Friends, Go Clean Out Your Closets…
I like to call this picture “emotional attachments to things Brooke’s had since she was 16.”
After spending the morning with Deborah Adele studying the the Niyamas, I ended up going home and clearing my closet of 4 trash bags full of clothes. I also reorganized my freezer, but I digress.
Before I get too into it, for those that don’t know much about the Niyamas here they are:
Saucha – purity
Tapas – self discipline
Svadhyaya – self study
Ishvara Pranidhana – surrender
I’ve been on this long journey to learn more about myself and who I am. At age 26, I was starting to feel like I was losing myself. That’s probably the first time I’ve said that out loud. I remember sitting through yoga teacher training and everyone talking about being your “authentic self” and if someone were to have asked me who that was, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to answer them at that time. So begins the journey inward…
I’m a 9 on the enneagram scale. For those that don’t know, the enneagram is a description of 9 interconnected personality types. A little background about 9’s; known as the “peacemakers”, we are natural mediators, easy-going, receptive, reassuring, agreeable and complacent.
We also hate hate hate, double hate, loathe entirely….conflict. This also goes for dealing with conflict within myself (hence long journey inward has taken me a really, really long time).
This brings us back to the Niyamas…
1. Saucha – Purity
For me, this means to empty or dump out. Deborah explained this in such a way that was so easy for my 9-self to understand that it almost brought me to tears. She told us a story about a spiritual guide who once told her that we are all born with a light bowl. Throughout our lives, we allow other people to fill this light bowl with rocks (anger, greed, expectation, etc.) and it becomes too heavy. Saucha is this constant process of taking our light bowl and dumping out the rocks. As for a 9, we are so complacent that we constantly allow others to fill our light bowls with rocks because we don’t want to create conflict. My light bowl had gotten heavy. It was high time I dumped it out.
2. Santosha – Contentment
Riding the ups and downs. In the hills and valleys, who are you connected to? I often ask myself, “if everything were to be stripped away from me, what would I have left?” A hard question to ask, an even harder one to answer. For me, it’s God, and a peace that surpasses all understanding…aka: contentment.
3. Tapas – Self Discipline
Deborah was bringing the heat with this one. Again, my nineness (9-ness..is that even a word?) was cringing when she asked us “what are your escape routes?” What are the different things you use to escape your own life?
She basically hit the nail on the head with what an unhealthy 9 looks like. We are known to daydream and self-numb to escape reality. My family used to blame it on “selective-hearing” when I was younger (ok…you caught me…they still get pissed about this) and they would call my name and I wouldn’t answer. Drifting off, daydreaming, reading a book, watching tv, etc. is my way of escaping reality.
In our society today, I think we often mask our escape routes as self-care. Deborah touched on this as well when she showed us a quote that went along the lines of “self-care isn’t just chocolate cake and bubble baths. It’s building a life you don’t need to escape from”. Yikes, friends. Guilty.
4. Svadhayaya – Self Study
How well do you know yourself? And I don’t mean the self you put on for other people, but your true self?
One of the reasons I started this enneagram journey was to do just this, but in return I gained a clearer understanding of a higher power at be, because I knew more of myself.
“Nearly all wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists in two parts: the knowledge of a higher power and of ourselves.” – John Calvin
5. Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender
The hardest, but the most important of them all. As Deborah put it, “it’s the game changer.”
Let Go. Of expectations. Of resentments. Of control. Of fear.
It takes courage and trust, but ultimately brings you peace.
So, moral of the story… friends, go clean out your closet.