Disappearing Drops In My Empty Bucket
Yesterday I gave you a brief description of myself in my mid-20's, which is where I began my yoga practice. When I look back, I don't even recognize myself! I truly am a completely different person in the best ways possible. I didn't change overnight, but rather over time. My bucket was empty, but about to soak up the healing powers locked within myself.
Once I became an adult I do believe it was my responsibility to choose healthier ways of being in relationships not just with boyfriends/men, but also with friends, family and co-workers. It would be a few years before I came to accept and then recover from co-dependency.
I began practicing yoga at the age of 25 to help reduce the stress of teaching first grade. I can confidently say I was thoroughly detached from myself. I did not love myself at all and if you asked me what I liked about myself I would have said my eyes and that's it. I didn't like my physical body for so many reasons and just about hated my internal self as well. I also had no idea what made me happy because the people I chose to spend time with back then were really good at criticizing the things I enjoyed. "You like the Cranberries? That band is lame." Get it?
I also surrounded myself with people who were good at telling me all the things I couldn't do. Like, you can't cook, you can't sing, you can't earn any grade less than a B, you can't be worth anything if you don't earn all A's, you can't be a responsible adult if you like to go out with your friends at night, you can't get a belly ring, etc, etc, etc. This was how I was raised and what I knew.
Yoga was the first place I felt free of this judgment and attack. It was the first thing in my adult life that felt like a success for me. There was no grading or evaluation. I just had to show up, breathe, and feel good. I would guess it was the first time in my adult life I actually breathed fully and freely.
And that was the first drop in my empty bucket. I imagine myself as an old wooden bucket. So empty and dry that these first few drops were merely absorbed into my being with no visible result. It would take lots and lots of drops of yoga before even the first little visible puddle of change would show up.
Here's how that first little glimmer of transformation happened. I had been practicing yoga sort of off and on for about a year when I was in a class and the instruction was to go from low push up (Chaturanga Dandasana) to high push up (Plank/Ardha Chaturanga Dandasana). I put my knees down to make the transition and the instructor asked me why.
I said, "I can't do that". Of course I did, it was all I knew of myself. She told me that when I was at yoga I wasn't allowed to say I can't. I had to choose my words, which was almost a shock to me. I had no idea I could choose my words and therefore create my reality!
Some choices were, "That is difficult for me. I may do it slowly. I haven't learned that yet. I'm working on it. I'm practicing that move. That is challenging me today and I am visualizing myself doing it."
From that point on, I took baby steps to try taking "I can't" out of my life both on and off the mat. The first thing I did that I can recall applying this lesson to is getting a belly ring. I really wanted one for a long time but so many people in my life were telling me I couldn't do that. In the mid-90's belly rings were still pretty shocking - akin to men getting their ears pierced in the 80's.
When I finally had it done, it was the first time I felt like me. I loved it! It was cute, sassy and playful. It didn't make me less or a bad school teacher. In fact it made me more. More confident to trust my own heart. More able to express and fulfill my own desires. More able to like myself.
My belly ring was the first, tiny step on my journey toward self-healing, self-love, and radical self-acceptance. I am still on that path today, but thankfully have come miles and miles from where I started.
Over the last 15 years releasing "I can't" abundantly changed me and my life for the better. I can cook and I'm good at it, too. I can sing with joy and laugh at myself when my voices waivers. I can be a responsible adult and enjoy nights out with my friends, have a belly ring and tattoos. I can be a full expression of the soul that inhabits this body and the Universe will only be better for it.
Had I held on to "I can't" my story would not include Yoga Flirt, which has been an indescribable gift in my life. The opportunity to pass along the treasures of yoga and it's wisdom to other women each week fills my heart and soul with such gratitude for the struggles I have had, for the lessons I've learned, and the chance to inspire you in ways that will bring this same joy to your life.
If I had continued to use '"I can't" in my life, my recent path in life would have gone something like this:
I can't move hundreds of miles away from the only place I've ever lived. I can't quit my job without having a new job. I can't open a yoga studio. I can't change directions and switch from traditional yoga to Yoga Flirt. Etc, etc.
Instead, I said I can do these things. They are challenging and difficult. And I am still learning a lot about running my own business and sometimes it scares me. A LOT. AND I can do it.
I offer you this little gem. Take the words "I can't" out of your vocabulary. Choose a new reality for yourself and bask in the glorious amazement of how much you can do as it unfolds before you.