self acceptance

Pity Parties and Dancing with Stuckness

Pitypartiesanddancingwithstuckness

I should have known.  When I wrote about joy last month, I should have known that I would immediately be put to the test.  This past month I had a series of small incidences that sent me into a nosedive.  I know the techniques that help bring me back to a state of joy and here was my test.  Did I do them?  

Nope.  

I delayed, I procrastinated, I came up with reasons why my tools were not worth pursuing.  Dancing to my favorite music?  Meh.  Exercise?  I pulled my hamstring and could not be bothered to go to the pool.  Hanging out with friends?  I isolated myself instead, "saving" my friends from my surliness.  Grumpy dwarf could have taken lessons from me.  I blamed the overcast weather, I blamed my injury, my spouse, I blamed the alignment in the stars, the tides and well, you get the picture.  I was stuck in my morass and as I kept looking for a way out, I had to acknowledge the giant elephant in the room.  

I didn’t want out.  There was a part of me that wanted to wallow in the muck. I wanted to lay in the mess and make mud angels in my cocktail mix of pessimism, pity and blame.  This part of me wanted to put on a black leather jacket and give inspiration and joy the middle finger.  Destruction, implosion and misery sounded way more interesting.

Oh.

Oh.

Um, yeah.  Not my proudest moment but a powerful one.  Something changed when I acknowledged this inner rebellion.  I was able to see more everything more clearly.   

I dug up a blog written by a friend, Elisa Mehl, that had always resonated with me.  I respect her immensely.  She talks about the experience of feeling stuck:

“When we can't move forward, often it's because we are not finished with the experience we are actually having.  What if we were simply present for the rich alive pulsing of the exact state and moment?  What if we didn't pay attention to our mind, or society, or friends telling us we should be more mature or positive or open or accepting or whatever?
 
Often this takes a reframe.  We are conditioned to seeing our "stuckness" as bad.  But what if we reframe the stuckness into an embrace?”

    •    When we try to change something we are outside of it.
    •    By not trying to change something and being curious we get present.
    •    Presence carries us inside, to the center of whatever is going on.
    •    In the center, is our presence.   Presence is life.
    •    Our perspective is different when we are present.

Until I acknowledged my desire to stay in the misery, I was fighting an unseen opponent, one stealth and well-versed in ambushing me.  In getting curious about my desire to stay stuck, I could suddenly start to see my choices again.  I had more space to see and decide and felt less committed to my inky pity pit.  I invited my husband for a surf and went for a walk with a friend and did some stretching.  I even dragged myself to a yoga class. Afterwards, I felt the best I had in weeks and I remembered why I like to feel good. 

It’s rejuvenating and the the world is brighter again.  

We all drop into that hole in life.  And sometimes, we want to stay in the hole.  The key is to get curious about it.  Be present with it.  Acknowledge it.  Then, decide.  Where do you want to go next? 

with love,
Jennifer

For Elisa's full article click here

The Month of Love and Sweet, Delicious Intimacy. But First, Rage, Grief, and Yoga.

Yoga makes me angry.  

I don't do yoga often and when I do, I usually get mad.  This has happened on and off since I was introduced to my first sun salutation as a freshman in college.  I've seen in meditation how my anger is often a cover-up for grief, sadness, and disappointment.  It's easier for me to feel angry than to feel hurt.  It is somehow less vulnerable.  But despite all my insights, yoga still vexes me.

So, in line with my new years resolution to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, I bought a pass for a half a dozen yoga classes in the neighborhood.  Fast forward to yesterday's class.

About five minutes into the class, it hit.  The room was hot.  Crowded. The pose was uncomfortable.  Agitation.  Anger.  Fury.

No insights.  

The class continued for me, a mix of sweat, profanity, struggle, and flow.  

Mid-way through class, the instructor suggested
not wiping the sweat away.  That the sweat was a part of us and to accept it as part of the practice.  Somehow, that statement was profound.  I realized, in that moment, I was harboring self-judgement.  I felt a betrayal by the inflexibility of my body, by the lack of grace I felt, by the rigidity with which I held myself.  I felt a betrayal even with my own sweat.  Here was a place where I did not love or accept myself.

As I opened to this feeling, the anger dissolved into grief.  Grief for how I've punished myself and perceived my body as my enemy, rather than my home.  The pain of silently battering myself for having an inadequate, less than yoga-perfect body.    

In feeling the grief, something let go.

I arrived home lighter and more joyful.  I danced and laughed with the kids all morning.  I flirted with my husband.  I'll get angry again, I'm sure.  But the truth is, I can only feel as much joy as I allow myself to feel grief. It is in opening to whatever emotion is coming, and not hiding from it, that I will find my peace.  Maybe even with yoga.