"The obstacles of your past
can become the gateways
that lead to new beginnings."
How heavy is the weight of what you carry? The past, the hurts, the shame, the guilt, the regret, the questioning? How much does it anchor you in a way that prevents you from soaring in the present? For me, it's become quite apparent, that the huge burden I hold over my back is breaking and I find myself at a crossroads, where I can either move forward towards the life I have always wanted, or wallow in wondering why the past wasn't the way I wished it could have been.
Over the past couple of weeks, my beau and I have had several meaningful discussions. Two nights ago, I pointed out that I feel I need to be with someone who needs me more than he does.
"I don't feel like you're asking that we should both be more vulnerable for the health of our relationship, but more like you're asking me to need you more than you need me, so that you can feel safer," he observed. "I do need you, I need you in ways that seem very substantial to me, but perhaps they don't look like the way you'd like them to."
We continued our dialogue, about the ways in which being with me has brought to light much of his past behavior in every type of relationship and how he'd like to shift things in a way that's healthier, more considerate, more mature. He's clear about the ways in which he could grow, what he would like for the both of us moving forward, and how he has been upfront with me from the start.
The more he talked, the more I could see once again how the Universe offers up just the right opportunity to become who we have the potential to be.
"You are so much more than you ever see," he continued. "You think your past defines you, that the worries and the hurt are what make you who you are, and that is not who you are. You are this brilliant and amazing and fun person who you can't seem to see, because you are holding the weight of your past so tightly that it blocks everything else out. And, you keep bringing the past into the present, so that it continues to affect your every day — our everyday."
And he's right. I started to see it in the way that I teach, where I talk so much about healing and moving through old wounds and how to come into wholeness again — all of which I still think are absolutely important — but my teaching seemed to stop there. I wasn't bringing more joy into the situation, only more peace and acceptance. I wasn't infusing the practices with fun, with laughter, with all the reasons people in my life love me when I give myself permission to let go.
"I feel that I love not only all the good things about you, but am also learning how to love the things that are challenging. I believe that I can. Can you do that for me?"
One of the greatest mirrors that my beau has held up to me has been to see with extreme clarity the ways in which I treat myself with such biting criticism and pressure for perfection that it leaves no room for error. This inability to make a mistake means that guilt and shame are constant byproducts of the way in which I live my life, and it pervades everything inwardly and outwardly to the point that my business coach cautioned that such behavior taints not only the way I interact with the rest of the world, but also how others will interact with me. Part of this is a cultural trait, a fervent "must-get-it-right" attitude that my beau and I discuss quite frequently, but the other part of this reveals my lack of connection and trust in the Universe that things are, have always been (this part's the kicker), and will always continue to be okay.
Can I do that for my beau? Even more importantly, can I do it for myself? Can I let go of wishing that the past would have been different in order to make up a better future? As Robert Holden said, "Sometimes, in order to be happy in the present moment, you have to be willing to give up hope for a better past." Can I do that?
Today, my friend took me to a suspension bridge where we played around and started swinging it side-to-side with our weight. She encouraged me to do a bit of yoga, so that she could take a picture and I thought it was a great idea. "Wait, let's wait for the people to walk past," she encouraged, before I began to move into asana.
Several hours later, I realized that's exactly where I've been and what I'm doing in my life — standing directly in the middle, waiting for people to pass on through, so I can do what I want to do.
To my left is where I came from, all of the experiences that have brought me to this moment. To my right is the potential for where I'm going, a place where I can enjoy the benefits of my svadhyaya (self-study). But what I do, day in and day out, is sway one way and then the other, yet never commit to getting off that bridge, to taking the steps to cross over. I bide my time with being afraid to truly move in either direction and accept what is. Instead, I watch as other people's lives continue to move forward while mine sways still.
The recent experiences in my relationship have brought me to this ringing epiphany that I've been constantly waiting for that perfect shot, the one where no one else is in the frame but me, so that I can make it look as picture perfect pretty as I can. Without realizing it, the creative direction I've given to myself and to others around me for many years has been to give myself permission (subtly, quietly) to wallow in the middle of this bridge, where it looks amazing on the outside without having to make a decision on the inside.
Now, I have to make a choice. Do I want to spend my life making everything look nice or do I actually want to get off being suspended in mid-air to put my feet on solid ground? It's not a question of whether I can or can't do it, it's a matter of whether I really want to, if I will finally make that very, very grown up decision to truly, finally, leave my past behind and dance my way into the future.
Can I love me for all of who I am? Can I love my life for all of what it is? Can I love my beau for all of who he is?
Yes, I can.
And, I will.