Saturday, May 17, 2014

angels everywhere

in december 2012 my sister visited me in sydney for christmas. she cried on the day she was scheduled to leave, telling me she didn't feel like she could leave me. when i asked why, she said:
because i feel like you don't love yourself enough.
that one sentence broke my heart and tortured me. for at least a year.

at first i denied it. i tried to convince myself she was wrong. i tried to tell myself that she just saw me at a bad time. i tried to believe that i was happy.

but the reason that sentence kept such a firm place in my mind was because i felt its truth.

i didn't love myself enough. i didn't love my body enough. i was judging myself constantly; i wasn't accepting of anything.

today i went on yoga retreat with kelli. while there, i pulled off my shirt (it was HOT today; take that north american winters--our winter made me STRIP!). after pulling off my shirt, i walked back to her house with only a bra top on. and then i sat there, hunched over, crumpled up a bit on the floor, chatting with everyone for a while.

i didn't really notice anything, but kelli made everyone stop and look at me, saying: look how beautiful spring is; look how she's just sitting there, so comfortable in her own body. look how she doesn't care about fat rolls!

ok. maybe she didn't say "fat rolls" ... but my crazy-mind heard her say that. my crazy-mind was all "oh, now that i'm not stick-skinny you want to call attention to it, bitch?!" ok. again, i'm kidding. kind of.

it's still hard for me to hear some things. being called beautiful because i'm comfortable looking not-skinny didn't used to be my idea of an ideal compliment. but it's actually one of the most beautiful things for me to hear now. (and only a tiny bit hard not to argue back to.)

about two weeks ago another one of my friends touched my belly affectionately. i didn't really notice that either. but he said to me: "oh my god. look at you! you didn't violently suck your stomach in!" i just smiled, wondering what all the fuss was over. but, after hearing it again today, i am starting to hear it: all these tiny shifts are working. i'm shifting this stuff for real. don't get me wrong--it's still there; but maybe it isn't crushing me any more.

themes of retreat today, which are all relevant here: 1) we can shift this shit; we have the power to align with our higher versions of ourselves if we 2) show up and fucking participate in the practice and 3) choose that we want to make that shift happen, because after all, why not 4) start today--instead of waiting until tomorrow to be better?

and so we all meditated about something that we wanted for ourselves in our lives. mine? "i am acceptance." why? because i don't want to judge others. i don't want to judge myself. i want to live without shame (body-shame, self-shame, comparative shame). i want to sit there in my bra top, see my reflection in the window, and be like, FUCK YEAH! (instead of FUCK!). (that's a kelli-ism, stolen from one of her students.)

kelli has this story about the song "gabriel" by lamb. i won't tell you her story, because it is totes hers, but there is this image from her story she tells that haunts me: she is in the rain, pounding her feet to this song: pounding out shame. pounding through feelings. just trying to stop the pain; stop the feeling; and get fucking THROUGH it.

that image just resonates through me. and when i hear that story, i cry. i feel what she feels. i know that experience. it hurts.

but i LOVE hearing that story. i asked her to tell it tonight, at the end of our one day retreat. the vulnerability that she has to work through in that story is inspiring. and i feel that inspiration echo through me in the lyrics (partially copied below):

I can fly
But I want his wings
I can shine even in the darkness
But I crave the light that he brings

I can love
But I need his heart
I am strong even on my own
But from him I never want to part

these lyrics also break my heart though. because it's so true: i have the power to do this, to get through it, to shift, to change, to align with my best self. but, i also want that help. any angel that will stand by me and endure it with me is always welcome.

and the awesome thing about that is that i have fucking angels everywhere. all of my friends. kelli, as a teacher and an inspiration. and me. i have myself.

i am enough on my own; i have the power; i choose to believe it: i am acceptance.

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