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activism

Mandy Ingber Mandy Ingber fitness and wellness advisor. yoga instructor. body lover.

Mandy Ingber is a fitness and wellness advisor, celebrity yoga instructor, author, and DVD star who motivates people with her light-hearted approach and unique teaching style. [www.mandyingber.com]

PostINGBER

What I look for, in myself, in my teaching, and in my learning, is integrity – the integration of all the parts of myself. In the spiritual world, the focus is often on positivity, but it can sometimes be hard to integrate our shadow sides and to understand why painful things happen to us.

It’s important to be self-expressed, to come onto the planet and be whoever we are, even with all our conflicts. My whole life has been an incredible combination of painful loss and manifested dreams. My mother was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany. Her parents survived the Holocaust then came to the U.S. I wanted to become an actress, so I studied and ended up in a Tony Award-winning Neil Simon play on Broadway when I was 15. My father taught me yoga, but he was also verbally abusive. I had a lot of pain because of him, but he also gave me so much. I’ve always tried to understand how I can love someone who hurt me so much.

It’s important to acknowledge the struggles inside myself, in part because then I can accept more of what’s happening outside myself. For instance, if there’s a war somewhere, I can understand it better if I can relate it to the war going on inside me. I can remind myself that there are parts of me that rise up and overthrow other parts of me that are very restrictive. I can relate the world to myself and try to work with it – inside and out – as peacefully as possible. In this way, I’m an internal activist.

How can I integrate the conflicting feelings and experiences within myself? How can I make the highs and lows make sense with each other? What’s the lesson here? How can something intense and tragic actually be a blessing? How can I use this experience as a mirror to see myself better? How can I be grateful? By exploring in these ways, I don’t necessarily get rid of the pain, but I learn to embrace it.

Whenever something apparently bad happens to me – a breakup, a loss, a death – I try to get on my knees and thank the universe, right away, before I even understand it, rather than running away. A saying came to me once: “Pain is God’s hand in my heart.” Sometimes I imagine that hand reaching into the center of my chest. If it’s God’s hand, then the pain is OK. It’s trying to help me.

- Mandy Ingber

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