As I walked around the gym the other day, I began “sinking in” to the need to truly, physically know love and acceptance towards myself. I was tired of workouts being motivated by something akin to feeling “not there yet.” Enough already, I thought. A big part of me was experiencing a profound need to simply “let go” in a way I hadn’t quite done in that room before. No way around it – it was time to accept myself physically – “as is” – right then. This meant not only reaching for better feelings about my body, but also finding those feelings “in” my body.
I began by gently reaching for feeling less “effort-ful” and more accepting and unconditionally loving towards myself (which at that moment seemed somehow easier after a hard set). At first it was easier than I thought it would be – to just lift away from the pressure I had been putting on myself and connect with a feeling of lightness and ease. Almost immediately, I realized just how much this knowing had been missing from my practice. I was almost overcome by a feeling of grief – for myself, for the parts of me that had been so resistant to literally standing open-hearted and exposed . It also felt quite frightening to connect with such a true, peaceable and revolutionary feeling of unconditional love. If this was loving myself – it sure felt scary! In fact, standing in this new power felt so weird and new and uncomfortable – so completely out of my comfort zone – before I knew it, I found myself literally crying right there in the middle of the gym.
As uncomfortable as it was to connect with this sense of peace, I realized just how much I was missing it somehow, and I was overcome with huge amounts of compassion for myself. I wondered if there was a way to truly harmonize my desire for better alignment, strength and optimum fitness with that clear need to love and accept myself just as I am right now. Like I have found so many times in my work, I was re-discovering that tangible, findable feeling in my body of self-love and acceptance so integrally important to whatever my goals happen to be. Pushing myself and feeling frustrated is the opposite of this feeling, and thankfully I’m starting to value feeling truly open and loving towards myself more of the time. A part of me is sad that I never realized it quite like this before. Yet, something has unlocked in me – and I guess I needed all this time and contrast to open it.