Where to begin...
I had a great week. I don’t know why, it was just good, sort of from the start. Lots of high energy, lots of connection, lots of present moments filled with gratitude for this life I have been living and everyone in it. Part of this was due to the discovery of an amazing radio station, part of this was due to a long weekend of family time, and part of it was due to excitement from many upcoming events and changes in my life.
The bottom line though? I was good, I was happy.
Then, on Friday, things happened. Specific things yes, but that’s not as important as what happened inside me. Oh, someone was unhappy with something that happened at work and I did not get to spend time with someone special that I was really very tremendously looking forward to seeing. Even though it’s never a sure thing, I was hopeful, I was happy. But that happiness didn’t somehow magically make the things that I wanted to have happen, happen.
You see in retrospect, I believe the happiness came from juicing the joy from being fully present in the moments I was in. Wednesday I had Boyz 2 Men on the radio, coffee in my bloodstream, the promise of possibility on the landscape in front of me but no attachments to what that might be.
Upon starting my work day on Friday I got angry energy thrusted at me, not towards me, but still enough that it knocked me down a bit. And then I had an expectation. And my expectation had an expectation. I expected to see someone, and I expected that since I was so happy it would of course naturally happen.
And when it didn’t….. crash and burn, and not in the good Usher Burn way. Also not in the as-bad-as-I-used-to way but still I could feel a deeper disappointment than just shoot, we didn’t get to see these people I was really very tremendously looking forward to seeing.
What I became aware of and found so interesting, observationally, is that I was sad that I did not get to be happy around these people I was hoping to see. And then forget about me being available to my friend who was talking about dating. I was gone, hopped on the train of self disillusionment which is never a fun place to be.
You see what happens on that train is that everything turns grey. The joy gets sucked out of any given moment and everything in sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell dulls. Color bleeds out of life like paint dripping off a canvas leaving only greys and muddy browns behind. Sounds mute and music leaves the air. Scent does nothing but perhaps remind me of a time I miss more desperately than anything. Touch of any kind feels like fire on my skin and my tongue tastes literally nothing.
Whatever anyone says somehow gets run through a filter of inferiority and ends up with me feeling broken, defective and completely horrid and unlovable. And so, my sweet friend, who was simply talking about a new man she was dating, probably got zombie face from me because what was really happening inside was a vicious self critique on what a horrible, disgusting, fat and ugly woman I was.
A woman who sucked at dating and hates even hearing about it (not entirely true). A woman who wants to fall in love but doesn’t want to work at it (not entirely true). A woman who wants to be a writer but doesn’t write (not entirely true). Who loves to sing but doesn’t sing (not entirely true). Who wants to release weight so she doesn’t feel gross but doesn’t want to diet (not entirely true). Who wants to be able to love herself unconditionally in the face of all these things but standing in the face of this expectation crash can’t seem to find a single thing to love (totally true). About anything (ugh the worst). Which is so not this woman’s style.
But, I am good at faking it. So I act, I smile, I laugh and I even win the game I am playing, which I admit, is fun. I never saw that coming. And I have learned to observe more too now, I have learned to witness these thoughts more and engage with them less. Though I could tell by the sinking energy in my body I was engaging with them more than I would have liked.
That voice is loud when it kicks in, and harsh, and cunning. Less of an angel devil on the shoulder thing and more like a charming prince who turns into smeagol hoarding and protecting and nurturing all of your deepest insecurities, feeding them, helping the to grow. So I observed while my smeagol hissed my precious over all those things that I hate right down to the part of me that hates that i hate, in general, at all, ever. And it all feels so true and awful. Like deep down in my bones awful, so overwhelming that i don't even know where to begin. And then….
And then I remembered Elizabeth Gilbert paraphrasing a Rumi quote, or hafiz, none of us can remember, not even google who credits ava on pintrest. (note: i really didn’t think ava on pintrest came up with this quote, but i can not find it credited to anyone else. Perhaps she just made it look really pretty but if it is hers apologies) Simply stated it says:
Show me all the parts of you that you do not love so that I know where to begin.
I remembered this on my journey to the heart of self-loathing and everything in my entire body softened. How lovely an idea that is. Certainly not an easy task, to think of, to admit to yourself, or to another, all the things you do not love about yourself. My ego wants to say there’s nothing that I do not love about myself but alas, I can’t pull off that lie and if I could I would hate it about myself. None of us can pull that one off. Because for all of us (except maybe the dalai lama, ama, or the likes) have something they do not love about themselves.
But what a lovely idea to let that be the place to begin. Let that be the place I begin to love. Entirely, wholeheartedly, unwaveringly, unconditionally. Instead of letting those be the places that I hate and then hate myself for hating, what if, what if, i let those be the places that I notice myself hating so that I can know where to love.
Not to change, not to fix, not to replace, no. To love. Simply to love.
So, I love my stomach, I love my arms, I love how nervous I get around men. I love the parts of me that feel unattractive, dirty, gross. I love the part of me that gets jealous of people in relationships new or old alike. I love the part of me that gets defensive about not being in one. I love the part of me that desperately wants to be in one and the part of me that doesn’t.
I love the part of me that is scared of success and the part that is afraid of failure. I love the part of me that is terrified to sing off key. That is terrified something that could bring her so much joy might in turn invite people to laugh at her, to say she sounds awful. I love the part of me that procrastinates writing because she is scared she can not do it. She is scared no one will like it even though she knows she’s not doing it for that.
I love the part of me that is so concerned with how she looks that she judges every thing she puts in her mouth and the part of me that rebels against anything close to a diet. I love the part of me that cares so damn much about what people think of me. The part that cares so damn much about those people loving me and staying with me and wanting me to be their friend that she will do anything for them to make it so.
And I love that sweet, sweet part that for even one nanosecond thinking she is unlovable and undeserving.
And I don’t need any of those parts to change. I just need them to know that I love them. Oh my gosh I can feel it in my heart right now, it’s exploding in my chest. And my eyes are watering and all those parts are looking at me with wide eyes. Really? They are saying. You love me? Yes.
Deeply. Entirely. wholeheartedly. Unwaveringly. Unconditionally.
My body relaxes. Color comes rushing back in. I can hear the music again and I want to sing it. I can taste the iron in my mouth, the taste of my body, my amazing thriving body doing whatever it needs to do to survive. I can feel the hair on my arms raise in gratitude as I wrap my arms around myself to squeeze. The giddiness returns and it’s without coffee or boyz 2 men.
And while that is not even close to everything I do not like about myself, it’s a start, it’s a taste, it’s the experience of knowing what that feels like. So now, when I realize I hate that certain songs still make me think of my ex, I can use that to sink into a place of love and say, aw, i love you for thinking of him, even now. Or when I realize I feel threatened by someone because I have decided they are smarter or prettier or better than I am, I can sink into a place of love and say, aw, i love you while you are forgetting you are the best you and they are the best they. I love you no matter what always and forever…..
This is my pledge from here on out. I say to myself, show me all the places you do not like, gently and easily please, so that I may know where to begin. And I will begin applying the love to each and every place ad infinitum forever and ever amen.
I love you. Whether you are feeling it or not. I love you. Literally whatever you are feeling I love you. there is nothing you can do to make me not. Nothing. Whether it’s a good week or a bad week (whatever good and bad actually mean anyway).
And just like that i am back in the present moment. Bruce Springsteen in my ears, a No. 3 Sativa candle in my nose, and the promise of possibility on my horizon as I drive to one of my most favorite classes. And once again, I am grateful for this life and all the people in it. And now, now I know where to begin...