In my last post here, I shared my enthusiasm for the phrase “be brave.” I am a person who often feels a lot of fear, hesitation, self-doubt, a drop in energy at the thought of tackling something new that feels big and maybe bigger than me.
Looking back, it is easy to see examples of when I really needed to hear “be brave” – like when I launched MentorCONNECT, the online eating disorders mentoring community that logged seven life-changing years for us all before closing its doors last year.
When I created my first CD. When I created my second CD. When I wrote my first book. When I wrote my second book. When I launched “Love & Feathers & Shells,” the online home for my three interspecies loves, Pearl, Malti & Bruce.
All the times I’ve broken up with my partner. All the times I’ve had to call him and ask to get back together (I would imagine there was some bravery on his part too in saying “yes”).
Right now, I am struggling to be brave in multiple areas: my health has become a present-day challenge, one that often introduces chronic pain and fatigue I don’t understand just when I feel I need energy and physical flexibility the most.
Love & Feathers & Shells is a heart-project of mine, one that I started out of a deep, nearly bottomless need to just have something to pour my love and soul into, a place to connect with other souls who have bonds with their animals the way I have bonds with my animals. In this way, I didn’t care if I sold one book or earned one dime, but today I am struggling to be brave enough to recognize that it can support me in this way as well….at least in theory.
In practice, it is going to take a lot of bravery to make that happen.
This morning in my ongoing yoga journey, which I rely on to manage my physical pain as well as the mental fatigue it often creates, our teacher made a comment about taking some time on the mat to just look inside and see who is there.
It took me a minute to realize she meant ME. I realized that when I look inside myself, the being who is there is me – myself – I. There might be other stuff there too, swirling around, such as experiences that haven’t been properly processed or filed away, or a running to-do list, or thoughts of loved ones or hopes and dreams, but in the middle of it all there is that one constant that will always be there – me.
In past years, when I would look inside and see myself there, I wasn’t always happy with that. I guess I wanted to find someone else in there, someone who would surprise me by how “on it” she was, how happy, how brave, how fit, how beautiful, how wise.
So I would be disappointed, inevitably, and I stopped looking inside for a long time.
But this morning when Adrienne suggested we look inside to see who is there, I felt delighted. I was happy to find me inside myself. I was happy to see this scared-girl-turning-brave who was showing up on the mat every day, no matter how creaky and older-than-her-years she might be feeling, or how hopeless or tired or worried.
I was happy, too, to realize that when I looked inside myself, I didn’t immediately see body parts – thighs, belly, hips – or mental instability – eating disorder history, anxiety, depression – I didn’t see parts of anyone. I saw a whole being.
I saw my whole self. And I was happy to see her there.
Today’s Takeaway: I’ve started to really fall in love with blogging here right after my morning yoga sessions! Somehow I feel so open to experiencing myself in new, kinder ways after spending a half hour or so wobbling about on a rectangular piece of foam. Weird? Yes! Wonderful? For me, yes. Do you ever have those opportunities to look inside yourself and just see who is there? Who do you see? How do you feel?