Gifts of COVID

So, my goodness, it’s been so long since I’ve written. I feel like this is becoming a trend. I wait until my energy lines up with the act of writing, instead of trying to force it…and it seems to really take quite some time. Maybe I should write here a bit more often. I have been writing in my journal, though, which I also feel is important, as there’s something about the hand-to-pen-to-paper act of writing. It almost seems like an art these days. Especially with regard to my lettering, I can take the time and write more conscientiously, designing beautiful letters and putting more thought into each and every word, or I can write rapidly, the letters coming out like hieroglyphics, barely legible but conveying the message regardless. Writing. A chance to express me, exquisitely, no holds barred. Ha. Did you know that saying comes from wrestling? A match where all holds are allowed, nothing is off limits, especially regarding “hostilities and offense”. I love this definition; this is exactly how I feel and exactly the need for writing. In life we tend to “bar some holds”, trying not to offend, not wanting to “rock the boat” or get in “hot water” with anyone. But truly, when we hold back, we A. don’t get to express our truth, and B. don’t give others the permission to express their truth either. By acting as if the truth is somehow a level of danger, we veer away from it, passing the message to those in our vicinity that truth and honest conversation are dangerous and should be approached gingerly, if at all. Hmm, thoughts on that? I suppose there is an honest, compassionate, detached from emotional reactions, way of expressing and living in truth. I feel that this would be a good lesson to include in a school curriculum. Aah, the things we learn in school and the things we didn’t. Although, maybe there is a philosophy or communications class which includes this topic in the curriculum. But it would be beneficial for human-kind, so would be useful in the general course curriculum – for sure. Anyways…that’s not even why I am writing today.

Today I am inspired to write because of the lessons I have learned since this change in social structure based on the notion of a worldwide pandemic. I am not getting into the politics of it all, as I believe every scenario is true in every individual. As we co-create our outer world based on our inner world. What I would like to discuss is the intimate lessons I’ve so deliciously been gifted since March 2020.

All my life, as far back as I can remember…ok, that’s probably not accurate, well maybe so. I have always been a person who seeks truth, opportunity, and growth. In fact, I remember adults saying to me, “Well, you won’t understand this now, but you will when you get older.” And that was always a challenge for me to actually take on the message, embody it, and understand it. Now. Understanding something was never a matter of simply swallowing the words and wearing them as a cloak of truth, but rather, an opportunity to see through the eyes of this new perspective, experience the world with this view and feel, through direct experience, how life expressed itself through this lens.

There was a certain point in my life where, somehow, I learned that I wasn’t acceptable the way I was. I began to feel like, in order to show myself to the world, I had to change. I was, at my root, a dishonest person with bad habits and left to my own devices I would hurt others. Again, I’m not going to get into where this came from, it just came. I was an adolescent. From this point on I made it my mission, without necessarily making and overt decision, to do the inner work. Whatever shape or form that came in. Unfortunately, one of the shapes, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, was an eating disorder. But fortunately, many of the shapes have facilitated my growth into the badass bitch I am today. And I can honestly say that with so much love and burning desire for the love of my Self and my life. In fact, when I take a second look, I see that the eating disorder was the first gift in the series of gifts I’ve been given in the journey of self-growth, human-growth, and being a contribution of love and positive vibrations in this universe. Without the initial twist of the knife in my heart, I wouldn’t have been able to explore the healing journeys for each vital tissue between the surface skin and the tissue at the deepest point of the shank. I am and forever will be grateful for each and every ounce of pain I endure, for this is where growth and healing arise.

So, back to this journey of being “the best me I can possibly be”. You may or may not be aware of this term called, “Perfectionism”. You may have heard of it, you may think, even, that’s it’s actually a good thing. In fact, it’s debilitating. There is no possible way to be perfect, and the striving for it is quite isolating and lonely. You see, at one point in my life, when I was a child, I felt like I was so “good” and so pure that I was nearly godlike. In fact, I thought I had a heavenly divine purpose in this world. I remember a friend of mine asked, “What’s your deepest darkest secret?” and when I had nothing to offer, I thought I was wrong and needed to work on my life so as to be able to have an answer the next time someone asked me that question. Well, what we put in our energy field manifests. So, I developed an eating disorder. Through this I started having feelings of being a liar, unworthy of love, ugly, ashamed, wrong etc. I held all my feelings in and especially the fact that I was partaking in these behaviors. This became my deepest darkest secret, and deep and dark it was. I can only speak to my own relative experience of deep and dark, as I haven’t lived anyone else’s life. Pain is a very personal experience and is impossible to compare to the depth or level of anyone else’s pain. So, I will not attempt. I can only speak to my experience. So, as I was saying, henceforth, the journey of self-growth began. I worked voraciously on trying to cover up, heal, bandage, ignore, dissect all the reasons I was doing or not doing what I was or wasn’t doing. Life became an inward project and I slowly began to build a wall between myself and others, knowing I wasn’t good enough, or “clean” enough, to show my true self. I didn’t have that best friend that you could tell anything to because my “anything” was too bad to share and I knew I would be rejected, exiled and made an outcast if I shared my “deepest darkest secret”. Be careful what you wish for, right? Throughout the rest of my school years, into and beyond college I lived with this thought, which now became a belief, that I wasn’t good enough for real, true, deep love. I was broken at my core, and until I could fix that I had no right to drag anyone else into my dysfunctional mess. I remember one time, I think it was my mom, or at least a mom-like figure, who said, “If we wait to be perfect before we find “the one”, then we will always be waiting.” Uhf, that stuck. Like a sticker on my arm. I knew this to be true but just because I saw the truth in it doesn’t mean it had immediate transformational power. We’re talking 15, 20+ years of a belief system in place here. This takes work to dismantle, to untangle those limiting beliefs.

