Releasing Has No End

Interestingly, being willing to release the need for certain things does not mean they are automatically released. Quite the contrary, actually. It only means that when these things surface, I must reassert my willingness to let them go.

I have become a willing participant recently in giving up the need for many of my old, ingrained behaviors and thought patterns. I initially thought that by releasing these things I was emptying the basket, hitting the delete button, removing the discomforts from my life forever. That didn’t happen.

Instead, I was bombarded by the very things I thought I’d released. I was headed for another meltdown when it suddenly dawned on me that the act of releasing isn’t a one-shot pony. Nope, it’s a continuous act of letting go.

I feel angry at my husband. The anger hasn’t disappeared but every time it surfaces, I am willing to let it go.

I get angry at my body for being so hungry. The hunger keeps coming but I keep letting it go. I eat instead. I am willing to release the need to punish myself and feel unworthy.

It’s been six weeks of constant repetition and letting go. Here it is and I let go. Here that is and I let go. Again and again and again and again and again. I am willing to release whatever it is that arises within me that makes me uncomfortable. And I’m willing to do it forever.

Surprisingly, I can vaguely feel this space opening inside me and allowing for the new to spring forth. The new scares me – tremendously. But I’ve arrived at the place where the old, the past, it scares me more.

Only by letting go of the past will I ever experience the new, the now. It’s here.

Waving the White Flag

Past and future, fear and judgement. Yes, they have ruled my life for the majority of it. They continue to, too, yet I am more acutely aware of this than I ever have been before.

I recall that one of the hardest things I struggled with through treatment and into recovery of my eating disorder was giving up control.

I remembered the past and feared the future.

From the past, I remembered the excess weight. I remembered the words that cut like knives, “You are fat. No wonder you have no friends. You are ugly.”

There were also seemingly innocent words of wisdom shed my way. “You can be anything you want. Don’t ever settle. You are capable of doing anything.”

Two points of view that were completely contradictory and totally confusing. One said I was something to be shamed and the other said that I had complete control over who I was.

The sum of that equation was pretty clear.

If I was capable of being or doing anything, yet I was a disgusting shame, well, I clearly was doing a damn awful job at being the person I should be.

And so, from the past, rules were generated in order to create the perfect future. And every action forward spawned from a place of fearful memory. There was no presence or joy in any action anymore, everything simply became a means to an end which I never, ever was able to reach.

That was the struggle in recovery, to give up the memory and just be, but in many ways, recovery, for me, became more rules.

I was shown how ‘normal’ people ate and thought and acted and how ‘eating disordered’ people ate and thought and acted. I learned strategies for integrating ‘normal’ thought and behavior into my life and, with repetition of these, I managed to become ‘normal’. For a while.

Two years later, I now find myself in a phase of relapse.

I ask myself, “What happened?” And the question comes not from a place of blame but, truly, from a place of curiosity.

Food and eating disorders go hand in hand. But food is not the foe, not mine anyway.

To some degree, food issues and proper nutrition must be addressed, but to a greater degree, I believe, there is an underlying modus operandi that drives the choices I make.

My life underwent a significant and traumatic change almost a year ago and, well, in many ways I’ve tried to effort my way out of it. And in my effort I’ve not managed to do much of anything except push myself into a corner of fear and judgement and condemnation of my actions.

I give thought to the events of the past year and I can see when I started to unravel. I fell back to the past and began fearing the future outcome.

I instigated a huge, fundamental change in my life. It was driven by inspiration, this I know, because I knew in the deepest place in my heart that I was doing what needed to be done. But then the desired outcome, or what I thought would evolve from my actions, didn’t happen. In fact, nothing has happened the way I anticipated that it would.

I fell back to memories – “You are shameful. You are ugly.”

Yet, more memories tell me I have the ability to do anything, to make my life into something.

The equation fell short yet again.

Subconscious memories started replaying – shame, disgust, failure, bad, unworthy, stupid, fat, horrible.

I fell back into major depression. I didn’t want to look, I refused to look. And, the way out? The eating disorder. The food. It has been the doorway out of reality and into dreamland, to get me out of the pain of myself that I don’t want to face.

But that is exactly what I must do. Face it. Regardless of the circumstance, this is the Now.

I can hardly understand it myself because everything is a choice, isn’t it? And if it’s a choice, and I’ve relapsed into my addiction, then isn’t it my fault? And then doesn’t that mean I’m wrong, I’m bad, I’m a disgusting shame?

But, who says? Only my memories say so.

I believe the action of my eating disorder is a response to memories that are replaying in me. The eating disorder is not the problem. The memories that are replaying in me are what are causing the eating disorder.

