I was a do-er… a fixer… a task oriented driver… a make it look a certain way, seek acceptance from others, beat myself up kind of person. I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know where I fit in, I didn’t know what my purpose was, or if there was one. I was the person who endured life instead of genuinely loving it.

What changed? What happened? How did I shift from thinking the world was against me, everyone hated me, everyone “got it”… except for me,… into the person I am now?

The word Tapas comes to mind. Tapas in Sanskrit means “to heat”, it can also mean inner cleansing, change, or transformation. This last definition, which feels like a cheese grater up my spine, because I HATE THE WORD DISCIPLINE… but tapas can also mean a journey of self discipline. (There, I said it!)

Deborah Adele gives an example of tapas through the example of a controlled burn. Often times farmers will do controlled burns to burn off seemingly dead land to bring about new growth, new life and beauty, a new beginning. An important part of a controlled burn is testing the speed and direction of the wind prior to lighting the match… you must have a safe environment in order to heal, learn and grow.

I’m not suggesting that we destroy ourselves in order to create a new and better life, but rather that we allow life and the opportunities it provides us, to experience this refining process within ourselves.

When trials come,…. and I like to refer to trials as opportunities for growth, for change, our own personal furnace or fire, … we can decide for our selves whether we are ready to walk into them with courage, choosing to stay, allowing ourselves to feel, to learn, to be stretched, to grow and to then walk away a little purer, a little more refined, a lot wiser, with our heads held high, knowing we did it! WE DID IT! We didn’t check out, we didn’t run, we didn’t blame or deflect or stuff…. We simply observed the storm coming over the horizon, faced into it, and stood peacefully, majestically, and with courage…. Not a bad-ass kind of courage, but rather a soft kind of courage that comes from knowing who we are, loving our self, and FEELING that we are part of the Divine.

For some reason, life takes the perfect soul we were born with and through all of our experiences, trials, cultures, communities and relationships, creates layers and layers of beliefs about ourselves that simply are not true. Somehow, or for some reason, all of the noise, clutter, chaos and distractions cause us to feel as if we live in a fog. We are unable to feel grounded, connected or at peace. We begin to feel as though we reside in that circus in our head and we see no way out… to the point that our only chance to relax is with some ability to check out, whether it be though exercise, drugs, alcohol, porn, tv, music and a million other “coping mechanisms”, we start to hold onto things that no longer serve us as we live in fear.

Where did the peace and quiet go? Where did our child-like ability to act from a place of authenticity disappear to? Remember when you weren’t afraid to say what you needed? Remember when coloring or simply smelling the roses wasn’t a waste of time? What happened to having a favorite color, a favorite animal or a favorite candy? How do we get so lost in others that we lose our self? When did the boundaries of our lives become so entangled with those around us that we no longer even recognize when God is trying to speak to us because our minds are so full of worry for others as we relentlessly try to protect them from their feelings?

This past week I have been beyond blessed to sit with 37 beautiful women, in small group settings, as we begin our journeys inward… to that place where we can re-discover WHO WE ARE. I am in awe over the similarity in every single story. “I don’t know who I am.” “I don’t know what my purpose is.” “ I feel as if I live in the white static between radio stations”.

I am extremely humbled to be in the presence of so many beautiful souls and to feel of the love God has for them. As I have learned to let go, stopped trying to control, and tried to quit protecting others from their feelings, as I have allowed life’s experiences to begin to heat, refine, and purify myself, as I have learned and been lead to teachers who have taught me how to “choose to stay”, and as I have cleared away enough distractions to enable me the clarity to feel, listen, and act, according to God’s will…. I have found myself in the middle of the most incredible experience I have ever witnessed. I feel as though I am in a dream and at any moment I will wake up and find it was an illusion.

Somehow, and cannot tell you exactly when, I felt or heard… or something I cannot describe…. I needed to have a studio in my basement, to provide a place to share the gifts God has given me with others.

Life is so much different when there is space between the notes…. The music is sweet and it fills my soul with more joy than I can express.

One year ago, this month, I felt I needed to start a blog… a place to compile the whisperings of the spirit that were coming into my soul. Because I listened and acted, patterning occurred. As I listened, found the courage to face into the storms and chose to stay, to feel through the discomfort, new life emerged and I am in awe over the incredible way I am seeing God’s miracles everyday because of it. “Embracing Adversity”, my blog, has turned into “Courage to BE” yoga studio.

I am learning self-discipline as I have learned to enter the opening of the heated funnel, feeling myself choose to stay rather then run, hide, or check out, as I swirl into the tightness and heat of feeling each emotion, and then the unexplainable bliss and awe that comes from shooting out the small opening of the opposite end into the wide and eternal expanse of awakening, learning to recognize and feel truth in my body. My understanding of self-discipline has shifted from “white-knuckling”, to moving from a place of love… to seeing and recognizing the joy that comes from loving myself and consequently, consistently making choices that move me closer to being the person I know deep inside has always been there, but was lost.

I am not a Star Wars fan but I do love one particular quote from Rey, she says, “Something inside me has always been there and now it’s awake… I don’t know what it is or what to do with it”. While I cannot relate to R2D2 or C3PO, this quote resonates within me. There has always been something inside of me whispering… “you are enough, stop keeping yourself small, you have gifts, share them, you are divine… You are a daughter of God.” It has taken 47 years to learn to be quiet enough to hear.