There’s a thought that occured to me a few days ago and that was one of the most empowering thoughts I’ve ever had. It came from a simple yet unfortunately unnatural idea – to me, anyway – which went roughly like this : the f@#* with procrastinating ! why wait ? The best time to do something is right now, and it doesn’t only work for chores, which, by the way, are only perceived as such but can be endlessly shapeshifted by our powerful minds. Anyway, since I am not planning to be stuck with my twenty-four year old problems up until I am twenty-five – and even sooner, especially since most of them should have already vanished away long ago, I woke up one morning and decided it was enough : enough forcing myself to do things I didn’t really wanted to do, enough dieting, enough explaining to other people why I eat like this and not like that (being vegan is not tough as long you don’t preach to the wrong crowd), enough having cellulite and not being able to make it go away for all those years since childhood, enough with not being confident, enough with not believing in myself, my strenght, and most importantly enough with the laziness that whispers me to take things slowly when I know I can be unstoppable.
We’ve all heard affirmations like « you have to change your mindset about things », « think positive », « be present to the moment », and so on. Those are all true, but unfortunately too vague. Every person has to rewrite these affirmations in order to make them personal. By repeating day after day a mantra that doesn’t concern you personnaly, you couldn’t possibly harvest all the benefits of meditation.
This is why I’ve decided not only to take the matter into my own hands, but to approach the problem – all of my problems, really – by the other end. A little perspective never hurt anyone, did it ? So that morning when I woke up feeling like I was in the right place, doing the right thing, getting to my yet uncertain goal with no rush of any kind, I thought to myself : today I want each of my meals to be a meal of celebration of my beautiful, wonderful body, the one that’s maybe still too shy to come out completely and shine in all it’s glory, but still the one that would be so pleased with the sublime party I’m throwing it, it would be only too happy to manifest itself even sooner than expected. These past few weeks have been a great mental journey for me – I’ve been to depression/hysteria land and though I’m still travelling to « peace of mind land » and have quite a way to go, I’ve already left apathia, anger, anxiety stops behind. I said « anxiety », but it doesn’t mean I’ve ruled over stress altogether : as I’ve heard it today from Sadie Nardini (in her yoga is interview), with yoga, you don’t build yourself a fence from the world but rather open yourself a lot to allow sensations, emotions and feelings to flow in and out, striking down any « immunity » wall you could have built over time to « protect » yourself from others. I too have witnessed how my emotions have been heightened, how my feelings have become more accurate, how I have become more atuned to other people’s feelings and emotions. Being « atuned » does not automatically mean having the right reaction to the way people that surround you express themselves, but rather question the mere possibility of a « right » or « wrong » reaction and act with respect to yourself and the other person. It is a long way to go.
But let’s get back to the celebration part. Because it’s the best. There was a time in my life when I first decided to ditch the dieting and eat as if I was already at my goal, thinking that my body would eventually follow my mindset. The only problem was my mindset was still one of control, restriction and overthinking. The worst part was that I somehow transformed this into an excuse to overly indulge in things I could not have during the diet, thinking to myself that a thin and cellulite-free me could enjoy a little something-something called – fill in the blanks – once in a while without worrying. It would have been true if I was prepared for the 80/20 system at the time, but all the good intentions in the world couldn’t solve the constant battle I had with myself. It is an understanding – that we actually struggle with ourselves – that comes with time and patience. Loving ourselves is more than often harder than it sounds, as it seems much easier to hold our breath while going through something hard and painful instead of « breathing into it » and seeing what it feels like to expand our ribcage and open our hearts every moment of the day, from brushing our teeth to preparing food, to sitting down on the mat, to writing at our desk. I deeply believe that our relationship with ourselves is the fullest, most enriching, generous relationship there can be. But as with any true and deep relationship, you have to work on it : when you see your loved one first thing in the morning – if you are lucky enough to have spent the night with him or her – your heart is overflown with love and joy – even if your mind is at this presentation that’s happening in an hour and you’re impossibly late. Every day is different, and the change allows you to see this person you love evolve and change as well : every day you learn something new about the person you love, be it a smile he/she gave you when you told a joke, or a « thank you » for time spent together, or a new yet unknown spot on your lover’s sexy body – all of this can exist only because it is seen, and felt, and loved. Reception is key, either you read a poem or hang out with a person. I am not saying that you can read people like books, but rather that whenever you encounter someone, and more so if it is someone you love, you are responsible for the way this person appears to you : this is why every relationship is two-sided. And this is where acute sight and sense are needed.
As people, we all tend to express ourselves, which means we all spend more time focused on turning ourselves outside rather than curling inside. I don’t say we shouldn’t all thrive towards expressing ourselves and learning how to interact with others in the most harmonious way. What I’m saying is that it would be a shame to let perish the relationship we have with ourselves in order to concentrate all of our energy on our relationships to others. Because it simply wouldn’t work. There is a balance to be achieved, and one that starts by aknowledging our inner self.
Still, it is hard to do, especially when you live a very busy life. I’ve found for myself that the only way I could do so is by ditching my resolutions of moderation and harmony and rocking « inside » the same way I’m used to doing it « outside ». My inner self is so deeply asleep that I have to wake it with a gong everytime I want to reach it. « Classic » meditation isn’t just enough : in order to finally get off the rollercoaster of quick adrenaline fix / scary depression (which in my case translates by waiting until the deadline to write a paper, staying up all night, end by doing something good and feeling so mentally tired and spiritually exhausted that I spent the next two – three weeks in a comatose state in front of the tv), I discovered I have to make all of my experiences be so great I wouldn’t need that monthly fix and wouldn’t consequently throw myself into the deep pool of dark thoughts, apathia and depression. I’ve set some rules too, to help me with the work. But most importantly I’ve decided it was time to face the fear and kick it back with loads of positive energy. Because there’s no point in saving it : first of all, tomorrow might not exist, and second of all, the more energy you give, the more you receive.
So I’ve decided to make each and every of my activities a celebration of my inner awesome me (or inner goddess, I love the goddess theme) : when I eat, I think of how who I am inside and whom I want to be is pleased by the healthy and fresh (well, vegan) meal made in her honor. When I do something, I try to do it to the fullest, concentrating on the very smooth feeling of the sea on my skin when I swim, or the freshness of the ealy morning sunlight, or the laughter of my grandmother to something I said. It is hard, and the point is not to always meditate while doing something : the point is to offer these happy moments (that are happy because they are offered) to your inner goddess (or god), same way you would do for someone you love very much. Of course I can’t do everything there is to do in this world. But I know I can do anything I put my mind to and my effort in. That makes me unstoppable. And the only person I have to answer to is myself, this girl that’s living within in and whose shape slowly but certainly transpires through, melting with and transforming the one that got built as a reaction to the outer world.