After many conversations this week I have come to realize that so many of us believe ourselves to be inherently broken, interminably unloveable, and imperfect in a world searching for perfection.
I can’t say that I am committed to any particular religion, but the one message that seems to stand out for me is from the Buddhist tradition…I believe in our Basic Goodness. This concept says that at our core, who we truly are, that we are all inherently good.
I was teaching a yoga class the other night and as all my beautiful student yogis were laying peacefully in savasana, breathing evenly, eyes closed, still and perfect, I looked toward the back of the room to a paper lantern. This lantern, at its heart, has a soft white incandescent bulb that softly glows through the paper and the bamboo design wrapped around the outside. The glow of the bulb is soft and gentle but the light there is different than as it radiates out.
There is a core of light.
A core of purity.
A core of basic goodness.
And as I sat there staring at the light, entranced by the metaphor it was alluding to, I wanted to jump up and pull my yogis out of their peaceful savasana to let them know that this lantern was them!! It was all of us and each of us! We all have our gentle, soft light glowing at our core. This exists in all of us and always has.
We are perfect, unfettered, loveable, generous, connected and pure. We just have to be revealed! Layers of learning started when we were small children and we were told we “ask too many questions”, we are “too talkative”, “temper tantrums” will be punished.
We started to make ourselves smaller.
We started to hide.
We started to veil our perfect little white lights.
And even worse, we started to believe in our brokenness. Further layers of learning happened when we experienced our first heartache and learned to protect our hearts; our first rejection when we promised to never allow ourselves to be that vulnerable again; our first failure when we decided that we would never try something we were uncertain of. All of this learning has cloaked our white lights in darkness, kept us from loving fully, kept us from experiencing joy and happiness, kept us in suffering.
This belief in our brokenness shows up in our language, our relationships, and most powerfully in our relationship with ourself. But we are not broken. We simply need to commit to unlearning what we’ve learned! We were wrong! We were misinformed! And we need to create daily ritual around practicing something different.
We need to celebrate our Basic Goodness and celebrate the goodness in one another.
We need to practice gratitude and self acceptance in the place of self pity and self deprecation.
We need to replace judgement and defensiveness with compassion and vulnerability.
We need to stop trying to protect ourselves because it comes at the cost of sacrificing the things we all truly desire…to be loved and to be enough. So start your ritual today…you are perfect, loveable, authentic, powerful, connected, significant as you are. And you are definitely not broken.