Let go. Move Forward With an Empty Slate: Karen Stelmak 

“I’m now looking forward instead of back because there’s nothing I can change or do differently that’s happened. I just need to move forward. The fact that I have a blank canvas is exhilarating. I’m cleaning out the old and I’m moving in the new. 

It’s a huge sense of comfort knowing I have this big great yogi community; so many friends and acquaintances that have supported me. Jenn King has been HUGE in my recovery: going through this grief process, giving me space, and then allowing me to use her shoulder to to lean on. It’s really just been incredible. It makes me overwhelmed with gratitude, and knowing that if I didn’t lose my husband I wouldn’t be here right now. I’d be somewhere different in my life….and I’m grateful to be here. I really am. 

Having a blank slate, recreating me; my life, and looking forward — anything is possible. Nobody has to like what I do with my life except for me. It’s so freeing in realizing that, and in really believing that, and living my life this way. Wow, this is my inspiration. I can do whatever the frick I want. Anything! 

All of this is good. This is a good thing for me right now. 

I can create and recreate whatever I want. I’m a YES to re-dedicating myself to thinking this way. It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative circumstances, and instead of dragging all that negative stuff in, to just let it go and think positive and know that I have so much left in front of me that I don’t want to waste. Sometimes I can be sitting and thinking: ‘I’m so afraid of things — what am I going to do, and how am I going to do it?’, and then, just getting rid of that fear, and like I said to my students today teaching, ‘Step both feet into the fire and just do it. Be afraid, but still do it anyway. Then, all of a sudden you realize you’re not afraid and you’re feeling alive and free and just…open.’ 

…Gosh, ‘stepping into the fire’. I definitely feel anxious about it, but on the same hand, anxiety may be excitement as well: cleaning out my garage, just BEING; having that blank slate; the freedom to create anything that I want and to really go big with no limitation of fear or anxiety — and have it be all of faith and hope. 

To be able to trust and have faith in yourself; faith in everything, that no matter what things are at the moment, to just believe that: I’m suppose to be where I am at this moment. And for whatever those reasons are, just to have faith and know this is where I’m meant to be…Not to be afraid of where I am, and to feel excited about my future and creating it for no other person, but just for me. 

Everybody should be in that experience at some point in their life: to be able to create themselves how they want to be and to be THAT. 

Going forward, I put my focus on not having it have to be perfect all the time — to be able to go skiing and fall and not be all upset because I fell, or afraid that I’m going to fall. Just to go with it. 

Fall, and feel open and free, and no matter how it turns out, that’s just how I’m doin’ it: without judging myself, and letting all that crap go, and keep facing my future instead of looking back at my past.” 

Follow Karen’s story on Instagram: @Karenyogi 

This interview was conducted by Jen Morabito of The Self Stories; providing yoga practitioners with the opportunity to share their stories as they realize and live in the infinite benefits of the physical asana practice of yoga, meditation, self inquiry & realization. Read more of The Self Stories here.