This short piece was written during my Yoga Teacher Training in Nepal. Nothing like spending four weeks in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery outside of Kathmandu to get you to slowly dissect, and then reinforce or shift everything you think you know. I highly recommend it.
Limited and precious.
Consciously choosing to conserve my wild, yet precious internal force.
Brahmacharya, in a more modern & less moralizing framework, can mean directing your efforts and energy away from the external and to the internal. This is a daunting notion for a social justice advocate like myself. My entire life (both professional and personal) has been about helping others and providing the tools and support for healing. The external always took precedence.
And if I “failed”, I felt it. Hard.
In fact, one of my biggest memories from childhood was hiding in the laundry room and crying after failed attempts to mediate members of my family (mediate mostly meant trying to maintain positivity and calm amidst the tension and arguing). Unable to bring about immediate change, and incredibly uncomfortable with any conflict, I would retreat.
Even my volunteer work and social justice work were and are (to some extent) about believing that others deserve all my limited and precious energy. I project this intensity by shaking things up in the world, but I often leave myself calloused and discarded in the process.This is a reason why so many social service workers burn out; we channel all our “life force” into the external and put the respect and containment of our own power/self-care on the back burner.
Yoga necessitates self-care. Choosing to do my Yoga Teacher Training in Nepal is the first in-depth and full on thing I’ve ever done solely for myself. I do have plans to share this practice and its extraordinary benefits with others after my time here, but for now it is about channeling all energy to myself and my spiritual path. This is unbelievably hard. Each morning here I have to set an intention to make the internal a priority. Every night here I have to trust that channeling and containing my energy within isn’t selfish.
I am sowing pure seeds of self-love which will only reap a more authentic path of healing in the world. This is my practice of brahmacharya.