“Bag lady you gon’ hurt your back/Dragging all them bags like that. I guess nobody ever told you/All you must hold onto, is you, is you, is you.”

Ooof. This song! As a yoga teacher, when I hear this song I think about aparigraha, one of the yamas in Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga which concerns the virtue of non-hoarding, non-grasping, or non-attachment.

The lesson of aparigraha is to take only what you need, hold on to just what you need in the moment, and be okay with releasing everything else, because so much of what we hold on to does not serve us

Of all the virtues that Patanjali spelled out, this is the one I’ve come back to the most in my healing journey. A big part of my healing has been letting go of expectations again and again, and learning to surrender to what is and what is unknown. 

One of the biggest things I had to let go of was the desire to get back to where I was. For some time I just wanted to “be healthy again.” But what I thought of as normal, life before I got sick, was actually what made me sick in the first place.

Once I surrendered to the possibilities that 1) I might always feel sick and 2) even if I started feeling physically awesome my life would be completely different, I experienced a new level of spaciousness. In that space, I experienced less despair, more ease, and saw new possibilities for living a life I loved while I was healing.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but you actually have to let go of the idea of wellness for a little while in order to see what you need to do to get there. Constantly search for the answer outside yourself distracts from the answers within. In order to hear the answers within, you need to slow the F down, see that you’re not in control, listen to what your body needs in the moment, and honor that request.

All you really need to heal is you so that’s actually all you have to hold on to. :)

Once a week for the next few weeks, I’ll choose a song and explore what it can teach us about healing. 🎤 For tips on how to heal yourself sign up for my email list here: https://www.noellejanka.com/contact

Listen to “Bag Lady.”