Ok, so I may be jumping the gun here and getting to the good stuff too quickly, without enough back story, but I’m ready for it.

So Covid hit and due to various circumstances, I found myself staying with some friends for a month and half. Immediately I knew this was a gift from the universe. Why? Because these friends have two beautiful little girls, one 3 and one 5, the same difference in age as my sister and I. My interpretation? I was being given the opportunity to see my childhood from the outside looking in, as an observer, as an adult. I wasn’t and am still not entirely sure why this is/was necessary, though I knew I was in love with the idea of it. I got to watch and hear their mom mother so similarly to the way my mother did. Her behaviors, words etc were as if she was the embodiment of my mom even though my mom is still alive and well, living in her own body. The innocence of the little girls, their purity, ability to live in the present moment, express raw emotions, the desire to eat or not eat, play alone or with each other, laugh, cry, sleep, was so Self-driven. They were/are so strong in exactly what they need, without needing to explain why. And they are right. No one can tell someone else they don’t feel hungry, or tired, or sad, or social or introspective or angry or anything. We are born with innate ability to feel what we need. We have that from birth, and we have it until the day we die. It never goes away. Our ability to listen to our emotions only gets buried as we take on more and more of the messages passed onto us through society: friends, family, coworkers, peers, teachers; media: tv, newspaper, magazines, movies, books, etc. So, I participated in this family’s life, graciously, adoringly, maybe even with so much adoration that it seemed false, but it was so true to my core. In my core I could feel I was living in a gift from the universe moment by moment, and all the feelings I had while living in this environment of a re-enactment of what could have been and/or what was my childhood were messages too, opportunities to ask what’s stirring this emotion inside myself. If I didn’t want to be in the house at a certain time, why or why not? If something made me happy, anxious, melancholy etc., where did that come from? I got to see family dynamics in such a beautiful, healthy and real way. It was as if I was looking through a window to my past and my future by observing this experience in the present moment. Like a yoga pose, though sometimes difficult to maintain, I held on in observation, a relaxed face, knowing that the resistance is the part where we grow. I found myself understanding that, even though I thought I ate too much one night, or “felt fat” one day, the little girls still ran up to me to show me this or that, wanted my attention and still saw me the same. I didn’t change on the outside, it was on the inside where I changed. My mental patterns. If I were alone in my home, these mental patterns would have the opportunity to linger longer. Effect my behavior. Cause me to feel unworthy of going outside, breathing fresh air, moving my body for health and exercise because the guilt and shame says “You’re too fat and ugly to go outside. Everyone will see you overate last night, and they will judge you. They will look at you with eyes of knowingness, knowing your imperfections, your failures, your ugliness. You can’t go out there. Stay inside, stay in bed, spend the day meditating, drinking tea, and fasting…” as I subconsciously make my way to the kitchen cupboards for comfort. In this environment, that behavior couldn’t exist. Immediately upon awakening and encountering my temporary new family, I had to discount that voice in my head, I had to “do it anyway”, be in people’s presence anyway, and because of that, I realized, I was alright anyway. I was still loved. I was just the same as I was the day before and what my mind was catastrophizing was really not that big of a deal! What?! How cool! And really good to know. So as days and weeks went on, I became more and more skilled at quieting that judgmental voice in my head, aka, the superego, or as Geneen Roth puts it, the “Crazy Aunt in the Attic”. In this environment, anyways.

So, fast forward. I lived with these friends from mid-March to the end of April. May 1st, I moved back into my place. It was now time to experience Covid-19 repercussions at my home, alone. Could I take the patterns of life I had been living for the past month and a half into my home, my own space, and move seamlessly into continued health and well-being? Well, any transition takes time adjusting to. Eventually I started my morning routine again: waking by 6am, yoga, meditation, gym, home, work. But it wasn’t a smooth transition. The smoothest, I have to say, I’ve ever made, which is great to see progress and wonderful to report but not flawless. Alas, I am still human having human experiences, relatable to humanity. Whew! I still found myself feeling like I “ate more than I should have” some evenings which left me feeling guilty, ashamed, and unworthy the following morning, but instead of listening to that voice telling me all the evil words, I went out on my morning run to the gym anyway. I did life anyway. And the more I “did it anyway” the more I realized, it’s the routine that matters. It’s sticking to my routine that time after time confirms that the world still accepts me. That I didn’t morph into an ugly monster overnight that everyone would stare at and be disgusted of if they saw me. No. The more I stuck to my practices that empower me, serve me, and propel me in a positive direction, the faster I get out of the negative self-talk, back into my body, in a forgiving headspace of love and nourishment. Sometimes we have to put our body on autopilot, just push play on the machine and watch the body walk out the door to the gym without letting the mind interfere. The heart knows what’s best. The heart is what created the healthy practices in the first place. When the heart and the mind were on the same page. But sometimes our heart and mind dis-integrate, the mind turns evil and throws the body into harmful learned behaviors, leaving the heart deflated, crushed, limp and lifeless afterward.

