Monthly Archives: August 2017

Take up as much space as you can

That was the direction from our yoga instructor this morning. “Take up as much space as you can.” She was guiding us into straight leg triangle – Utthita Trikonasana – and wanted us to expand, expand, expand our bodies. “Take up as much space as you can,” she offered.

I did. I eased, and eased further, into the pose, while I also thought back to a friend of mine from years ago, from my 12-step programs. She too was a recovering anorexic, and she used to explain her starving herself as a way to take up as little space as possible. She had felt too huge, too much (she was anything but) and wanted to shrink herself. To disappear, if possible.

That is our disease. It tells us to retreat. To get smaller. To diminish ourselves in any way possible. If we’re less, we won’t get noticed. If we ask for less, and need less, we won’t be disappointed, and we won’t get in trouble.

I like taking up as much space as I possibly can much, much more.

Extending myself in my yoga practice helps me claim my place in the world. Extending ourselves in the world helps us show up more…and show up more as ourselves.

Take up space. Breathe deep. Laugh loudly (and often). Call attention to yourself and affirm your spot in the universe. Confirm your being – and the essential nature of your being.

I think back to my friend who tried to shrink herself to oblivion, and I hear my yoga instructor’s invitation to expand ourselves, even past our so-called limits. I’m pretty certain that many, if not all, of us deserve to take up more space and live in more love and joy.

Take up as much space as you can.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Joy is my highest purpose

In my Positive Psychology certification course, we had to name our life’s purpose. It is clear to me – very clear to me – that my purpose is to love. To love others. To love myself. To spread and share and rejoice in more and more love in this world. I firmly believe it’s what we need and what will heal us (which we need now even more than ever).

My purpose is also joy. Deep-hearted, full-bodied, life-sustaining joy. To find reasons to be joyful. To spread joy as well. To see the beauty in the world around me and rejoice in it. Savor it. Bask in it. Call it out and affirm it. (Have I mentioned that I’ve seen yellow birds – many yellow birds – every day? It’s as if they’re seeking me out.)

There are so many reasons to be joyful each and every day – even the hard days. And there are so many reasons to miss the reasons to be joyful. I have to train my heart and soul and senses to look for joy and to notice it. I have to remind my mind that even just a bit of joy will fuel my heart and soul.

I live to love. I live to connect. I live for joy and laughter and beauty. I notice the sun dappling on the trees. The bluest sky and yellowest birds. The snuggle with my son. The time with my friends. The ease in my heart and soul.

There is joy and love abounding, if I open myself to it. I’m going to look for it and delight in it. To luxuriate in it and wallow in it and celebrate it.

Joy and love are my highest purpose.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I’m proud of myself for breaking the rules

As I’ve mentioned before, I was anorexic decades ago, and I still can have what I call anorexic thinking – where I get rigid and stringent, unrelentless with myself, and vigilant about doing everything “just so” and following every rule and guideline. It most likely stems from a need to control, to be perfect, and to make sure I f—k nothing up. It most likely comes from fear.

I may have mentioned that my oldest child used to be, at least in some ways, a rigid rule follower. We used to celebrate if they would ever color outside the lines in a coloring book, or act out in school. I wonder where they got it?

Rule following is helpful and productive at times. There are rules that make sense and guidelines that can help us. Rigid rule following, on the other hand, is at least a slippery slope, if not a dangerous decline no matter what. Especially for me.

A few years back I stumbled through a challenge. Well, crawled through it, I guess. What got me at least somewhat to the other side were rules – a bit of cognitive behavioral therapy with which I retrained myself around my challenge. So the rules were helpful, but my rigidity kicked in. I was swirling – and drowning – in my anorexic thinking and unyielding need to follow exactly (and I mean exactly) what I was told to do.

Which wasn’t a good place to be. It may have been better than the depth of the challenge, but I became so severe and inflexible that I was mostly, if not totally, driven by fear.

Until one day I stopped. Or, actually, bit-by-bit I dropped rule by rule. I breathed. I trusted. I took chances. I had faith. I eased into a new place.

My therapist asked me how I managed to break the rules and be less strict. She was shocked. I honestly don’t actually know.

Once again, maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I’m resilient. Maybe I have a steel rod for a spine (as my mother used to say) that kicks in and saves me EVERY time. Maybe I have guardian angels who won’t let me totally crash and burn. I don’t know.

But I’m damn proud of myself for breaking the rules. Even as I applauded any violation of rules by my oldest child, I applaud mine as well.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , Tags: