I have been thinking a LOT about my intentions in other realms lately because Saturday is my birthday. I will be 46.
I KNOW! Another whole year gone --whoosh. I'm in such a good place this year, though, that I'm looking forward to it. No, seriously. I mean it. I am really interested to see what this next year holds, especially because I just got the most amazing birthday present.
I've been doing this on-line course based on the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown with my friend R. The course itself has been a little lighter-weight than I hoped it would be, but it's been very useful to keep the subject top-of-mind. R. and I have been talking a lot about the baggage we carry and the ways in which perfectionism and shame infiltrate almost every aspect of our lives. How they stop us from connecting with the people we love in an authentic and vulnerable way. Shame and perfectionism stop me doing the things I really want to do because I think I need to be more __(fill in the blank)__ in order to do them. Thinner, richer, smarter, younger, hipper, deeper... you can exhaust yourself thinking of all the ways you're not perfect and don't measure up and all the reasons why you should just stay home hiding instead of going out and greeting the world in joy. It's so sad to think of how many of us are carrying around this kind of baggage all day, every day. Until, at some point, (maybe, say, on the cusp of 46,) we decide we are truly and wonderfully enough just as we are.
Anyway, in the course of our conversation, R asked me where I was on becoming a yoga instructor. I told her that I had asked my yoga instructor and that he said most people have an established practice of at least a year before they start training to become an instructor, which I think is a sound idea. I'm still such a beginner --I can't even imagine being ready for teacher training even in another eight months, but maybe that's just my "I'm not enough" talking.
We were chatting back and forth about that, and my stupid foot and I was going on and on again about how transformational it has been to be reconnected to my body, after about five years of actively NOT being so. It's really changed almost every aspect of my life. I never understood how important it is to be on speaking terms with my body --I always thought that it was enough to be on speaking terms with my mind and heart.
And then R said something that just...well, it may have been the best birthday present I've ever gotten.
The pain, the deep knowledge of what it feels like to be betrayed by your body, the amount of energy it takes to endure the pain or tune out the pain; all of these things would make you an amazing teacher of yoga. [...] to have someone who can say, "I get it" is huge!! Also to hear someone say, "this worked for me" is huge!! Or even to be greeted at the door and not have the teacher cringe because she/he doesn't know how to teach someone who isn't "normal" is huge!
And there it is, see: my intention for what I'd like to do with, well, maybe the rest of my life. (Besides raising and loving my family, and writing, I mean.) I'd like to help people with disabilities or eating disorders or chronic pain issues or whatever it is that has disconnected them from their bodies. I'd like to help people reconnect with themselves. If I could even give one person the feeling I have when I am in the midst of a good yoga practice, I will have made the world a better place.
Y'all, that's a pretty big present.
So, as I was making this discovery and getting ready to turn a year older, I was also dealing with some pretty intense foot pain. I'm not sure what was/is going on but it felt like something bad. The last time I had a spell like this, I went to my podiatrist and he told me that there was pretty much nothing he could do. THIS time I decided to try something totally new to me: acupuncture.
(I know, I know. Clearly, the body snatching is almost complete. The fact that I would even consider something that involved being a pin cushion (I am phobic of needles) boggles the mind.)
Dudes, the acupuncturist was amazing. It wasn't entirely stick-free, but it hurt only a little more than doing nothing, and then, like all of my experiences with Eastern stuff these days, it turned out to have a lot more going on than just some needles on some pressure points. I could FEEL the...whatever it is (energy? blood?) circulating around my body--my hair stood on end when it got there. And then this deep, deep relaxation. I was so relaxed that at the end, he did some manual massage on my FULF (Effed Up Left Foot) and it was AWESOME. I wasn't all tense out of fear that he would hurt me. I am going back next week.
And then I went to the mall to do some clothes shopping and I broke my toe.
(Because I guess I needed further proof that shopping was evil. Only I can break a bone while trying on clothes at Saks.)
I was kind of blissed out after the acupuncturist, which usually means I'm not quite in this world, if that makes sense. I had this big dressing room with one of those concrete round steps in the middle of the three-sided mirror. I guess that's for people to stand on while the tailor pins up their pants for hemming (or for me to practice my American Idol audition--errr. Never mind.) and I just...ran right into it. It didn't move. It DID break the first joint on my second toe on my left foot --I guess I should be grateful that it's always my left foot that is targeted by these little jokes from the Cosmos.
(Well, maybe not GRATEFUL, exactly. GRATEFUL would probably require a little less usage of the "F" word.)
I was really sad, thinking that this toe thing might stop me from taking yoga when I realized that there it is, see: a chance to start modifying my practice to accommodate a special need. (You have to hand it to whoever is in charge of sending me messages about my life. S/He's goooood.) So, I'm going to try it when I go to yoga tonight. I'll keep y'all posted.
Tonight is also important because the Smelly Lotion Giveaway is open until midnight if you haven't already entered. If you don't want lotion but would prefer either yarn or my book or...um...snow, let me know that, too. Feel free to add a "Happy Birthday"--this year, I honestly feel like it's less of a wish and more of an intention!