:: Context - I broke my Greater Trochanter / Upper Femur in a skiing accident 12 days ago ::
Lying in bed last night I got caught in the swirl of thought and fear: I can't handle it anymore. How can I do this for months? Will I ever fully recover? Can I handle the rehab? How much longer do I have to sleep in this position? Will I ever get a good nights' sleep again? I felt trapped and hopeless.
Somehow, even while lying mostly still, I found myself writhing.
In the dark of the night, things feel more intense for me. It's the only time I really experience what I may call anxiety. Not just now that I'm forced to lie only on my back and dealing with discomfort and pain. But it's surely worse.
I've struggled with claustrophobia and fear of being trapped for as long as I can remember.
It took every ounce of my discipline to keep coming back to my breath. I kept forgetting, getting caught up in the downward spiral.
At times, I couldn't even complete one cycle of "Gentle in breath. Elongated out breath." I knew that the work for me was to keep coming back to the present moment. I actually felt the invitation, almost hovering above me. Asking me to love my body as it is. To accept and love all of it - even the agitation and anxiety. To be in this moment - even in the midst of increasing levels of discomfort - physically, emotionally, mentally. To breathe.
Can I stay with this moment?
Can I be present to everything happening inside of me? Around me?
I'm not gonna lie - it was an inner battle. This is a whole new level of practice for me and I'm not sure which part of me "won".
I wanted to escape. I just wanted it all to go away. I just wanted to fall asleep and wake up feeling better. I begged for help from God, the Archangels, my guides - anyone!
But I also know that I experienced a few micro-moments of touching into the present moment and my felt experience in those moments. And I know that's a huge accomplishment.
My natural impulse is to resist, run away, avoid discomfort, find a way out. I seek to skip to a future time in my head when it's better. Power through the bad to get to the good.
For the past decade, I've been inviting myself to lean in, feel more, experience all of life even when it doesn't feel good, surrender to what life is offering to me rather than what I think I want. And I've been teaching other women how to do this.
Here I am, being asked to reeeaaallly walk my talk.
Last night felt like advanced training and it was not fun at all. But mindfulness is a muscle that needs to be exercised. A practice. And the rewards come from the micro-moments of present moment awareness.
It would be easy to just complain and vent about last night, and I've done a little bit of that this morning, but I know that all of this - all of life- at some level - is happening FOR me. For my own journey to connect to myself and be with my experience. To be present in my life. To not need life to be a certain way to enjoy it. To accept life as it is FIRST. Anything else is arguing with reality.
AND the truth is, I'm still "in it" - feeling some resistance and fear. So today I get to love the part of me that's resisting. To love the part of me that wishes my leg wasn't broken. To love the part of me that feels a little scared for the future.
I'll move through it. I'm actually REALLY okay. I love life - I love it all. And I'm open to learning what life is teaching me today.
My, oh my, this journey can be a humbling experience.
What's your experience with being mindful and staying the present moment?
I spent a lot of my life with the persona of being “nice” and “a good listener” and “adaptable” and “tolerant” and “flexible”. With women in my life, I was a people pleaser, the helper, the hero. Underneath that, at times, I was angry, judgmental, resentful and lacking the connection I craved. But this persona kept me feeling safe.
Fortunately it was also exhausting, kept me separate and required me to abandon myself.
Because the pain of inauthenticity grew to be so uncomfortable, that I had to find the most real and true me.
Speaking from experience, it requires so much courage to be our most true selves, to risk not belonging to any group, to bravely step forward without the (false) protection of our masks and personas. And yet, it’s the most enlivening thing we can do.
It’s still a practice, I can still feel the allure of popping on a mask so I can fit in. I can still feel the fear that arises when I stand in the nakedness of the most real me in public ways. And yet, I can’t go back.
The groups and tribes and labels and boxes are all too confining and layer too many assumptions upon me that no longer fit.
We’re all verbs. We’re not nouns. We need the space to evolve, to grow and to keep becoming more and more of who we came here to be.
When the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, she must go through a painful transition in the chrysalis and struggle to get out. And when a baby is birthed, he must go through the dark and tight birth canal before being brought into the light.
Birthing the most true Self that we are is not without discomfort. But we can do hard stuff. And it’s worth it!
