So, I just turned 24 a week ago. And I’ve decided to give myself the best birthday present ever.
I’m slender enough and have a beautiful body, and yet I spend so much time telling myself that I have to loose weight, that my love handles spill over my jeans, and that my abs are flabby. Everything I eat I wonder if the skinny people in my life would eat, and I often can barely enjoy my food.
I’m incredibly happy as a yoga teacher, and yet I beat myself up constantly for not yet having a master’s degree, and wonder if being a yoga teacher is “good enough.” I tell myself that my own happiness is not enough, that I should in fact be earning hundreds of thousands of dollars to save for “the future.”
I love practicing yoga, and yet I rarely truly allow myself to enjoy it, because of my chronic pain, and because my body is so tight. I spend so much time focusing on what I can’t do in asana that I don’t enjoy the things that I can do, or that I have been able to add to my practice, due to abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (non-attachment) like gomukhasana arms. Six months ago, my fingers were miles from each other, and now they touch on both sides. Do I enjoy that and support myself in that? Of course not. I’m too busy telling myself that I can’t be a good teacher because I can’t do a hand-stand. Fun times.
I absolutely adore my partner, who is brilliant and wonderful beyond measure. Yet, I spend so much of my time beating myself up for the fact that he is smarter than me, that he contributes more to the relationship than I do (and no, I have no idea what that means) that I often feel like I don’t get to enjoy the precious time we spend together, because I am so obsessed with doing, being and having enough.
So, for my birthday, I have decided that I am giving myself a gift that I, as well as everyone, absolutely deserve. I am going to accept myself EXACTLY AS I AM, one day at a time, with love and compassion.
I am going to enjoy my food and continue to make nurturing choices that are not based solely on calories, but also on taste and how it makes my body feel.
I am going to let go of my need to make more money. When I don’t tell the universe to give me what I want, it always (ALWAYS) give me what I need.
I am going to release the results of my yoga practice, and continue to play and grow however I can, honoring my tight and still injured body. I will do what I can to stop competing in class, and be on my own mat and love it.
I am going to let my beloved be his own beautiful self, and not try to emulate him. Instead, I will honor him and his profoundly loving treatment of me by trying to see myself the way he sees me – as a beautiful, wonderful, smart and passionate woman who contributes enough just by being myself.
The oddest thing is, after a week of living this way, I find myself doing more cardio exercise, which I had constantly beaten myself up for not doing for months. I find my food is cleaner, and I am having much more fun.
As my birthday “goodie bag” to all of you, I wish more than anything to give you this gift too. Just for one day, see what it would be like to passionately and absolutely adore yourself no matter what. Tell the constant vrittis (mind-stuff) that tell you you aren’t enough to politely bugger off, and do something nice for yourself, just because.
See what happens!