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By Victoria Lynes/Atmabir Kaur
“Accept yourself early in the morning when you look in the mirror or when you open your eyes—just say, “By the Grace of God, I am a complete woman. One affirmation only, and remember it throughout the day...”
Have you ever opened a closet in your home only to shut it again, walking away muttering, “I really must clean out that closet!” Have you ever opened up your wardrobe and been hit by a stray sweater or scarf, yet can’t find anything to wear?
My Challenge (and this is not new): A Closet Revolution
How many of us awake in the morning and feel complete? Feel worthy. Enough. Women are under a lot of pressure these days—to be everything for everybody. And still, often this is not enough. We love our kids and want the best for them. We go to the ends of the earth to provide them with everything they need to grow into decent, kind human adults. We want good marriages/partnerships—ones that last and stir in daily doses of trust, intimacy, respect and kindness.
We want to age well, dress well and host well. We want to have time for our friends, our garden, our pets, our cooking, our volunteer work, our in-laws and parents. We want to have tidy houses and well-mannered children. We want to keep our weight in check and eat healthy meals. We want to have a fulfilling job. We want to make time to travel, to dance, read and exercise daily. We want to be accepted and we want to make a difference. We want, we want.
But really, who has a life like this? What woman has this neat, tidy, organized, time-managed life, all of the above graciously fulfilled—and gets up in the morning, looks in the mirror and thinks, “I am a complete women. It is done.”? No, I don’t think so. Because there is still so much MORE on the “to do” list! The “to get” list. The “if I buy this, then I will feel complete” list. For many women, incessant shopping ensues and we end up in a heap of new clothes, trinkets, modern gadgets and travel destinations, dripping with feelings of emptiness. Why? When we are so much better than this?
As yogis and intelligent women, most of us understand how damaging the consumer machine can be for our psyche. We know not to buy into billboard images and may not even watch TV anymore. We may have grown comfortable in our own skin and do not spend hundreds of dollars on the promise of an “anti-aging” face cream. Maybe we already know that to remain young, we must do so from the inside out. Not the other way around.
However, unless you live in the remote hills of Nepal or in the deep recesses of the Amazon, it is difficult to escape the constant bombardment of messages that are aimed directly at our ego. How we should look, what we should buy, what we should drive, how we should think and act. And of course, our hungry ego jumps on the bandwagon and furthers the cause by devising how to create this perfect, complete persona on social media. You may be saying by now, “Well, that’s just not me. I’m more evolved than that.” Perhaps you are. But I can be certain that if this is not you now, it may have been you once. It has been all of us at some time.
Please do not get me wrong, I love beautiful things too. I often get caught in the illusion, even though I know better. As women we gravitate towards beauty. Beautiful clothes, beautiful houses, beautiful surroundings, beautiful this and that. The tendencies towards these things are downloaded from our soul, yet are often filtered through the ego, and then towards the mall, or the computer for online shopping.
There is an incessant need in our society to want to want. Wanting to want something to purchase to fill a void. Because if we only have it, then we will be happy. But really, we know better. I find that as yoga and meditation seeps deeper into my consciousness, I catch myself a lot more these days and seem to be able to turn my head against the constant pull of a society bent on wanting and getting; a society that is trying to sell us a better version of ourselves; a consumer machine so sophisticated that it often blankets pure common sense.
As savvy as we may have become in recognising this, shunning the mall for a yoga class, we cannot ignore it. Neither can Mums with daughters. We may feel we know better but that does not mean that they do. We have to re-live it all over again with them, hopefully steering them away from images that tell them who they are meant to be, or watching as their peers post incessantly on facebook, appearing to have an idyllic life. Definitely a life much superior from the one they are living. But of course we, as the parent, know that this is just not how it really is. But do our daughters?
I cannot imagine being a teen these days and having to navigate all this 24/7. These images live in their pockets, in their school bags and under their pillows and they are compelled to watch. Modern mothers need to be such strong role models, more so than when we were teens. The only way we knew what our “BFF” was wearing or doing was to see her down the street, not by being privy to her every thought, every purchase via a little screen.
When our daughters look in the mirror, what do they see? Do they feel complete? I would say mostly no. They often find faults, they compare, they want this thing and that to make some of the emptiness go away. Here begins the wanting to want.
Day after day, a western society so bent on youth and consuming for happiness continues to demoralise us—women and girls coming home with full shopping bags, a jacked up credit card and some short term glory. I say let’s go to our closets and wardrobes now (and our daughters’ too) and start a revolution.
You have heard it before—throw out everything you have not worn or used in a year. And do not buy anything new to replace it (including yoga clothes and all the accessories that go with it!). Stop purchasing anything aside from essentials, for a month (or forever!). No buying things on a whim; no garage sales or second hand shops either! It’s still all stuff. Stuff that weighs us down in the buying of it, the managing of it, the cleaning of it and inevitably, the storing of it.
They say a woman’s closet resembles her consciousness. How do your closets look? Clean them out and leave a shelf or two empty, just because, says Happiness writer Gretchen Reubin. Then think of all the time we could be spending on much more worthwhile pursuits such as creating beauty from within, meditation, yoga, simply being in the world rather than always doing. We are strong, powerful, graceful, radiant beings just as we are.
Old or young, rich or poor, let’s get to the essence of our primal power, our Adi Shakti nature. Let’s toss ‘buying stuff to fulfill us’ in the trash and live from the inside out. Let’s be governed by soul consciousness and connect to our gift in this precious life. Let’s make time for that by letting go of that which does not matter. Let’s stop cleaning our houses so much (except the closets!) and spend more time with our children. Let’s dance, sing and read more. Let’s spend time in nature—lots of it. Tell the ego to take a hike too. Let’s do stuff that involves nurturing our innate, inner beauty so we truly can awake in the morning, look into the mirror and believe, really believe, we are complete just the way we are. Yogi Bhajan saw it in us. Let’s see it in ourselves now…and in our children.
Okay, breathe. Now go clean your closets.
Meditation to Change the Ego. This meditation helps us identify our attachments.
Victoria Lynes/Atmabir: “I have to say that to teach has always brought me the greatest of pleasures. When I am teaching I feel the most connected to my truth - my "Sat Nam" - when I sit on my mat and gratefully share the joy and transformation of yoga with students from all walks of life. When I discovered Kundalini Yoga several years back, I resonated instantly with this powerful and profound practice. Having a busy life and being a mother of 2 growing boys, I was astounded at how a sense of peace, neutrality and strength quickly permeated so seamlessly into my daily life with the regular practice of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation.”
Internationally Certified KRI Kundalini Yoga Teacher
Level 2 Radiant Child Yoga Teacher