I won't tell the Hanuman story. Just saying it in case you're expecting this. Instead I will tell you something about the qualities of a character named Hanuman. And why those qualities are deeply needed right now. In my life – and maybe also in yours too.
And you don't need to know the story, you need to know just this about Hanuman: He risked his life for his best friends Sita and Rama. He loved them so much that he conquered big fears that existed inside him. You could say, the big step, that Hanuman took across the ocean, from India to Sri Lanka, so they say, is more a huge inner step than an outer one. It is the step from fear to love.
Recently I stumbled upon a phrase from author and speaker Gabrielle Bernstein. She wrote: "Are you ready to put your greatest visions above the littleness of your fear?“. You can read the phrase and say: "Hell yes!" But then think of it next time you're confronted with a deep rooted fear inside of you and remember that question. Are you ready? Do you really see your fear as littleness? Or does it fill every part of your body - and your greatest visions become smaller and smaller?
Hanuman couldn't know what was waiting for him on the other side when he took the big step, but he did it because he turned away from his fear – what could be waiting for me there? What could happen if the step wouldn't be successful? - to the love and the urge of helping he felt for Sita. This wasn't a romantic love, but an honest deep love for the good. For everything that is right in this world. Everything that is worth fighting for.
When we conquer our fear and move towards love we have to see that everybody is on the same track – but at the same time it doesn't seem like this: In our society you can very easily get the feeling of not fitting into the tough rules – though it seems almost everybody else is fitting in. It's just you struggling. Is that true? No, everybody pretends not to struggle but nearly everybody does. Even if we realise this, it is hard to see it sometimes.
I was the same. When I was a young girl I suffered – as so many other girls and a few boys – with eating disorders. The feeling of being too fat could frighten me so much I could behave as a totally different person. How can society teach us this? How can we grow up and get that image of not being thin enough? After I managed my eating disorders I pretended that now I got it. Now I'm fine again and I can be fully part of society. Problems? I never had one... The fear that someone would realise that I struggled with something so cliché as food made me want to freeze.
But now fear got me even more. I lied to myself saying that I didn't need an extra eye on my food habits or how I feel after eating. Got it, I'm over it. I'm n-o-r-m-a-l. In my end-teen-relationships I pretended to be extra cool. Not the kind of girl who cares about what she eats. That would be silly. Not me. I felt the opposite of safe. I felt very small and as if I had no power. All the power I had, I put in the perfect picture I made up for myself. I had turned to my fears and they lived my life with me.
It took a long inner journey before I could see that my greater vision is to spread the message about a healthy body image, which has nothing to do with being thin. Through yoga and nutrition I found a way of self-acceptance and authenticity, and realised that sharing my story would not only be helpful for me but for everyone around me who had the same struggles. What if we trust that what we experience is so important that we can share it honestly? That we can lean on everybody who we share are true story with?
When you are being truly honest and let go of your limiting beliefs, what is your great vision? What is worth fighting for? Recently I feel it everywhere: We are ready for more trust – in ourselves, in others in the nature around us, the life, the love. We are looking for authentic, honest people, we Yogis name it „sangha“. Togetherness in a community of likeminded people. That is what we want to create in yoga – and my biggest aim is to not be picture perfect but authentic.
When I ask myself how Hanuman took that huge step I think of an universal trust in love. This truly touches me. He did not have a image he was trying to live up to – not something society told him. The decision came from inside of him. This is the big difference we can see while practicing yoga. It's tuning in to ourselves – not grasping after an image or ideal that we try to live up to. It's exactly the contrary.
If we listen just a little bit more to our inner voices, that is what can make us strong. We always have the choice how we want to (re)act. If we dare to take the big step to Sri Lanka. Or little baby steps - we might swim there. But whatever we do – we have to keep on moving from the inside.
Are you ready to take the big leap to Sri Lanka like Hanuman did? You can join Steffi Grube & Natascha Kiessler there for a beautiful retreat 1-8 April 2017.