I was in a room heated to 106 degrees with other half-naked yogi’s bent over backwards. I was reaching for my ankles while kneeling, when who I am, and I how feel about myself changed, if only on a cellular level. The instructor said, “Camel pose is the bread and butter of this entire series. It’s what you prepared your body to do during the first 45 minutes of class.” As I moved into the posture I felt like something tragic was about to happen. I was on my knees, dizzy, and worse, fearful of the dizziness. I squeezed every muscle in my body, but it only made things worse. I knew I had to let go of something before the necessary shift could occur. I released my gripping gluts so that my hips could push forward; and as I did, I felt a swirl of light, or tingle at the base of my spine. It was intoxicating.
The moment was brief. My fear of the unfamiliar feeling caused my body to tense up again. I heard the instructor say, “ A lot may come up for you during this posture.” And it did, I literally and figuratively felt my entire ass open. The expression “tight-ass,” adequately describes how my anxiety manifests as a clamping together of my buttocks. However, as soon as I acquiesced to the pose, I felt discomfort in the looseness, an unknown sensation for me. In response, I clenched against what felt like a rise of terror, and into a violent spin of nausea.
I felt defeated, and had to come out of the pose before the minute was up. I laid down in corpse pose, flat on my back, heels touching, palms up; and cried. My face was feverish from the heat. Tears leaked from the edges of my eyes and down my temples, but I didn’t know their origin. At first they were tears of sadness, and then relief, and after the minute was up they were tears of joy. I relinquished something inside that was holding me back. If only for a moment, I saw what I was capable of doing when I stopped resisting.
Sometimes my body helps me change by growing and pushing, but this time it helped me by teaching me it’s okay to let go. When I was in my early-twenties, I trained my body to run a marathon, and in doing so I taught myself that I had enough willpower to abandon a verbally abusive relationship. In my early thirties, I built a strong body capable of lifting half my body weight through my legs and over my head. My determination and belief in my physical abilities helped me come to terms with my emotional truths about being gay. My physical strength was the groundwork for my courage. It helped me confront the inauthentic nature of my safe, and comfortable life; my core-power forced me to be honest beyond my beliefs.
My body never lies, she tells me everything I need to know about myself. I’m a believer, (“Amen sista boogie woman,” as Susan’s brother used to say,) in the mind/body connection. I can’t force my mind to do anything until my body tells me I’m ready. The relationship between the two is my spirit, the inner me, who I really am. What I learned about myself during yoga is that to have faith in myself, I must also give up control, faith is surrendering. I had to be willing to give up my hold on my body in order for it to open.
My body taught my mind that when I accept, and flow with what’s happening, I can get to where I’m going, and my resistance is what holds me back. I’ve been clinging to the idea that I’m not good enough of a writer to be taken seriously. I realized this the other day when I was supposed to be writing instead I was clearing out my inbox. I came to emails and comments from people about my writing. The compliments were real, and not just niceties. I understood that these people believe in me and want me to succeed. When I read the emails I couldn’t understand why their words weren’t enough to make me trust it. Trust that I’m as good as they say. I sat there a minute and tried to feel what my body was telling me. There was a tiny smoke signal coming from my belly. I’d felt it before, and it was telling me what I’d been trying to logically convince myself of: I’m a talented writer. The feeling wasn’t new, I just allowed myself to have faith in what I was hearing. I became willing to let the voice pass through me, I didn’t resist it by telling myself I’m delusional. I know this is hard to understand, but it makes me uncomfortable to think of myself as being good. It makes me squirm to think I may really be able to affect other people with my writing. However, when I throw my arms around it and squeeze tight, I feel it with a little passion, even though it’s difficult to say: I’m a talented writer, and a gifted communicator, I know it’s there.
A few weeks ago I wrote about letting go of my writing, I said I was handing it over to the universe.
A friend commented on that post, and said,
“Ok, so what is the next step with your writing? Tell us! If you tell someone your goals they are more likely to be achieved. Short story published? Where? Letter to the Editor published? I think having a structured goal to your writing is a good next step…you’re ready to do something besides blog. As for the short Story since your blog is mostly scenarios maybe practice a few short stories on us before taking it to prime time.”
Her reply, along with the experience I had during yoga, and the messages I read while cleaning out my inbox fed the slow metabolic rate of my confidence. I’ve thought about my friend’s questions and have come up with a plan. My goal for the blog has always been to turn most of it into a book, as a collection of essays. A structured version of that would be to edit existing blogs, and then organize them into cohesive chapters. (I have no idea how to do any of it, but I’ll figure it out.)
From what I’ve read, I need the third eye of a focus group. Those of you who respond are that for me already. I’m grateful for your interest, praise, constructive criticism, and your comments in general. I hope you’ll continue helping me, by re-reading material you’ve already read. Your feedback is important. This process is heavy, but with maturity comes weight. I plan to reveal more secrets, and crucial information about my story. I’m going to get so raw that I shine. I know if I can just get comfortable enough with you, –my focus group-to let my fat-rolls out, it will help me publish a book worth eating. I can’t think of anything more delicious than humanity, including the mistakes we make, and I’ve made a lot of them.
Victories aren’t won, they’re earned through a series of lessons, and I want this to be my biggest accomplishment yet, (besides having my cherubs.) I want my mishaps and struggles to add up like beans on an abacus, a proud portfolio of savings. You’ve held me accountable like a financial advisor, by reading and pushing me forward, and I’m thankful.
So where do we go from here? Well, I’m going to blog less essays and focus on editing the ones I’ve written. I’ll post what I edit, hopefully you’ll still continue reading and commenting. I’ll also still post, random-blog worthy- thoughts weekly, in order to stay in touch. The new posts will be shorter and more about the present. I’d love to hear your thoughts or any other advice you’d like to share, I’m sweating already.