bare bones, Depression, filthy dirty lies, Freedom, harder to breathe, Intimacy, loving kindness, Mirror of Recrimination, own worst critic, personas, pigeon holes, post-it notes, private tropical beach, Samsara, strained, stressed, wicked misdirections, Yoga
–This post grew out of a comment on someone else’s blog but has since expanded quite a bit!–
If you’re unbelievably stressed and strained, or depressed, or sad or terrified or generally unhappy or numb… or if the world is closing in on you, weighing ever more heavily across your neck and shoulders, if the air around you is getting thicker or thinner and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe or if you’re not quite sure how you’re going to get to tomorrow, then this post is for you.
Because I’ve been most of these things, and more than once. And I’m likely to experience them again, too. So I get it, I’m coming from a place of solidarity, from love, from wanting to share what works. From the inside out because seeing from the outside in is never the same.
This is for you. For all of you out there dealing with the human condition of suffering, just like me.
With much love…
Its times like this make me want to strip it all back, right down to the bare bones. Down to my own naked self, with no job titles or brand labels or clothing or hair styles or any other way for people to judge me. Especially not myself because like many people, I am my own worst and harshest critic.
And it’s these times too, when we should stay away from mirrors which in many respects only reflect back at us those things we tell ourselves are true, whether real or imagined, positive or negative. Most of those things are filthy dirty lies but we’ve convinced our Self they are true and usually these are soul destroying negatives and wicked misdirections that chip away at who we think we are until we feel like nothing more than a pock-marked old statue, all crumbly and not quite right anymore.
And when we feel like this, when we lose sight of what is really real and who we really are because we’ve been juggling and tap dancing and cart-wheeling for so long now, and singing so many different songs and to all kinds of audiences… I think what we really need is to just drop it all and right now already!
Okay, maybe not literally as in running off to a simple bamboo hut on a private tropical beach (although that does sound nice, doesn’t it?), but we do at the very least have to stop looking in the mirror for a while. Stop comparing. Stop analysing and stop trying to live up to what we think we should be. Or what we think others think we should be. Shed all our requirements and get back to just Being and Doing. A human-being. Being a human. Just being. Not projecting. Not jumping through hoops. Not doing things because “what will [insert name] think?”
Just being… because labels and roles and expectation lead to a loss of intimacy with our Self, specifically with our own breath and body. And by intimacy I mean closeness, sensitivity, loving kindness – for yourself. Respect – for yourself. Your self-worth levels must be replenished until they’re full to over-flowing with juicy sweetness, enjoyment and love for yourself first.
Because if you don’t let yourself have that and experience life in that way, then you’re running on empty and giving out to others becomes a constant strain and worse, it can make you sick.
You see, all of our requirements for living and our requirements for other people are just streaks of colour and light we once painted on a canvass we call our life. Once upon a time this is what we thought life should look like, but at some point or perhaps multiple points along the way, we forgot to update it. We forgot to say – hey, I no longer want to do this or be that person. And usually we forgot to update our view of the people we love, too.
But all of this stripping things down, becoming your own best friend and updating your world view… all these things are necessary and important if we’re to extract ourselves from the swamp of pigeon holes, post-it notes and baggage tags, addresses, and personas that we or other people have seen fit to bestow on us over the years.
We all deserve freedom, absolutely we do. And it is attainable. But the only way to start is with your Self. Stop looking in that Mirror of Recrimination and start getting in touch with who you are when you’re not calling yourself every name under the sun!
Who are you when you aren’t living in a world where everything has a name and a price? Who are you when it’s about nurturing, feeding, finding joy and happiness, and discovering the things you’re naturally attracted to and interested in?
We all have those answers in our heart, but first we have to get our ticker back in working order! It may need defrosting, or some other kind of return to room temperature. It may need a little excavation – taking down those brick walls or moats. It may need a little excitement, or de-numbifying and so on.
There’s so many ways that we cut out enjoyment, love and connection to ourselves and the world… and while it’s possible to function in that kind of space for the longest time, eventually some part of us, even if it’s the tiniest of seeds – it says ENOUGH! And if/when it does, then you’d better listen up and listen good, because it’s time to pay attention and make some changes before the changes come and re-make you.
And believe me, once we get back in touch with our ever-patient heart, everything changes. For me it’s yoga that helps me find those answers, both on and off the mat. Especially yoga that’s not about form and shape and everything being perfect. Especially yoga that’s inclusive of the breath-mind-body-heart connection, feeling the sensations of the body, allowing the mind to tune into the practice, the very here and now-ness of it all. Brooks has just written a gorgeous little post about exactly that (and you should read it to get more of a sense of what I mean).
I wish you well. I wish your loved ones well. I wish for love to reside in your heart and soul, in your loving relationship with yourself and if you have them, with your partner and children.
I wish you freedom to dance across glittering oceans of inspiration and joy. I wish that your cup overflows with beauty and love and that you find who you are amongst the maddening dreamscapes that pervade day to day existence and insist on calling themselves Reality.