At the Off the Mat yoga retreat in Big Sur last month we spent one day exploring our own voices. The voices in our heads and the voices we needed to liberate so that we could speak with truth and love in the world.
Part way through the asana practice that day, as we were in camel pose, our hearts wide open and our heads dropping back to open our throats, Seane invited us to let the words we needed to hear most arise. When your heart is fully open and you have exposed your most tender parts to the world, when you are looking at the world upside down and you have relinquished the need to be in control it is amazing the simple truths that become self-evident.
The words that came to me were "You are enough". That was what I most needed to hear. Those were the words that would answer the question that accompanied me throughout life, leading me to work too hard or to love unwisely. Am I enough? I'd been asking.
When we had come out of camel and were gathered in a circle in the centre of the room, being led by the amazing Suzanne Sterling to explore our voices in song, we were offered the opportunity to say out loud the words that we most needed to hear. Actually - it was more terrifying than that. We were invited to SING the words that we most needed to hear.
I have long believed that I couldn't sing, that when I sing it sounds bad. So there I was I was standing in a circle shaking with fear at the thought of singing, alone, in front of all these people and yet sobbing with the need to hear these words, to give these words to myself.
So I summoned up all the courage that yoga has given me and stepped into the circle. I opened my mouth and sang with all my heart "I am enough". As I sang others in the group picked up the phrase and started singing it with me. I shook my whole body with the joy of finally answering my own fearful question. Am I enough? Yes. I am enough.
Over the course of the day and the remaining days on the retreat five different women came to me in quiet moments and told me that the words I sang were the exact same words that she had been saying to herself - the very words she knew she also needed to hear. We are enough.
A week or so later I saw this photo on Andrea's blog. It lead me to this post by Tracey Clark. I had initially thought that the photo was of Andrea and I was struck that we had both chosen the same words for ourselves. Then I realised that it was Tracey who had chosen those words. But maybe it was all of us. We are enough. Say it to yourself. Sing it out loud. Go on, you only have to do it in the quiet of your car, or your kitchen. I sang it in front of 45 people and three of my heros. If I can do that then anyone can.
This is what conscious activism means to me. Excavating deep into my motivations to do service work and uncovering my own shadows, owning them, addressing them and healing them. So that when I turn up to do the work of serving others, of bearing witness in this world, I'm not looking to those others to answer the question that only I could really answer - head thrown back and heart open.
I am enough.