Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire.
~ St. Catherine of Sienna
This quote has rested as a parting comment on my emails from my personal account for quite some time. Years, I believe. In 2000, I wrote a book called Climbing Your Best. The name was suggested to me from a great friend and even though the publisher really liked it, I was a little reserved about it. When I transitioned from climbing as my means of physical activity and respite from stress to Yoga, I quickly realized Yoga is about BEING your best. And this quote became my moniker.
It sounds so easy... just be who you were created to be. Like climbing, just practice and learn a variety of tools and techniques and you can be the best climber you can be. Learning the tools is the easy part. Living it isn't so easy.
The biggest challenge is the fear of failing. I do not want to fail at being who I was created to be. Sounds illogical. How can you fail at something you were born to be? But we do feel we have failed if people do not love or appreciate who we are. So we tend to wear masks, put on roles and accomplishments or armour, and really only show most people what we want them to see.
After many years of practice and going deeper into the study of Yoga, I have come to learn how to love and support myself. I have learned how to be honest with myself about who I am, (the good and the bad), and how to continue to be loving toward myself because only from there - from acceptance - can I truly love and accept others.
That's freedom. That is where happiness lies.
I can always tell when I have stepped away from myself because that feeling of rigidity comes over me again. Maybe that is why people confuse Yoga with stretching and flexibility. It is not about the muscles, it's about acceptance and surrender.