A few years ago, I contacted a therapist trained in spiritual psychology with the intention of learning to love myself more and decrease anxiety levels. I was, at the moment, riddled with anxiety, very much in my head and overly analytical about nearly every interaction that took place. What was worse, is that I would often berate myself for what I perceived to be shame laden 'errors' and felt like there had to be something wrong with me because I had been 'stuck' in some patterned behaviors that were not serving me anymore.
I showed up to my first appointment with the hope of finding some relief from my otherwise slave driver mentality and ultimately what I wanted was to find out who I truly was and how I fit into this world. She was effusively loving, entirely non-judgmental and had a come as you are approach. Even on the days where I showed up to her office, not having slept the night before with tired eyes and lots of 'ridiculous' stories to share, she held the space and even expressed joy or laughter when I shared what I considered to be deep dark shadowy secrets that I was unwilling to tell anyone else. She cradled my process and through that, I was able to view myself as a wide eyed child, experiencing the world the best I knew how with the information I had available to me at the time.
I softened. I started to allow myself to move through things and the drill Sargent living on my shoulder started to quiet down. At first, the behaviors were all still there and I was still living within a pattern, but my perception of everything was shifting. With this shift, I started to notice changes happening sort of on their own. When I established a more loving eye toward myself, I no longer wanted to reach toward the behaviors. It was almost like I crowded out the stuff that wasn't of service to me anymore by falling in love with myself.
When I work with my life coach, he is amazing at noticing the little subtle moments where judgement is still surviving. The other day, we sat across from each other and he watched me judge myself over some things that came up recently and he urged me to become more expansive and to grow into the idea that I am becoming the woman I have always wanted to be, but felt afraid to embrace in the past. The truth is, I am a free spirit, independent, forward thinking, progressive woman and societal constraints and rules are often not attractive to me.
I taught yoga to students in recovery yesterday at UT and I stayed for their short meeting. The topic, not coincidentally happened to be self-acceptance. I got to hear everyone in the group share about instances of self-judgement about their homes, interactions, addiction etc. and how it was overwhelmingly not helpful for their healing. I could not agree more. There is no room for judgement in my life. Not from me to myself nor from others. I have had to teach people how to treat me over the last few years, refusing to allow judgment to enter my heart. This means I have had to also learn when and with whom it is appropriate to share tender things with. That does not mean I have learned to be secretive, just discerning.
My friend, Marissa and I are going to teach what we want to deeply learn on June 12 in a 2.5 hour workshop dedicated to the art of self-acceptance and self-compassion. I am thrilled about delving deeper into this work. I know that it is just the beginning and I know that throughout the process of teaching, there will be more and more layers uncovered and truths revealed.
Sunday June 12, 2:30-4 PM at Soma Vida located at 2324 E Cesar Chavez St. Cost is $40 a person. Space is limited. Participants can prepay in the 'workshops' page on this website or pay at the event.
I truly hope to see you there as we shed the layers and layers of judgement that were once attractive but are now obsolete.