Loving From Where You Stand
"I try to know myself as I am in that moment."
photo by Kendra Menendez
Sometimes it's hard for us to unconditionally love,
especially when it comes to ourselves. Self-acceptance is hard enough, but loving all of your "flaws" proves even harder. Each day is different. Some feel effortless, we feel the kiss of sun upon us, the freshness of the air, we smile at small things like a child laughing or a bird building a nest. Yet other days feel deeply troubling. We mull over details incessantly, driving ourselves into a madness of deep and dark nature, the air feels heavy and the sun burns antagonistically. Some days we embrace ourselves, finding beauty and expertise in our presence and actions, yet others we see only ugliness and failure. There is no avoiding this roller coaster. I don't care how ascended you claim to be, we all have bad days.
For a few weeks I felt this low, like a steep downhill roll that was impossible to stop, yet I was conscious of the progression. I hated myself in these moments. I was bitter, reactive, unhappy, lethargic, anxious... it seemed the list of how horrible I was went on forever. Yet I wrote this list. Nobody called me out and told me "you're a real bitch," but I knew it. I didn't need the observations and commentaries of others to acknowledge the dark cauldron within at a full boil.
photo by Kendra Menendez
That dark aspect of self is always present, but like a seed awaiting the rains, it looms in subtle dormancy until conditions are just so. The external world has profound impact upon us, yet we have little ability to control that realm. Our power comes from self-management, an acknowledgement and proactivity regarding the inner fluctuations. These fluctuations are determined by many factors, from our hormones to our relationships, to the energies of our environment, many things can "throw us off."
Being 6 months pregnant, I desperately wanted to blame my sour attitude on "pregnant lady hormones," and perhaps biologically that played into the chemistry of my experience, but it was not the only element that shifted the balance of darkness and light in the favor shadows.
The thoughts... that time is finite, that a new life is about to emerge from my being, that a great strain would come with this entry/shift, and that the need to prepare was more real than ever, all played like a broken record in my head. The monotonous melodies were so quiet though... I was too busy to hear them until I quieted my actions enough to listen. My schedule was rigorous at the start of my pregnancy: yoga instruction in the mornings, landscaping by day, waitressing at night, caring for my daughter, running errands for the house or client needs, etc. It seemed there was barely time to sleep. As divinity does, messages were sent. I was told to slow down, to cherish things more deeply instead of falling into the "upward and onward" narrative. Several injuries to people close to me sent the message home; as I became caretaker to others, I began to acknowledge how little I had cared for myself. Then things started to fall away. Long-time clients had new callings, my body communicated it was done with manual work, things felt like they were collapsing as I became moody and exhausted all the time. When I finally listened to the chorus of inside my head, it was no linger a soft symphony, it was an angry mob of voices screaming "we want change!" And so I surrendered.
Last week I put in notices at my places of employment, I cleared my schedule on days I could justify cancellations, I reinvested in myself energetically what I told myself I was investing through work. I gave myself the gifts of presence and kindness. I stepped back into the garden, and not to "work" on it, just to be in its presence. I sat with the radish flowers and buzzing bees, I watched the Monarch caterpillars munch on milkweed, I closed my eyes and felt the sun touch me softly again. I came home. Back into myself, in acknowledgement of the darkness and light, ready to focus on the imbalance and do "work" within.
growing in the garden
This is a call to action now, an invitation to my brothers and sisters, to listen to the quiet conversation within. What does your body have to say to you? It talks as much as our mouths do but we seldom hear the words of wisdoms it spews forth. Find a quiet space, a moment in time, and listen to the story within.
- Tawna Renee