What I Learned From An Insult

by Sol Ballard

Lately I have been spending lots of time at Sivananda Yoga Retreat Ashram located right off the beach near my home in Paradise Island. I have been participating in their Karma Yoga Program where I partake in self-less service and have been gaining a deep understanding of spirituality and life.

If you follow me on Instagram, (you totally should if you are not) you can’t help but to notice my great appreciation for this heavenly place. Not only does it vibrate with amazing energy and it’s a source of knowledge and wisdom but I also get to meet and work closely with people from all over the world on a daily basis.

It is awesome! I get to learn about other people’s journeys and we get to grow on the spiritual path together. I’ve met some of the coolest people on the planet at this place.

With all the people who travel to study Yoga and its philosophy at this place, I’ve also met people with a different background and upbringing then mine.

One day, I was deep in conversation with a lady I met while enjoying dinner.

She asked me about my racial background and I explained that my mother is Mexican and my father is black.

She then asked, “Do you know where in Africa your ancestors are from because your nose is kinda big…” She finished that sentence but I didn’t listen. My mind stayed stuck on the “your nose is kinda big” part.

I was taken aback.

Did she really just say that, I asked myself. I politely wrapped up the conversation and went on my way.

That night I found myself obsessing about that lady’s comment. I didn’t know whether to feel offended or not.

It’s just her opinion, it doesn’t mean anything, I told myself.

That didn’t cut it. Truth is her comment had triggered an old insecurity of mine. I have never really liked my nose.

When I went home I found myself looking in the mirror, staring at my nose from every angle. As if my perspective on my nose would change the more I examined it.

Then I came to the conclusion that I was tired of dealing with this insecurity and perhaps I should just get a nose job. I spent the next few nights Google-ing the details of the procedure.

Days later it dawned on me, it was easier for me to undergo an invasive surgical procedure than to learn to love my face just as it was. Because surely, that is exactly what the world needs right now, more people with man made faces.

My mind then cited my transformational growth.

Years ago, I heavily relied on quick fixes. When I couldn’t seem to handle another moment of my life, I self-medicated with alcohol. Easy fix.

When friends and family asked me to stop living the way that I was living, I tuned them out and vowed to never speak to them again. Another easy fix.

When things didn’t seem to go right for me, I resorted to hating myself. Yet another easy fix, because loving myself was way too much work.

I put a bandaid on everything!

I learned the hard way that a quality life is not built with quick and easy fixes. A life of bliss is reached, not by always taking the easy way out, but by staring fear in the face, rolling up my sleeves, and getting to work.

A life of flow means putting in the time and the labor required. It means not numbing the pain, but using the adrenaline of the pain as energy to work hard towards a life beyond my wildest dreams.

I’ve learned that every obstacle in life requires a deeper level of understanding and profound level of love to mend. The secret is having the courage and the willingness to understand and having the heart to love.

As I witnessed myself having a quick fix moment, I had a change of heart about the surgery and then realized how silly that thought was.

No more easy ways out, because these paths are misery in disguise. At the end there is always a price you have to pay for the convenience. That price is never a bargain.

Days later while preparing for bed I gazed in the mirror and smiled.

My nose is only a problem if I make it a problem, I thought to myself. I love it in every way.

I silently blessed and thanked the “you kinda have a big nose” lady for reminding me of this valuable lesson and called it a night.


Sol looking in mirror


1 Comment

  • montibello

    Reply Reply December 11, 2014

    My favorite of all your post thus far… A great reminder that God and the Universe doesn’t make mistakes!

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