Tears for Fears

I have been going deeper within lately. This has been brought on by certain situations that dropped me off at a fork in the road in the middle on nowhere. Sometimes we have no choice but to Google Maps ourselves before going forth. This is one of those times for me, and I have felt truly grateful for the painful circumstances; they are here to teach me much needed lessons. Truthfully, I know nothing in my life will continue to change without me putting myself under this microscope. As we know, pain is much needed information. And as much as I’ve learned about myself, and however far I’ve come over the past couple years, I underestimated what keeps holding me back from further growth. This is all extremely humbling in that it makes me feel like a bit of a fraud. Who am I to advise anyone on anything?? I’m so blessed to have this wonderful platform on which to share, encourage, and support my readers. One of the most valuable pieces of feedback I consistently get is how encouraging, positive, and strong I am. During this time of deep self study, I realized I have been identifying with gripping, all consuming fear my entire life. I thought I was rid of it, but that’s not so at all. While I may have appeared brave to myself and to you, I haven’t been as honest as I needed to be. When we make certain outward changes, it can delude us into believing we have really turned around. Our lives are different so we must be different too, right? But putting on a blue shirt after years of wearing a green one doesn’t change the body underneath. Spanx are smoke and mirrors, when they come off your thighs are the same. Perhaps symbolically, I don’t wear Spanx. I hate them. They have always made me feel worse. The compression just reminds me that there’s something to compress, and I’m hyper conscious of being suffocated by what needs to be covered up. Spanx have never made me feel thinner or sexier. I feel way happier with my body just doing its natural thing. Underwear lines and a jiggly Mom tush are fine.

I am choosing to read into the metaphor of this; I am overall upfront and don’t intentionally hide anything. Hiding stuff doesn’t work since it just really means there are things that need to be locked away. Things you are scared to acknowledge or reveal. You don’t need me to tell you that those things will fester and bust out anyway, bigger and stronger after having been left alone to develop. The size of fear, anger, resentment, shame etc will multiply if not dealt with, just like the size of your ass will if you ignore that too. In my yoga anatomy book, it says that a muscle develops tone in response to however much resistance it faces. The more resistance and pressure, the more tone is achieved. Meaning, if we run from the hard stuff, it doesn’t really protect us; it just makes us weaker. Only in non avoidance and welcoming resistance can we tone and strengthen ourselves. Without toned muscles, our  body is weak. And a weak body cannot react and respond to pretty much anything. So too, a laden down heart and mind that doesn’t work itself out cannot respond properly either. All that we are made of, body, mind, and heart must first face resistance in order to then strengthen and be of service of us. Only then can we be of service to others (the point to life).

My book also talks about how if a muscle is weak or tight it will compromise and injure itself. I love this because it doesn’t just focus on typical strength. Strength is just one component. The tightness and lack of flexibility are just as, if not more so, crucial. When we are rigid we are a mess, plain and simple. Constrictions leads to blockages. Something that by nature should be flowing freely, can’t. A closed mind, a closed heart, a closed soul will lead to a very unhappy life. Rigid yet strong muscles might land you at the weight rack in the gym, but without intense stretching and opening, the body only comes so far. I did not know this during my former years as a gym rat. I had such a short sighted, arrogant approach to working out, which represented a short sighted, arrogant approach to life. Closeness is no bueno in any capacity. Yoga opens every single part of us. It’s why I love it; I was so ready to be opened up but I didn’t know how to do it alone. The goal is supple flexibility all over. The heart openers are my favorite, since really we are just waiting to love, beginning with ourselves. My teacher and friend Allison instructs is to “crack open your heart” during certain poses; is there a more beautiful directive out there?

Ok, so I love Love. I can’t say that that’s been the root of all the pain I have stored up over the years. It’s the other big one; Fear. It’s been this monster under the bed that I have been conditioned to become accustomed to, and have learned to distract myself from. By exercising, reading, texting, writing, DJing, socializing, hugging my kids, listening to music, or whatever, I have always found wonderful, healthy ways to find happiness. Coping mechanisms help us get through the day superficially. They don’t clean up issues though. They just redirect your attention. So when the hugs are over, the book is finished, the music has stopped, the text doesn’t come,  then we then keep searching for more means of distraction in order to get the next fix to avoid facing what’s eating at us under the surface of Happy Happy Joy Joy (that’s a Sponge Bob reference. Deal with it). It is in the space of utter silence that we do the most growing and learning. Which is why we live in such a challenging time, with all the noisy devices that we let control our lives. Even those not on social media are constantly checking texts and emails. There is never enough quiet. I have observed my fear of silence as I’ve gone through phases of being able or unable to turn off my phone before Shabbat. I always loved that element, then I dreaded it. I was filled with anxiety for several years at not being able to let my device distract me. I was petrified to put away my phone. This is common and unhealthy. Religiously I don’t think a phone is a big deal (blasphemy!). For me it’s a level of awareness directly related to being able to unplug and unclog, and be fully comfortable in the Is of quiet family lockdown. I have come back to this place recently, and this past Friday I couldn’t wait to shut my phone off. My brain needed a break. My feelings tied to my thoughts needed a break. Our devices fill our heads with so many excess thoughts, be it a silly thought about a cat on roller skates or a time sensitive email that must be answered. Checking the news, the weather, Facebook, whether that person texted you back, the carpool schedule, which photos to scroll through; THOUGHTS. If my goal through all I’m learning is to quiet and lessen my thoughts, then my attachment to my phone is a major detriment. In order to quiet my mind, I have to quiet my device. So, so hard, but as said above, the hard stuff is what improves us.

