of truly working and living from within rather than outside of myself.
In the end it is about the choices you make for yourself, like choosing to live in a town of about 150 people and choosing to still go ahead and build a yoga and art studio in this tiny town after finding out you are pregnant. What is life without adventure and risk anyway? And if you are going to take a risk, why not let it be on something that fills you with pleasure? Why not let it be something that comes straight from the heart and feels so sacred that you just have to honour it? Sometimes you do it because you love it and that is more important than what the numbers say. And sometimes you do it because you want to teach your child that passion is an important voice to honour. But mostly you do it because it feels right, because it is sacred and it is yours.
The root of the sacredness of being for me is remembering that we are not separate from nature. We are in a constant ebb and flow, changing like the seasons. Parts of us are always dying, making way for new growth. To me, the most beautiful and powerful action is to hold this life as sacred and to acknowledge where we are within the rhythms and cycles of our being. This is where I strive to live from, this is my mantra.
photo credit: Bree-Ann Merritt