Holi happens every year to mark the start of Spring and to usher in new beginnings. It’s always on the full moon as well, which is a great time to release the mess that holds us back, be it thoughts, emotions, beliefs, situations, relationships, or anything that’s preventing you from being the best version of YOU. What’s more, Holi isn’t only a time to release. It’s also the season of being out with the old and in with the new, it’s a time for creation, to create, colorfully, joyfully, lovingly!
There are so many Hindu folklore stories for why we celebrate Holi. The most common story is of King Hiranyakashipu, (King HeeZee) an evil king, who believed he was God who was blessed with indestructible power by the Gods. He demanded his entire kingdom worship him. His virtuous son, Prahlada (I refer to him as “P-Money”) was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and did not follow the King’s command. He remained faithful to Lord Vishnu.
King HeeZee asked his evil sister Holika (see where I’m going with this…HOLI-ka), to aide in killing his son P-Money by sitting with him on a pyre, since Holika was immune to the fire. P-Money chanted to Lord Krishna the whole time while in the fire and, spoiler alert, he was protected and survived. The evil Holika, however, was turned to ash! Believers everywhere rejoice with a bonfire on the first day of Holi to represent the burning of evil over good. On the second day, they throw colored powder on each other signifying a colorful new beginning!
There’s another story as well about Lord Krishna. He becomes upset that he was dark and Radha, his beloved, was fair (SMH. No wonder there is an issue of colorism in our community).
Krishna’s mom tells him to color Radha’s face so Krishna puts blue colored powder on her to match his own skin color. From that day on all lovers apply colored powder on their beloved’s face to signify they are one in the same, with no color, creed, or sexual orientation separating them. OK, the last part was my interpretation, but hey, time to make these folk stories catch up with the times, amirite?
It’s not the semantics of these stories so much as the takeaway message of Holi being the celebration of the triumph of faith, goodness, and love. These stories have served as touchstones for me on how to navigate life. My interpretation of these Holi stories is to have fun, shed the nasty, and create to our heart’s imagination! So how can you do this in a practical way to live every day with positivity and purpose?
This Holi, I invite you to write everything you want to shed on a piece of paper and then throw it into a bon fire March 1st. Write down your worst fears, self-doubts, the judgments of others that you’ve allowed yourself to believe, anything that is not only preventing you from being your most AH-MAZING self but also making you feel stuck and unhappy!
After you’ve engaged in this exercise of self-release, you’ll make room for creative endeavors. You morph into a clean slate, a blank canvas, a fertile land, an empty basket… you get the point. The world is your oyster, what do you want to create? A book, a painting, a meal, a new job, a new look, a fully self-expressed life? Ask yourself, what’s waiting inside you to be created? Or as I call it, “find Your Rae” or the Rae of light inside you waiting to burst through!
Start by throwing some colored powder on yourself. If you don’t have access to any, wear bright colors, maybe put a little more makeup or a fun lipstick! Love all up on yourself. After all, you are your own lover. You’re not doing all this beautiful work to be better for someone else. Hell no! Being an extraordinary lover to someone else is a positive side effect, but that only happens after you prioritize self-love and care.
As for myself, I’ll be releasing thoughts of “log kya kahenge” (what will people think, shout out to Hasan Minaj, the struggle is real). I’ll release my attachments to labels that define my professional worth, like DPT, MT, RYT, CST (I’ve gathered letters like a bear getting ready for hibernation). I’ll also release my hair. Oh yes, it’s haircut time baby. The full moon is a great time to shed physically, too!
Real talk, I know it’s not as easy as I’m making it sound, so full disclosure, there’s work involved in breaking old habits and deep-rooted beliefs. There was a time where I thought I was bad, dark, unlovable, full of shame and unworthiness. But I learned if I keep faith in myself, the universe, and in God, then, like P-Money, I not only survive. I THRIVE. I get a chance to create the life I want now. It’s my own story of good triumphing evil.
I have read books, journaled, even prayed, done research, went to seminars, therapy, courses upon courses, and lots and lots of yoga to learn to grow into myself and create the life I love.
The biggest lesson I have is simple and that’s to practice. Practice what you want. I want a life where I’m fully expressed unapologetically in every moment. So I practice being self expressed in every moment by saying things that I’m nervous to say, doing things I want to do even if it fills my body with gut-wrenching fear. I allow myself to be vulnerable and honest.
I invite you to write your own desires for how you want to live and then take Holi as the beginning of your practice! Afterall, practice does make perfect, and the journey all the more beautiful when we practice daily in spite of challenges.
Reshma Patel is a Mind Body Therapist/Coach, with a background as a Doctor of Physical Therapy with a Pelvic Floor specialty and Multiple Certifications in Life Experience! She believes that everything from our thoughts, beliefs, actions and non-actions affect our bodies and spirits. When we can get to these roots of dysfunction that create imbalance in our bodies, we take back our power, our wonder and live to our soul (sole) potential! When she’s not writing or healing, she can be found laughing, reading, yoga-ing and mommy-ing or simply Finding Her Rae.
Want more Rae? Visit her site, I am Rae Fresh.