Birth Month Reflections

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast where the guest speaker brought up spiritual bypassing. The guest explained spiritual bypassing as a way some people use yoga and meditation to escape being vulnerable and feeling tough feelings.

As I was listening, I couldn’t help but resonate. Omg this is me. I’ve been using yoga and meditation to spiritual bypass for years!

As I approach my 28th birthday, coming up this month, I can’t help but reflect on the last year. And what a year it’s been. I’ve learned so much about myself in this year. I’ve grown so much, and I think I’m much healthier overall than I was a year ago in mind, body, and spirit. And you know what? I’m EXHAUSTED. From putting so much pressure on myself to grow. Even before COVID I did this–I’ve identified myself so much as someone who actively grows that I’ve hardly been able to enjoy my life for what it is. I just want to be done growing for a while and embrace me as I am right now.

And while I do want to embrace myself as I am now, I’m also so, so grateful for how far I’ve come in the last year.

Two chief realizations I’ve taken away from this year are that I’m really bad at being vulnerable, and that I have embraced a spiritual bypassing, toxic positivity attitude for much of the last few years. And both really go hand in hand–what better way to cover up being vulnerable than with toxic positivity?

This year has taught me to be kinder to myself–and that kindness to myself translates into kindness to others. This year has taught me about boundaries. This year has taught me that the way I show up in relationships matters, but that I can also choose who I show up for.

This last year has taught me that, for far too long, I have been an incredibly unhealthy version of myself, and while I’m not solely responsible for how I became that unhealthy version of myself, I’m solely responsible for taking the initiative to heal myself. And I have been healing myself. But not completely by myself. I’ve developed closer relationships with my family and old friends, and I have developed positive relationships with new friends, and engaging in those relationships has been such a salve in my healing journey. Community, with the right people, is so, so important.

27 has been the most brutal, heartbreaking, uncomfortable year of my life, but it’s also been the most beautiful and life giving. That’s where real beauty emerges from–going through pain and discomfort. That’s why a lotus flower is such a powerful yogic symbol–how can such a beautiful flower bloom through mud? How can so much beauty emerge from so much suffering? I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I do know there is truth in them.

Right before everything shut down last year, I gifted myself a new tattoo for my birthday. At that point, COVID was so new. Nobody knew what was happening. Everyone was scared. That was back when Italy had the worst caseload. I remember the tattoo artists and other customers speculating how long it would take to get as bad in the U.S. as it was in Italy. It’s crazy to think how normalized this pandemic has become in the course of one year.

Anyways, I gifted myself with a new tattoo–two dragonflies floating around on my left inner ankle. Why dragonflies? Because they are symbols of adaptability, transformation, and change, of inner wisdom. At the time, I intuitively felt I needed the reminders these dragonflies brought in my life–and as the world started to shut down, I was thankful to have my dragonflies with me.

27 has taught me so much about growth, change, and adaptability. It has taught me to trust my inner wisdom more and more. It has taught me that yes, I do struggle with vulnerability, and I have been prone to spiritual bypassing in the past–but it’s also taught me that I can move beyond unhealthy versions of myself, that I can and will transform into the person I know I am capable of being.

And while I am tired of focusing so extensively on my inner growth, I know that I will still keep growing. I think that, when you identify as a lifelong learner and embrace a growth mindset, inner growth naturally happens–whether you’re focusing extensively on it or not.

Cheers to making it another year around the sun. What a crazy, daring, exciting life this can be if we make it so.

This picture is a few months old–taken at Shenandoah National Park in November–but it sums up the reflective feeling I wanted to encapsulate in this post.

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