I have had a hard time letting go of who I used to be. I am attached to that person, all comfy and cozy with who I was, what I looked like, what I did. I never quite know who I am becoming. Generally speaking, I have been moving toward being this new person gradually, but when the change takes on its physical form, it freaks me out.
Our society does not help either. I was not taught when I was young how to handle my body changing, my life changing, my friends changing, my preferences changing. I wasn't even taught really, to pay attention to this stuff. In fact, I was taught to ignore it or wait for it "to pass." I was more than anything, trained to be a constant. A narrowly operating variable in a world of other narrowly operating variables. But that is not how lives go. That is not what life is about.
We do change. Humans evolve. This is science. Some call it biology, some physics, I call it The Great Secret. Great because generally speaking, if we master change, if we can harness it, we will become great. A secret because no one believes this. We are not taught this. So what do we do when the world shifts beneath our feet? What do we do when our clothes, our friends, our homes no longer fit us?
We dig deep. We look within. We find ourselves again. We move forward. At least, that is what some people do. Others, we look back. We lament the past. We regret. We cling to old truths like the last roll of toilet paper. We look in the mirror, sad for what was, not understanding that we are now missing out on what is. And in doing so, miss the magic that is a changing and evolving life. Yes, change can be painful. It is confusing. But so is birth. So is puberty. So is the sudden realization that you might have grown beyond the shell that holds you.
Earlier this week, I was with a man who was lamenting his figure. He was greatly disappointed that he was not the fit young man of his thirties. Simultaneously, he was experiencing a sexual awakening. His sexual world was in the process of opening wide for him, due to his bravery, his nerve, his humility, and he was looking down at his gut, and thinking that losing it would make him more sexy, completely ignoring the fact that he had become exponentially more sexy while carrying this weight around. That he had the nerve to explore himself, be honest about his fear and desire, all with extra weight on him. This wonderful man was not focusing on his revolution. He was focusing on something that made him feel badly. The man should have been planning a parade, but instead he was planning his next work out.
We do this all the time. We walk through fields of flowers that have taken us years to cultivate, and complain that it looks like it's going to rain.
We have been taught that more than anything else, our physical appearance is what is important; that the toxic water is fine as long as it looks good. We have been brainwashed into believing that it is better to look good than to feel good.
I bet you know what is coming next. The part in almost every post where I exclaim, THAT IS BULLSHIT.
All it takes is the understanding that what you must strive to do is feel better. Some of the most beautiful people in the world hate their bodies. It is not because they hate beauty, it is because they cannot feel their beauty. It is because they do not feel good about themselves, and very often, they don't know why. Or maybe they do, but they can't do anything about it because they are not looking within. They are not feeling themselves out. They distract themselves with the surface, with the external.
I have a simple little trick that I do whenever I am not feeling good. This trick has worked for me every time I feel anxious or depressed. I cannot tell you that it will work for you, because, well, you are you, and yes, I am me, but...it is worth a try and it only takes five to ten minutes.
Do this whenever you feel like shit. Or something worse.
- Sit down in a quiet place.
- Close your eyes
- Breathe deeply and slowly. Five second in, seven seconds out
- Do this for about a minute
- Become aware of where in your body you feel uneasy, anxious, or hurt
- Breathe into where you feel uneasy or pained
- Focus on relaxing around your pain until it fades
- After it fades continue to breathe deeply for one minute at least, thinking about something you love
Sometimes, our emotional traumas get stuck in the form of physical pain. We carry them around with us and create an even greater problem in our bodies. If we are not aware of this, we can very easily carry pain around in our bodies without even knowing it...until it is so backed up that we just want to curl up on the floor in a puddle and wail.
That said, I am not a doctor, and if you have some kind of indescribable pain, go see one. Try the breathing thing first though...if it is of an emotional nature, it should clear it up.
In order to move forward we must stop looking back. We must stop wishing we could be who we left behind. That person had her time, and it was wonderful. But who we are becoming is greater and that process of change is an opportunity. The time of change is a gift. A gift we have been working toward, or our bodies have been working toward, and one which we must receive with reverence. With gratitude.
The next time you notice a change in your body that you do not like, before you judge and beat up on yourself, ask yourself first, "Self, what amazing and wonderful change came along with this physical change?" Think hard. Better yet, feel hard. You might see that other parts of you have changed; maybe your intellect, maybe your skill level, maybe your emotional openness. On the other hand, your pain might be something that needs to come out. It might mean that you are ignoring something, hiding something that should come out in the open.
But make no mistake, your body is the best communicator you have, and if you do not listen for the message behind the symptom, you will never see or appreciate the progress you are making.
The point is, you will never know what you can become if you don't start listening to your body. Your body knows your secrets. Your body knows more than you could ever expect. And all you have to do, is listen. All you have to do, is sit quietly and ask. It is that simple.
So the next time you go beating up on yourself for any reason...ask yourself what you might be distracting yourself from. Instead of beating up on your body for not being the way it used to be, stop and consider what else this change has brought you. Our bodies are changing from the moment we are conceived until the day we die. Behaving as if it is a sickness or a flaw is belittling our ability to be spectacular. It is distracting us from true growth.
And that is the answer to that question, What can you become?
The answer is that it is entirely up to you.