It’s funny how the universe works. Seems to bring you what you need at the perfect time whether you like it or not AND whether you were ready for it or not.
I’ve been teaching a four week series on compassion in my Sunday morning yoga class. I do teach yoga postures, but they not really the focus of my classes. Compassion/Presence/Being Here NOW are ideas that are much more interesting to me at this juncture in my own practice and there are lots of amazing teachers here locally who can teach you how to touch your feet on your head or tone your ass.
I chose compassion because I realized that it was only a word I was using and not something that I was actively putting into practice especially at the times when I needed it most. As with any teaching you have to start with yourself, so self-compassion is where I began. In doing this work I’ve uncovered that one of my deepest rooted fears is not belonging somewhere. Not being accepted. I expend a great deal of energy almost on a daily basis in trying to build and create strategies around avoiding feeling like I don’t belong or feeling like I do belong.
What I also discovered is that I have even a deeper rooted fear of actually belonging somewhere or to something. Feeling vulnerable is something that when it comes down to it, I am afraid. I am afraid that if I truly open up, I won’t be accepted. So this is the secret, silent war I wage within myself.
Well, I’ve been working hard at “belonging” these past few weeks. Belonging to the trees, belonging to the sky, belonging to those around me who I have perhaps avoided for fear of not really belonging. It started to become silly as when I began to “name” my fear as it showed up, I could watch and witness, without being attached, the stories I would create in my head; the judgements I would carry with me.
Well, I was READY today for the last class in this little series. I was ready to BELONG. I was ready to be vulnerable and just let it all go.
Can you guess what happened? No one showed up.
It was my super solo Sunday. It was my moment of truth. It was an opportunity to see if after all of these weeks of teaching these classes and opening up to the fears inside myself, could I really put into practice what I had been sharing?
I tried to distract myself with my phone and then with my book and then was looking at the clock and thinking that maybe I should just go home and take Ellis off Carl’s hands, because I knew he had a lot to do today. I rolled around on my mat for a little while pretending that I was going to actually do the practice that I had created for today. I laid on my back and stared at the ceiling and got caught up in the stories in my mind around believing that I truly don’t belong. That was it, I was packing up and going home. No more teaching yoga for me. Ever. No one really likes me anyway. No one cares.
I knew better. I knew better at 9:31am when no one had walked through the door. I knew what the universe was trying tell me when I looked down at the sign-up sheet and the only person’s name there I saw was mine.
So I sat and I started to breathe. And then I found that a couple minutes had gone by I was still breathing and I was still sitting there. Then I began to move my body. I moved my body all the ways I was going to tell my students and their bodies today. After several minutes I saw that I was still breathing and I was still moving my body. And 15 minutes went by and then 30 minutes and then an hour and then an hour and 15 minutes I found myself lying flat in my back surrendering. Surrendering to the stories and to the false realities that I(we) all create. I surrendered to my fear of belonging. I felt that it was real. But, it was not true and it was not who I was. I began to feel homecoming in my heart as the light and warmth of compassion and self love began to run through my veins, pumping into my arteries and swirling around my bones. I must belong to myself first because when I belong to myself – the rest doesn’t really matter. And in this moment I do. #365things