By: Danielle Wilson
It’s okay to be empty.
It’s okay to be empty.
It’s okay to be empty.
These words were spoken this morning in regard to the pause after an exhalation of breath, as I sat, eyes closed, on my mat. Most days, the words of wisdom extended in a yoga class are simply acknowledged and appreciated on my end. It takes the genuine alignment of my Self (mind, body, and soul), the atmosphere, moment, energy, instructor, and the particular stringing of words, as well as how they are expressed, for wisdom or inspiration to resonate with me in a way that catalyzes a significant internal shift.
That’s how these five words, “it’s okay to be empty,” hit me this morning.
After a quick business trip out of town, which consisted of six hours of driving both there and back, and eight hours of deeply focused work in between, I woke up this morning feeling completely drained. My body was sore and achy from being cooped up in the car for so long, while my mental and emotional bodies felt completely numb, almost zombified. I knew yoga was exactly what I needed, even though my energy was nowhere near the place it usually is when I step into the studio. I woke up late, leaving just enough time to wash up, feed my cats, throw on some clothes, and get out the door. I’m a diehardbreakfast person, so leaving the house knowing that I was going to practice on an empty stomach was bothersome to me—although, had I had the energy, it would have been massively irritating.
I was empty; every portion of my being on emotional, mental, and physical levels cultivated the very essence of the word. The thought, ‘I literally feel half human right now,’ must passed through my mind en route to the studio more times than I could count. Surprisingly enough, I wasn’t really judging myself for it, as that’s something I’ve been intentionally working on lately. I was just kind of floating through all the empty space, trying to be with it, hoping that time spent on my mat would ground me, and reconnect me to my sense of Self in time, space, and otherwise.
Then, there it was, “it’s okay to be empty.” In the moment those words fell upon the space, I felt the pinch of my lungs wanting to gasp for air, the curling in my stomach as it sat in discomfort, the numbness in my heart for being too exhausted to even feel, and the flatline of my thoughts that were too tired to run their usual race, and I surrendered. I gave in to the vast and desolate spaces of my being and started to recognize the true beauty of embodying emptiness. I realized that while releasing judgement of myself for running on fumes was a huge step towards freedom and Self-love, it didn’t necessarily mean I was being where I was at. In actuality, I was going to yoga to try to pull myself from where I was at. Yes, I really did need some grounding, and yes, at some point it would have been imperative for me to reconnect to that within, but all of that is meant to happen in its own time, just as emptiness comes and goes without effort or intention.
Being with my overwhelming sense of emptiness was only achieved when I simply became okay with it. I sat in it, and as I practiced, I continued to steep in utter emptiness until the ebbs and flows of the Universe brought something else for me to sit in. I know that I was finally, in fact, experiencing being with where I was at because I watched as my perspective of it all started to expand. Emptiness soon became synonymous with a clean slate, a fresh start, a place in which anything and everything could manifest right before my eyes. It was no longer a place of scarcity to fear or nothingness to be ashamed of.
The mere acceptance of my being empty quickly and organically transformed my mindset into one of infinite abundance and possibility. I went beyond not judging myself for how I got to the place I was in, and stopped forcing, hoping, trying, or intending to be anywhere else. Through that, I fostered a sense of love and compassion for the emptiness I felt, saw it as something helpful rather than hindering, and grew excited for the prospect of a day where truly anything is possible.
How enlightening is to realize that through surrendering to what is, we can open up the opportunity to step into all that isn’t? We can feel and see beauty in all states of being, and just begin to float as a rock in the stream of life passing by. I encourage you to notice the states of being that make you want to flee. Notice them, and then remind yourself that it’s okay. Sit in the okayness of it all and watch as your perspective expands into that which promotes learning, growth, contentment, and abundance. In my experience, each time my mind becomes more open towards that which once brought me dis-ease or discomfort, the more love I manifest for my Self, my life, and the world around me. It starts within, and sometimes, it even starts with emptiness.