I am still thinking so much about all the things I learned about myself since January. I haven’t written here because, well, because it’s so hard to put into words, all the things I can see but can’t explain because they are ideas and feelings, not things I can contain in a sentence or a blog post. Maybe just not yet.
One of the things I learned is how to hold myself responsible to myself- for me this means not doing things just because other people would want me to, but because I want to. It means not writing blog posts when I can’t do it, it means leaving the laundry because I need a walk, it means flossing my teeth even when I’m tired and all I want to do is fall into bed. The amount of honesty I have gained in these last few months is still such a pleasant surprise- like when a dear friend arrives with no notice at the front door and the house is dirty but you don’t even care, there are just hugs and hellos and gladness for the arrival. Maybe you push the dog hair out of the middle of the floor and wipe up the leftover breakfast crumbs and teacup rings and you’re ok, not feeling judged by life because the table is messy, but being understood because life, sometimes, is messy.
I have been thinking so much about what it all means. Doing yoga teacher training and starting my first go at one-on-one therapy together was the smartest thing. It meant that all the deep deep stuff I dug up had a place to go rather than skitter around in my incapable hands. Therapy for me means I have to be really really brave and speak up from myself because otherwise we just sit there and talk about the weather or nothing and then I leave and feel more scared than when I arrived. Yoga does that for me also- whether we’re practicing asana or breathing or supporting each other I have to participate as the me I am or I end up lost then too.
I learned that I really have to start with the basics. Like breathing. Feeling my feet on the ground. Walking. I still have trouble sitting and not feeling like I don’t know where I am, but it’s better. Sometimes when I sit cross legged I can’t find my balance, I feel like a toppling top. Then I get frustrated: my god! who doesn’t know how to sit? and then I remember oh right, me and I breathe and adjust and smile to myself for having the courage to not know how to do even that.
I cried so so much over these past months. I am almost crying now. It became a tender running joke at training that I would probably cry, but I was understood. It’s all the sad and glad feelings I pushed down so hard all my sweet life having to get out because now the door is open and it’s safe out here. I discovered something I’d secretly always thought about myself and could now recognize as true: I am lovely. I can offer love and care freely, nurturing others is something I am good at. Now that I feel safe and held I can give what I’ve got and not be ashamed or nervous that people will reject me, I give what I do because I want to, the results of that aren’t really in my control. Other people aren’t in my control: all I can do is offer my wisdom, my compassion, and my caring with humility and grace. Joy and sorrow go hand in hand- I’m not ashamed of either of those. My hands remain open.
I’m learning when to speak up, when to be quiet, when to say yes, when to say no. I challenge myself to be out there, trying headstands and intelligently pushing my practice when I want to act tired and stay safe in the way that means I’m cheating myself. The thing is, yoga is not just asana- it’s every moment of every day- so pushing my practice means I push myself to be filled with grace whether that’s not yelling when I’m frustrated, or being disciplined with my work, or taking rest, or breaths, or doing things I’m afraid of- like having an open heart.
I am still full of doubt sometimes, afraid I’m an imposter and a failure. I still eat too much when I can’t figure out how to handle things, and I bail on myself when I get that anxious procrastination feeling where I just wander around doing nothing while I worry over all the things I could be doing. Only now I know how to take my hand and see what I need instead of should-ing myself to death- making it better instead of making it worse. I don’t do that every time, but I do it some times, which is a yard better than how it used to be- no times.
I am here. I am sober, I am alive, full of grace and hope- lovely. I have thought so much about how to write about all this, and I guess I still don’t know. Or I do, but it comes out as it comes out- forcing things just isn’t my style. I wondered about y’all- whoever still reads or missed me, or who might find me. I knew whoever was here would be here when they needed to be. I knew I would be here when I needed to be too.