It is in me. Whatever ‘it’ is, it is in me. I don’t know why, I cannot seek to know why anymore. IT is in me. This is true.

So then, is there a way out?

In a manner of speaking, I believe so. But it’s not in the denial of the eating disorder within. It’s in the acceptance of what is Now and loving every aspect of it.

I don’t understand it. Hardly at all. But I’ve tried fighting it. I’ve tried ignoring it. I’ve tried a million things. And the only thing I have left to do is surrender.

The bible says in Philippians 4:6, “Do not worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.”

I hardly understand this either. But when effort is futile the easiest thing to do is trust the wisest words I know and just allow the peace of God to transcend the pain.

I surrender.

 

Savasana

I’ve been practicing yoga for a couple of years now, on and off, and dabbling in various styles. In early 2015, I found Ashtanga Yoga and have been dedicated in my practice, with increasing discipline, ever since.

This year has seen its share of challenges, both on and off the mat, and I’d like to close my first year of dedicated practice by paying homage to, and expressing my gratitude for, one of my favourite postures, Savasana.

A seemingly simple pose, yet as my awareness expands so too does my understanding of it (along with a knowing that no understanding is ever final).

When I first started yoga I learned that Savasana was “rest” pose and well, who doesn’t like rest? My regime from the beginning of time has been to muscle through that which I hate, hurry through the grunt of it with as little attention as possible, and then, sweet bliss, take rest! Though, oddly, I never felt rested, even after rest pose. And that wasn’t just on the mat. That was the common theme throughout my life.

Enter Ashtanga Yoga!

Ashtanga has been a curse and a blessing, a love and a hate, a pain and a pleasure…I’ve hit numerous road blocks over the course of my short journey, and I know there will be many more.

At one point in particular, a few months into a more disciplined practice, I had hit one of those proverbial yogic walls. I started to hate my practice. I had lost my beginner’s mind, the one that has no idea where it’s going  and knows only that it is involved in this new and exciting adventure – the time in Eden before the first bite of the apple.

I was tired. I was hurting. I wasn’t flexible (or so I thought). I dreaded each morning, dreaded facing myself and all of my shortcomings. I stepped on my mat each morning with a heavy burden of guilt and self-condemnation and I wanted to cry every time. The tears were often released through various poses during my practice and I wondered how much more I could take. The pain, both on a physical and mental plane, was incessant.

I couldn’t stop though. There was a voice inside of me that said, “Keep going.” I was more afraid of stopping than of the pain itself. If I stopped I would never see what lay around the next corner and that scared me more – accepting the belief that there are limits to what I can do, to what is available to me.

I kept going.

A short while later I came across an alternative notion that Savasana is really the death of the practice and this was sort of an “a-ha” moment for me. I mean, I’d heard of Savasana referred to as corpse pose before but I had always just thought that this was because you lay like a dead body, not because of an actual death of someone or something.

So, as I contemplated the notion of letting my practice die, I experienced a small sense of relief and a willingness and openness to keep going.

Letting my daily practice die at the end of each session prevents me from carrying it forward to the next. I no longer have to begin each practice holding the perceived inadequacies (a.k.a. self-judgments) of the previous day’s practice. They’re gone. Each days practice now begins anew. It has to.

If I continue to bring today’s experience forward, I refuse the experience of tomorrow and stop living in the present. By perpetuating an environment of judgement (i.e., today must be like yesterday or today mustn’t be like yesterday), I disallow the experience entirely and it becomes a completely fictitious event based solely on a past experience or future expectation.

Holy Savasana!

This is so far-reaching for me. My whole life has started to feel like an accumulation of every transgression and now I can let it all die. The scoreboard can be taken down.

I have to wonder, as I try to draw parallels between the philosophies of Yoga and my Christian roots, if Jesus died once to cleanse me of my sins, is my persistence to live with the guilt of my past not a refusal of God’s power and promise of salvation and ultimately a denial of God’s Good News?

I believe so.

As I move in to 2016, I will practice Savasana with more humility and reverence and with an understanding that I need not carry such a heavy burden.

The present moment is all there is and living in it is the ultimate experience of salvation.

Take rest.

 

Trascendental

The future is Now!

What happened, moved me. It didn’t keep me.

Only I could allow myself to remain there, but the Now is not immobile.

An event moved me, transcended me. I don’t want it back – it doesn’t exist Now. The event was organic and flowing and beautiful. It cannot be duplicated. To want for what was would only trap me.

Say yes to what Is and keep moving – there is more ahead. Yes, it’s unknown but the only way to reveal the future is to stay in the Now and let it, watch it, unfold.