To all of you on this path…I salute you! How’s it been for you? Please share in the comments below!
You are enough just as you are.
But you probably don’t think so. Or perhaps you think you are too much. But in some way, you probably are hiding some parts of yourself – the parts you fear are not lovable.
Over the years, you've been subjected to conditioning and comparisons. And you learned at a very young age to do whatever it takes to be loved and accepted…even if it meant being someone other than your true self. You may have learned that it was best to hide what you think and feel and who you are because it was safer that way. It was a brilliant strategy as a kid! But most of us kept on doing that well into adulthood and eventually we realize that we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore. It’s like the real you doesn’t exist in your life. Or maybe you don’t even know who the real you is.
For me, it was so painful when I realized that I was no longer sure who I was – I wanted to be accepted, loved, and validated so badly that I became someone else along the way. Deep down I knew something I was not right.
THE REAL YOU HAS ALWAYS BEEN IN THERE – IT’S JUST HIDDEN
Underneath those layers of conditioning, false (aka other people’s) beliefs, judgments, and criticisms lies the real you. We live in a society that rewards and encourages conformity. Being yourself requires courage. It might seem safer to hide that true self, but life is a million times better when you show up and shine your own light, so to speak. It’s so worth the risk!
"When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness—the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging. When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness—that critically important piece that gives us access to love and belonging—lives inside of our story." ~ Brene Brown
IT WAS RISKY WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, BUT YOU'RE SAFE NOW
Are you willing to take the risk to bring more of YOU into your life? To reveal more of yourself to your friends and family?
Your young self, the one who had to do whatever it took to be accepted is telling you not to do it – it’s WAY. TOO. RISKY. It’s the part of you that says that you must hide those “bad” things about you – the things that mommy and daddy told you to stop being or doing. It’s the part of you who believes that you won’t be loved if other people know those things about you.
You don’t want this to be true.
You know that you love other people, shortcomings and all. You know that you even find your loved one’s quirks and flaws endearing. You wonder…perhaps others could feel that way about you too?
Can you find that part of yourself that believes it’s possible that you can be yourself and still be loved? That you don’t have to constantly perform, perfect, please, and prove? That you can settle into who you really are and people will still love you?
IT’S THE HIDING THAT’S EXHAUSTING
It’s so much easier to be who you really are rather than exerting all that energy to be someone you think you SHOULD be or hiding so you can experience the illusion of safety. Believe me, as you begin to remove those masks you're hiding beneath you will feel the weight lifted off your shoulders – you'll have more energy and you will feel less burdened. It’s the trying so hard that takes all of your energy. It’s like trying to hold 5 beach balls underwater all by yourself. It’s a constant effort.
Each time you reveal more of who you really are and see that you're still accepted and you “survive,” your young self will begin to believe that it really IS safe to be yourself and live a life that is true to what you really want and believe. You'll begin to see that being yourself is much easier than trying to conform and be someone you believe others will accept and love.
You'll find that it’s easier for people to love and connect to you when you are not hiding or playing small.
THIS IS ABOUT SELF-ACCEPTANCE NOT “ACCEPT ME OR ELSE”
This slightly different than turning 50 and saying “Screw you, take me as I am because I don’t care.” I'm talking about true self-acceptance and self-love. It’s more of a surrender to the truth of who we are on a soul level and comes from the place of love. The “screw you, accept me for who I am” is more about telling the world to accept you and it usually comes from the place of fear and separation. What I'm talking about is when you learn to fully accept yourself so that the world feels that and, in turn, fully accepts you.
Self-knowledge, self-forgiveness, self-kindness, self-acceptance, and ultimately self-love have the potential to bring your life to a whole new level. It’s the true secret to having the connection and love you have always wanted in your life.
IT STARTS WITH YOU. YOU CAN ONLY BE LOVED AS MUCH AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF.
One of the biggest regrets people express on their deathbed is that they didn’t live a life that was true to themselves – that they hid, played small, and didn’t really fully live because they were afraid to. It’s true, it requires courage! And you have to be willing to swim upstream because most people are still hiding, performing, and conforming. But the rewards are beyond measure.
The world wants more of YOU!
Please post below if you can relate to this. Do you want to bring more of yourself to your life? Or have you already done this and want to share how you did it or what life is like for you now? Please share!