This post is brought to you by something tender within me. I woke up this morning (on my day off) with swirling thoughts in my head---the usual anxious ones. The themes are usually financial, existential, social and occasionally, if I'm not careful---the thoughts can begin to snow ball into negative self-talk---but with the Artist's Way as a tool, especially the Morning Pages (3 stream of consciousness pages in your journal first thing in the morning)---I'm learning to just let it all out in my writing...the anxiety does pass and I can carry on with my day. Darling, you've come a long way.
I know you're not 'supposed to' re-read morning pages once you've written them---they're intended to be just a tool but not necessarily a place to go back to....being a rebel, I decided to unearth one of my older journals from the first round of Artist's Way experimentation back in 2013. I knew that past self would have something to offer my current self, and she did....certainly. The anxious undertones were still present, as anxiety has been a backseat driver through most of my life---but the themes and language were different, helping me to see that progress has certainly been made.
She (my 2013 self) was so afraid and was ashamed of her body---often chiding herself for having eaten too much or for using food to check out. She was afraid to leave a relationship that wasn't serving her and was so anxious in so many circumstances and self-critical to a debilitating degree that keeping herself small and safe seemed like the only feasible options at the moment.
My 2017 self can recognize a shift. Though, certainly she is still perfectionistic in certain capacities and feels the need to get back to people right away for fear of losing them---she is learning to soften more and more and is less afraid of taking risks. I feel the need this morning upon writing this, to say thank you to my younger self--even though she may not have known what to do, she was doing the best she could to protect herself. She was afraid of being alone--of social situations--of appearing weak or awkward or incapable. She felt very, very young.
Brooke of today is learning discernment and setting healthy boundaries. She is working for herself and is learning more everyday about self-compassion. She is brave for taking risks and even though fear creeps in, as it does and will---she is learning to trust that she is capable of handling unexpected things. She has the tools to wrangle the often blurry and grey-area reality of our world. I am proud of who she is. I am proud of who I am.
All of that being said, I've been guided in the direction again and again that I am truly meant to go. This year is all about practicing presence. I'm halfway through my meditation teacher training with Kelly Lindsey and am recommitting myself to a formal practice. I will also begin teaching public meditation classes at Sukha Yoga in Austin and have been blessed with an opportunity to watch and learn from Erinn Lewis, a badass yogi mama who is a queen when it comes to speaking truth and setting loving boundaries for the space. I feel like a sponge, wanting to soak up every instance of learning. Who we learn from---and who we admire--are direct reflections of our own light and gifts and if that is true based on the teachers I have gravitated toward, I must be one shiny being.
Stillness in a non-distracted setting---which includes no phone or computer-has the capacity to bring up a lot. I went to Erinn's class the other day and she drew a picture of an iceberg with some of our coping/checking out strategies at the top (eating, tv, facebook, drinking, etc) and underneath all of those, a list of feelings we are likely masking (fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, etc). I'm curious about this as a human. What are we trying to not feel by constantly being in a state of movement or distraction? We are missing out on the precious present moment and I have a strong desire, now more than ever to stay THERE...to stay HERE.
So, my lofty goal for this year is to be present and to travel with my mom, myself, my higher self and my inner child. Be present with myself---be present with family--be present across the board. To not check out. I don't think my 2013 self was ready for this. Meditation was a scary, scary thing...but now, now she is ready...and excited to take this year on with her hands in the dirt of it...trusting herself FULLY and I invite you to do the same.
Until next week,