Another thing I worked on was identifying when that “crazy aunt in the attic” was talking. I realized that when I was feeling constriction in my heart, my chest felt tight, my breath was short or nonexistent, I felt small, stifled, squashed…I asked myself, what I’m I hearing? What am I saying to myself in this moment? When I would deliberately start a track of affirming words such as: “I am strong. I am powerful. I am beautiful. I am intelligent, fun, funny, adventurous, fun to be around. People enjoy being around me. I am a good time! I like myself. I love myself. I accomplish amazing things!” I realized that constriction, tightness, smallness, unworthiness quickly transforms into a straighter back, with my chest out, chin up, confidence, respect. I felt empowered. I learned to say “Shut the F*** up!” to that crippling voice and actively invite in my truth. My empowerment. The voice that encourages my to live my birthright which is love, happiness, health, wealth, friends and family.

I have to admit something…it is two weeks since I started writing this and I can’t remember exactly where I was going with it, haha! So, I’m just going to take it where I want to now.

In the last two weeks I have been so blessed to have been exposed to two phenomenal 5-day embodiment summits. One was called Embodied Movement Summit and the other was the Embodied Psychology Summit. I have been filled with feelings of being acknowledged, inspired, seen, felt, heard, understood, thrilled! I have learned so much and feel like I have been given immense gifts, once again. They were free! 5 days, about 8 speakers per day. Scientists, “best-seller” book authors, psychologists, award-winners, speakers, world-renowned specialists in their area, sharing with the world in their little 1 ½ hour window and glimpse into their specialty. Healing the world, bit by bit. Without being salesy, just sharing their passion, their life’s work which was inspired through their own life experiences. Again, I feel like their hands passed over me, filling me with permission to also do my work, to write my experiences, epiphanies, study, write some more, explore ideas, get creative with what the indicator might be pointing to. I study Ayurveda, now. I studied Anthropology, and there were many anthropology majors in these summits, which paved the way for me to understand that this work, this train of thought, has been in me since the beginning. This is my life force. My passion. My interest. The air I breathe. The information I take in and transform into sense, how it makes sense to me in my life and in reference to the rest of the world, both in ancient times and in the world today. I also studies psychology. I ended up getting a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Listening to these psychologists brought me to understand that I was in a field that is me. This is what makes me tick. And that’s ok! It’s ok to love knowledge, to love to learn and to want to learn more. It’s ok to want to read, to formulate thoughts into theories, write them down and expound on that. It’s ok to have all this written down, made into a book, or not even, and shared with the world. They can say you’re wrong. That’s fine too. But if no one did this then we wouldn’t have all of these fascinating theories, practices, methods etc that work! Make sense for people. They aren’t a blanket solution because we are all different and not just one thing works for everyone. But what I found absolutely fascinating was how, in their own scientific language, some of the speakers even had an eastern approach, but how so many times, I found myself grinning ear to ear as what I was hearing translated perfectly over to Ayurveda, which is a Sanskrit word that translates to “the science of life”. This science is over 5,000 years old. Now we have words like psychoneuroimmunology which is the connection of the psychological processes the nervous system and our immune system. Ayurveda has been aware of the connection between stress, emotional disorders and immunity since the beginning incorporating practices such as meditation for the psyche, pranayama (breathwork) for the nervous system and eating a mostly vegetarian diet of veggies, legumes, warm milk and healthy fats – all of these things combine to set the stage for a healthy mind, body and consequently, emotional environment. All of this contributes to increased immunity.

Over the last two weeks I have be re-inspired about what I am learning and where I am going with it. I know I have a purpose on this planet and it’s about time I share it with the world. It’s not selfish to want to put myself “out there”. I am not unworthy of sharing my experiences, my knowledge, my insights. In fact, it’s important I get my voice out there as soon as possible, because there are thousands of people out there who can benefit from exactly what I share. It’s time to take ownership, grab ahold of the reigns and let that pony ride! I’m done keeping it to myself. I’m done feeling “not good enough”, feeling like I need to know more or be better to be able to help others. I can help right now. In fact, I already do. Time to have more confidence in my voice. This is coming from a place of healing the world, not a place of feeling like I know best, and I am perfect. I am far from perfect, and through all my vast imperfections, I can help heal the world, through my own healing, exploration and discovery. I’m not exactly sure how this will all unfold but I have faith. I know the universe has a way. Step by step, with observation, awareness, faith, and courage the path will develop before me as I continue to advance into it.

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