Keep Doing That
Love, you have wrecked my body.
I am more well with this deep ache
than content with the
you can pacify
One of the best things about stepping on this yogic path is how much more in tune you become to intuition, to the world around you, to your own body. I'm a newbie at this, even though part of me has known everything since I was a little kid and despite the fact that I've been practicing yoga for over a decade. As I learned in Ayurvedic training, we are simply re-membering, becoming again a part of the great society of which our higher selves all belong to. The answers already lie within. Like many eastern cultures inspire, we are all born divine — we just happen to forget that along the way in life because our conscious mind thinks a little too much.
I like to believe that like that everything in our lives is more of an unfolding rather than a seeking. I have a couple of pictures of myself as a little girl on my desk to remind myself that I'm aiming higher for her, and to love myself unconditionally for all the women around the world who are purely perfect just as we are. I don't want to forget the simple fact in growing up, that we are all born Divine.
Still, we're all human. As much as I'd like to pretend that's not true, so that I can live as some sort of supernova star that's just emanating good juju all the time, I have many moments of feeling like I'm imperfect and not where I want to be. To pretend otherwise is silly. We live in a culture that continually touts the unattainable to keep us wanting and striving for more, rather than being comfortable in our own skin. And, the only way to change that, is to change that. One person at a time!
I have spent all of my adult life striving to find a "perfect" physical shape that my body simply is not meant to adhere to. I have bigger thighs than I would prefer, a fuller belly than I would like, and broader shoulders than most girls I know. There's a flip side, of course. My strong thighs enable me to breast stroke in the water like you would not believe, my ample belly is a wellspring of creativity, and my shoulders mean that I can kick ass when it comes to paddling, punching, scouring up a rock wall. Still, I don't look like images in the media I see day in and day out.
I loved when I was in Costa Rica, and my friend Richard said, "What?! We don't want a girl to look like that! We like girls with curves!" It shook up my incorrect notion that all guys want girls who look like they belong on the cover of [insert your own take on whatever's the latest fitness craze/magazine].
But today, I don't feel beautiful. Instead, I feel like my hormones are preparing for my moon cycle and traditionally, in times before I came into existence on this earth, this would mean that it's quiet time, days for women to look within. (For your reference, this is also a time when yoga poses that cause blood to circulate in the other direction are not good to practice — Halasana Plow Pose or Sarvangasana Shoulder Stand are good examples.)
I feel like I want to scream "BLARGH!" and jump on my bed in frustration. I wonder why things aren't happening fast enough and why I'm so irritated by the smallest of things. The funny thing is, I'm aware this is happening, so I try to take the healthy steps to balance myself out. While I could feel proud that I wrote another chapter in my book today, instead I felt how far I am from my ultimate goal, so I gingerly stepped away from my desk and started to flow through a powerful asana sequence on my mat. When that wasn't enough to burn tapas, I put on my shoes and started running (literally) out the door towards the beach.
I saw clusters of people relaxing and sunning on the beach, and realized I wanted to be one of those people! So I stopped and meditated, asked the Universe for help and guidance. What I heard was how much the Universe loves me — regardless of what I look like or how I feel right now. I made time to lie down on the sand, taking off my tank top no matter how insecure I was feeling, so that I could bask in the warmth of natural golden replenishing energy. My higher self encouraged me to envision the rays surrounding me with exactly what I was seeking and I started to let go of tension in the corners of my eyes, in my shoulders, in my back, letting the sand envelop me and morph to support my unique needs.
I am not perfect. I can't do all of the poses I would like to do. I am not infallible or very graceful or not juicy in certain places of my body. But, I'm me. And the more human and honest I can become, then perhaps I will learn that everyone else is in a similar space at one time or another. This is how we overcome shame, and guilt, and feel more at peace with our vulnerability. This is how we truly connect with one another.
What do you do when you feel uncomfortable in your own body? Have you been able to not "do" anything at all, but just be? How can you let yourself be seen completely, without projecting how you would like yourself to be perceived?