As I have been studying and observing my thoughts and feelings more, in order to separate myself from them, I have to uncover their root. I have found that whatever triggers set me off, and we all have them, are across the board born of intense fear. “I am feeling this way because of x”. In literally talking this out with myself, I fairly quickly was able to pin every excess thought and feeling pattern to fear of abandonment, fear of not being enough, of being unseen, and unimportant. I recently read that kids who don’t feel wanted grow up to become adults who settle for being needed. So we work really hard at proving our worth by constant doing. When someone wants you, it optimally means they’re choosing you just because they adore you. If you’re being chosen based on need, well, that’s conditional. “I need you because of what you provide for me”. Those of us who strive to be needed know this. Our proactive nature can stem from trying to prove our value. This is really very sad. It’s hard to look at yourself like this, but harder to not. Only in this self study can we clean this up. Which is why our triggers are a gift. They expose us to ourselves on a raw, private level. But we need to listen with commitment. We can only do this in silence, which is why meditation leads us to the truth. As leading spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says, sit in silence and welcome it, for it is only in those quiet spaces that we grow. Which is why yoga teaches to honor the pause. To bask in the Is that is always now. So in my pauses my instinctive fear monsters rise up out of nowhere, as if Freddy Kruger was your uber driver. I am now watching these fearful thoughts, then telling myself I am not my thoughts or my feelings. I am neutral by nature. My natural born state is neutrality since God made me whole and complete. I came into this world lacking nothing. We get scared when we feel holes within and can’t fill them. But here’s the thing; the holes aren’t real. Our mind loves to play tricks on us and so it invented these holes over time. When we are under the illusion of lack we make up for that by collecting painful, egoic, scary stories. And then we further feed the ego by giving it what it wants; to win in screwing us up. Over time we build up a pain body that is filled with insert lousy emotion/thought here. My pain body is fear. My stomach lurches at certain thoughts (sup, ulcerative colitis), I’m terrified of outcomes that I can’t predict or control, and petrified of these hypothetical scenarios that stampede through my mind. Shifting the awareness back to peaceful, complete, neutral consciousness behind the neuro-reactive process, is a move towards re-patterning. Before I can rid myself of this fear based pain body, I need to accept that it’s there. Marinate in it. Let it slowly move through me. This isn’t a rushed process. After all, it takes many years to create this scary baby; I’m not losing that weight overnight. A crash diet in emotional expulsion won’t last. What counteracts feeling afraid is feeling safe. And I know I’m safe within myself. I require no other person for this.

Turning inward feels so good because we really are all we need. Mooji instructs is to not follow our thoughts, as temptations to do so flare (and always will). Let them go. Let the feelings go. What remains is the pure, conscious Self. Unbury that. Fight to keep it unblemished. It is a constant practice. I love when Mooji writes how in order to become everything we must first become nothing. We must empty out all we’ve been storing and collecting. Stop collecting and stop doing. It’s unloading baggage before continuing to travel. Getting rid of dead weight. My sunrise yoga teacher recently taught us something that changed my practice the instant I heard it. It was about jumping from down dog to a forward fold. I struggled with this for a long time, and now I know why. I was holding onto what kept me heavy. She said to fully empty out our lungs before jumping up; the lighter we are the easier we will sail forward. It was so brilliant I wanted to cry. An astounding adjustment in every area of life. Mind blown. Betsy is right; this totally works. As soon as I fully and truly exhaled, I flew forward and landed lightly and gracefully. Quietly and naturally. No more thumping. There was a new ease and softness to the movement. The key to moving on is releasing that which holds us back. And I’ve gotta tell you, I’m done holding onto these fearful beliefs and neurological reactions. It’s just enough. Since I’m no longer identifying with all that fear, what do I need it for?? It’s time for it to go and be that neutral, connected extension of Source that I was created to be. That is who we are, and so coming home to that is so right. Why would anyone choose an emotionally turbulent life over feeling yummy and secure inside their honeyed Self?

I read something so profound recently, from the yogi Meghan Currie. She herself had heard it somewhere and passed it along to her spiritual community. Think of the inhale as God coming towards you. Pause and savor that. Then think of the exhale as you coming towards God. Pause and savor that too. Then repeat that until you no longer breathe in this body. Seeing myself as a vehicle that literally just pumps divine awareness in and out of it was a knee buckling concept. In times of anxiety I put this teaching into practice and it’s instantly soothing. Yes, we are people. We will react as people do; with fright, rage, depression, erratic behavior, selfishness, etc. But there’s a way out. And that way out is the very way in.  You can never go deep enough into yourself. The more we venture inward, the more we discover the peace and calm that is already waiting for us. Like the mother rabbit in The Runaway  Bunny, my favorite children’s book. She knows, she waits, she welcomes her child with no judgement, she shape shifts with him. She’s eternally there, ever so loving and assuring of safety and security. That’s You. The more I tap into this, the more fear is released from its holding cells in my body. Space is cleared and vibration is raised. So much work is accomplished just by becoming one with our consciousness. It’s truly curing. Let your fear, or whatever else ails you and holds you back, cure you. Honor whatever trauma was the root of your current reactivity. It’s ok. It’s over. It no longer applies. Let it pass through you. Empty out and soar forward. Then  put yourself in neutral and go further then you ever thought possible. I used to be so scared of not knowing where I was going... I’ll get there. The objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.