Let Your Light Shine

By Mary Boutieller

The stories we tell ourselves matter.  So why not be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous and enough?

As winter continues it’s chilly path forward, we find ourselves maybe staying a little closer to home, feeling warmth in familiar surroundings, wondering when the buds of the trees will peak out again. It is during this time of year that I find myself sitting in pools of sunlight, marveling at the strength of the sun and it’s ability to transform so many things.

Recently, I attended a weekend yoga workshop in which the central theme of the weekend was “storytelling.” Stories were woven in and out of each session, one connecting to another in the most unexpected ways. During the weekend, we were asked again and again to come back to the stories we tell ourselves—those that limit us and those that open doors of presence and truth, those that have been with us “forever” and those we’ve picked up along the way. And we pondered how those stories have affected our lives. What story do you tell yourself when you approach something new or challenging? What voice or theme from the past either encourages you onward or draws you down so that you want to hide?

If you have been “on the path” for a while, you might know your background stories—the ones playing on the reel of your energetic or emotional memories. For me, I have peeled back multiple layers of my life’s story, like a detective peering through the muck trying to figure out what is true and what is not. My background story tends to be that I am not good enough; it has been there since childhood. And as that story played out in my life, it only made me try harder, yet I continued to question whether I was really good enough—to be loved, to be accepted, to teach, to stand in the truth of who I am at the core of my being. As Marianne Williamson said in her powerful poem titled Our Deepest Fear, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”

And then it happened, at the workshop…the “ah ha” moment of truth, as my story played out again. In a room full of teachers, with an accomplished teacher at the helm, I was called to the center of the room to demonstrate an assist I had done with another student. And oddly enough, I felt unsure, inadequate, as I stumbled through my words. I remember thinking that I didn’t know as much as the lead instructor did…I wondered if I would look foolish, standing up there with all those other teachers in the room…called out as it were. I got through it and sat back down, and no doubt it wasn’t as bad as it felt for me, but I was stunned by the story of “not good enough” that I was again feeling in my heart after all these *#)#* years! How utterly exhausting. And then I looked at the teacher in front of me and I realized that, yes, there will always be someone who knows more than me, just as there will always be someone who knows less than me…and that knowing “more” or “less” is not what is important.

What’s really important is that each time I show up, each time I bring forth my experience—the times when I’ve felt whole and the times when I’ve stumbled, the things I have learned and questioned and wondered about and lived through—those wholly authentic expressions of my life are what make me real and whole and enough. The culmination of my life has brought me here, today, and that is what I have to offer the world. And all of the things you have experienced and felt and known deep in your heart are what make you who you are—fully human and uniquely brave and certainly worthy. Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” And later in her poem, she says, “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” I read somewhere that it takes great courage to love yourself and believe in yourself, even if it takes a lifetime. Let’s all start now.

So I come back to the question: What stories have you been telling yourself and are they still true? Are they reflective of who you are, or just some background noise that you’ve forgotten is still playing?

You see, stories have an important role in our lives. They connect us to our past and to the thread that winds it’s way through all of humankind. Stories can fill the ache in our hearts and remind us of who we are, so let’s remember them and speak them often. But what is so powerful about storytelling is this: What we tell ourselves matters. So why not be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous and enough?

With love and light, may you always know that you are enough! Namaste’.

Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.

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