Get Empty.

March 13, 2014

Filed Under: Personal

Before I get into the real meaty part of this post, I just need to let you know that I was completely overwhelmed by your responses to my “Bad Days” post. Each time I compose a piece of writing focused primarily on my thoughts, it comes wrapped with intense feelings of insecurity, fear, and self-doubt. So I want to say “thank you”. You all inspire me more than you know, and I am grateful for your thoughtful minds and kind hearts. If I haven’t yet replied to an email you sent me, please know that I plan to. I prefer to do so after I’ve had some time to process so I can respond intentionally, giving your sweet messages the consideration and reverence they deserve.


So about that minor yoga revelation I had awhile back that I referred to in this post – I would like to return to that topic. It’s unusual for me to compose personal posts only a couple days apart, but this “humble epiphany” (as a I previously labelled it) is something I thought of on a day that I was in a very particular mood. Since then, I have been unable to return to a place where I felt I could write about it genuinely … until now. Feeling compelled to tackle this topic again, I revisited the short notes I jotted down that day and was surprised to find that they were simply composed of fifteen words. Brief, but enough for me to recall what I was experiencing and completely relate to it again.

Raise toes, breathe in. Bend knees, breathe out. Get empty. Go for it. Jump light.

Those of you who practice yoga may know exactly what this is describing. That moment in downward dog when sweat is dripping up your face – oh, you don’t sweat as much as I do? hm … well, try to imagine this scenario then – you feel as though you are single-handedly drowning yourself from the salty droplets filling your nose and eyes and then you are encouraged to add tension into your body by bending your knees while simultaneously forcing every last ounce of breath out of your lungs. After you find yourself completely empty, fix your eyes on where you want your feet to go and jump forward – plant your feet lightly.

I find this position just before the leap to be incredibly straining. Sometimes my mind races, my body shakes, and feelings of panic begin to arise, and other times I’m able to settle in to this tension-filled emptiness. I’ve begun to observe that my mental state in this position directly affects the execution of my leap forward. If I don’t discourage these feelings of crippling anxiety, I often land unsteadily and clumsily. However, if I approach this simple movement in confidence, allowing myself to accept the tension of the position, I can effortlessly propel myself forward, sticking my feet back onto my mat steadily with hardly a sound. Another factor that plays into my success in this simple motion is if I really allow my lungs to be completely void of breath. When I think I’ve reached the bottom of my exhale, I expel a little more. Once I’m truly drained and embracing the emptiness, my body propels forward lightly and swiftly. I have to completely let go.

I feel I can directly relate these feelings to my life. (You had to know this was coming. I’m unapologetically full of analogies.) If I frantically attempt to hold on to that which is meant to be released, if I harbor tension and anxiety, it’s impossible for me to move forward gracefully. It is completely crucial to empty myself of every last bit of breath in order to fully embrace the next one – a fresh one. Lately this mentality has helped me look at negative circumstances more positively. Whether something in my life needs to be willingly released or is actually taken from me, I try to look at it as one of those last bits of breath that has to be expelled in order for me to leap steadily – and lightly.

Broken relationships. Get Empty. Financial Struggle. Get Empty. Unfulfilled Dreams. Get Empty. Illness. Betrayal. Perceived Failure. Get Empty, Get Empty, Get Empty. And just when you think you’ve released everything, you might be challenged to get rid of more. Take it in stride. Let it out … and find where you want to go from there. Fix your eyes upon the spot you’d like to plant your feet next, then go for it – Jump light.

9 Responses to “Get Empty.”

  1. Annalise says:

    Reading your words is such an encouragement. Thanks for being vulnerable and for always giving me something to think about over the past 2 years that I have been a reader of Sidewalk Ready!

  2. Erin says:

    beautifully well spoken, powerful and uplifting.

  3. Kate says:

    From one yogi to another — beautiful. Thank you for this!

  4. Ashleigh says:

    Wise words to live by Kaylee.

  5. Yvonne says:

    This is beautifully written, Kayley. I am sure you help more people than you could ever imagine and I appreciate your analogies, tremendously :).

  6. Megan says:

    Brilliant post. It is so true. I feel this sense of “empty” every time I leave the Funky Buddha. But in a good way. It’s an intoxicating and addicting feeling!

  7. sasa says:

    Agree! Love the post:)

    New on

  8. Tati says:

    This is so beautifully written. I need to start writing again, but I really don’t know how to jump back in and abandon my inabitions about it. But I get so much information from the writing that I read, and you’re short pieces breathe life into that part of me that just wants to write until my hand falls off! So thank you, so much.

  9. Katherine says:

    I have a quote for you that I was reminded of when I read the words “perceived failure” in this post. It’s from a graduation speech Conan O’Brien gave, where he was talking about perceived failures/ideals:

    “It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique.”

    Also, I’m a grad student at UM, and I spend most of my days in North Quad so I love this picture!

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