I learned something this week. No, wait, I experienced something this week, which is entirely different. I’ve spent the last few years pushing myself to learn more about the gospel, about God, about Christ, and about personal growth. And I have learned so much and grown in many ways because of it. But this week, I actually experienced a change that taught me something about the atonement and Jesus Christ that I never got from all the theory. Let me explain…
As I have waited and waited for a baby to come into our lives, I’ve had lots of opportunities to grow what I will call “negative energy” inside. I would like to think that I have avoided much of the negativity, but I know plenty of it wedged itself into my heart anyway. Since reading an amazing book my dad gave me, I finally have a way to verbalize this process.
The author, Michael Singer, talks about energy passing through us with each experience we have. Much of the energy from our day-to-day experiences passes right through us without issue because it isn’t tied to an emotion. We see a tree, we drive to work, we buy groceries, we talk to neighbors, etc. But occasionally something happens to cause that energy to get blocked in us. The driver behind us honks angrily at us, the neighbor says something offensive, etc. Suddenly, we have negative energy that builds inside of us until we resolve the problem, whether by dealing with it as required or choosing to let it go.
Without that resolution, this energy can remain within us even without us realizing it. We may think we’ve moved past the issue, but down the road, something pops up to remind us of it and we feel those exact negative feelings all over again. This is proof that the issue (the “blockage”) remains.
Now think of this in terms of the big problems we all face, whether they are difficult relationships, injuries/health problems, death of a loved one, things we feel ashamed or embarrassed about, financial problems, etc. What if you continue to have negative experiences related to whatever your big problem is and they continue to remain unresolved? Can you imagine the kind of blockage that results then? We must find a way to release these blockages, large and small if we are to be at peace.
At this point, let me say that my infertility, while the biggest trial I have faced so far in life, is an issue that pales in comparison to problems many others face. But because it provided me the best experience I have to draw on, I’d like to use it as an example in this “energy/blockage” idea by telling you what happened this week.
I’ve spent a lot of time praying for resolution in the matter of infertility, whether through just finally getting pregnant (for crying out loud) or an increased ability to emotionally move past the pain (not my preferred choice, but whatever). Last Sunday I prayed a particularly fervent prayer during church, in which I approached God with an exchange. Could I offer Him this burden of expectation and worry that I carry around each day and could He replace it with His peace, His strength, or just more of Himself in me? That’s what the atonement does, right?
Nothing significant happened at the time, but I did feel the Spirit really strongly throughout the rest of the meeting. Surprisingly though, the rest of the day brought feelings of sadness, fatigue, and frustration. I couldn’t sleep. Something was boiling inside me, threatening to erupt at a moment’s notice.
The feeling persisted the following day, but I kept feeling this instinct, this urge to get to a yoga class. My mind was on the “heart-openers” we do and I knew that was what I needed figuratively: a heart opening. I finally made it to a class in the evening and while it was crowded and extra hot, I was in my zone and feeling good and strong. After a few difficult poses, we were doing a twist. I suddenly felt a twinge of pain in my abdomen — the source of my pain, worry, fear, and sadness for so long. As the flash of pain hit, my instinct was to worry that something must not be right inside me, that maybe my body is still not ready to carry a baby.
In that moment, a distinct thought came to me: let go of that worry and release it to God. Give Him the burden and be done with it. It’s not serving you, you don’t need it.
I didn’t think about it, it just happened. The blockage in my heart and gut bubbled up and through the next few poses, the feeling remained so strongly. Then, I physically felt it leave me. I felt lighter, more open, even purged. As sweat and tears streamed out of me, it seemed that the burden was just one more thing being released.
I suddenly felt like a distinctly new person. The burden of expectation and worry was gone.
Now… three things:
1) The power of release and renewal, the healing power, that allowed this to happen was not mine–it was God’s power. Yes, I needed the faith and the desire (two things I’ve given a lot of thought to since this happened) but I really just needed God. And more practically, I needed to learn how to give God access to my heart.
2) I don’t naively expect to never feel sadness about this problem again. I know I will continue to feel all the emotions associated with it, and that’s okay. The challenge will be to continually find access to this source of release and renewal more often. When I do feel the negative energy, can I remember how to release it right away and stop letting it get blocked inside me?
3) Do I think that yoga was the reason I was able to access this power? Not necessarily, but maybe yes. Yoga offers something to my soul that nothing else does. It provides the opportunity for my mind to just. stop. thinking., which leaves space for God to reach in and access my spirit. Maybe yoga can do that for you, or maybe there’s another way you can quiet your brain enough to let God in.
This is the first time I have experienced the actual working of the atonement in such a tangible way. I’ve learned the theory of it over and over and appreciated its beauty, but now I see that it actually works. My experience gives me a knowledge I didn’t have before. I know now that it is possible for God to heal us. We all need God’s healing in one way or another, but I see now that He is ready to freely give it — we just need to provide Him access.