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Shoulds & Shoudn'ts

Hello Yogi, Let’s talk shoulds & shouldn’ts shall we? I know, I know, hard pass, I get it. But just stay with me for a minute, will ya? How often do shoulds & shouldn’ts pull you out of the present moment. How often do your shoulds & shouldn’ts turn into shame? How often do shoulds & shouldn’ts take your focus away from what’s before you (friendships, relationships, careers, hobbies…) forcing you to think they should be like some imaginary, perfect idea we have in our minds. On a daily basis, we are presented with shoulds & shouldn’ts everywhere we look. Marketing ploys telling us what they think we need and what we don’t. Experts telling us what to do and what not to do. Loved ones kindly offering help, telling us which direction to take. Tiny scuffles, constantly drawing us away from our authentic selves, away from the present moment. Yesterday, I rested. Not because I had the free time to, not because I was forced to out of exhaustion, sadness or depletion (which is usually the case,) not because I “needed” or “earned” it. But because I was happy. Because I was content. Because I was satisfied. And I wanted to sit in it. I wanted to sit with it. I wanted those feelings to wash over me, permeating my being, forming a wellspring of joy within me, creating a safe space for me to turn to whenever the shoulds & shouldn’t clouds come chasing my sun away. Damn, it did not take long for the fog to roll it. Many times, throughout my moment of rest, thoughts of what I should or shouldn’t be doing kept trying to steal my peace. My never ending todo list trying to determine if I really had the time to rest. My list of accomplishments trying to determine if I really earned this time to sit still. My list of questions trying to determine if I really deserved to just be. Numerously, I had to pause to remind myself that not all thoughts are true, not all feelings are facts. I had to coax myself off of the ledge of shame, back into the loving embrace of acceptance. Shoulds & shouldn’ts are old frenemies of mine. I’ve known them since the day I was born, in an environment that laid these lessons on me with the intention of betterment, only for me to realize that instead of them feeling like warm, loving hugs, they felt like a million little slaps in the face. So I adapted. I hid. I shrank. Because, I couldn’t uphold the heaviness of their weight, couldn’t handle watching my light burn out, couldn’t bear witness to the destruction of my authentic self. Inevitably, I became a fighter, a warrior, a survivor. Not because of the battle, but despite it. You see, many people give credit for the person they have become to the person or situation that forced them to adapt. I’m here to tell you, no, to beg you not to place the credit there. It needs to go to you, because you’re the one who did the work. You’re the one who dug yourself out of the hole. You’re the one who’s standing here today - battered, bruised, healed. Yes, HEALED, no matter how much healing is still left. As most of us survivors know, this battle becomes both external and internal. There’s a tale of two wolves. Y’all have heard me share this story before so instead of doing so again, I’ll get straight to the point. Within us are wolves of light and darkness. Spolier: the one who wins the battle is the one we feed. I now like to look at this story differently than I used to. Sure, I could starve my dark wolf, shame her about how she should or shouldn’t be behaving. But that got me no where. Until, like those heart wrenching and warming pet rescue videos, I showed up for her. I comforted her. Tried everything I could to offer her love despite her bark and bite, until she surrendered her defensiveness, dropped her shield, let down her guard and let me wrap her in the warm embrace she was seeking all along. Don’t get me wrong, she still nips, still barks, still gets scared, which often shows up in relationships of every kind - because, those are the very things that took her down in the first place. She often refers to the many lists of how things should go, how partners should act, comparing, analyzing, worrying as a form of protection. In these moments of awareness, I offer her empathy, love, understanding, grace. This soothes her spirit, fills her heart, calms her mind. Nicole Starr, you may be asking yourself, "How do you do this?" The answer - by dropping into the present. By accepting every part of ourselves while simultaneously connecting with our most authentic self. By telling the shoulds and shouldn’ts to go f**k off. By love, support and encouragement. Because the bricks of your or someone elses criticism, opinions, feedback or help will stack misaligned, until the foundation is in place, which cannot happen until the shrapnel has been cleared, until the dust settles, until the fog dissipates. Because shame cannot exist where there is support. I’m here whenever you are ready to rescue your frightened, hungry, angry wolf, Nicole Starr. A Reiki & Restore Session is a great way to do this, because while in nervous system soothing Restorative Yoga Poses, we cleanse your energy, connecting you with source, uncovering your light that's already within. Reach out anytime because, I promise, I'm not afraid of your bark. Stay in the Light, Nicole Starr


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