I write a lot about the (Un)Becoming circle. In part because that is where most of my working focus is right now, in part because I am amazed daily by the beauty of the women in the circle and in part because of my own transformation in guiding and doing this work. It is intense, yes. Each of us has resistance along the way. Each of us come in and out of the work, at our own natural ebb and flow. And there is an energy connecting the women that is indescribable.
What has struck me the most is how each of us have transformed in our self-love and self-care practices. I believe this transformation is in part because of the focus I put on self-care as a guide and in the circle, and also it’s something more. Each of the women are finding their worth, their value in this world. Each are starting to respect themselves in deeper ways. Each are learning the art and science of allowing themselves to be.
This is where the nourishment is: in the being; in the allowing. Yes, it’s in the cup of tea or glass of wine or long hot bath or even in the taking a moment to breath. And yet true nourishment isn’t in the doing of these practices at all. It is in the honoring that you are worth the time of these practices. It is in the giving yourself the respect that you deserve. It is in embodying the truth of your own worth and value. It is in the knowing when it is time to be quiet and allow things to settle within and then in the allowing and being.
Nourishment lives not in the doing. It lives in the being.
So how do we make the shift from the doing to the being? The irony is that we need to start doing the practices to encourage the ideas and feelings and knowing of our own worth to come back out into being. We start to shift when we mindfully and intentionally take the time to love ourselves up, whether that be in a 60-second breath exercise or in a 60-minute massage. As we intentionally do and explore these self-love practices, a shift starts to happen within: we start to allow for the being in these moments; and as our practices expand, the being expands beyond those moments of intentional and scheduled self-love and starts to grow into our daily life, our normal way of living in the world. With time the doing exercises can drop off from being done daily and can instead live within us, to be drawn upon when needed.
This shifting is what my work is about. This learning of moving from the mindlessly doing to the mindfully doing; and then from the mindfully and intentionally doing to the simply being. This shifting doesn’t happen overnight, it isn’t instantaneous, and yet with time and practice and beginning again and again, it does happen. I have watched the women in my circles make amazing shifts in a matter of weeks, even greater shifts in a few months. It always leaves me awestruck when they start to make connections and shifts and then when the being starts, holy wow!
I have witnessed these shifts within myself also. I started my body-centered mindfulness practice with the sole intention of not yelling at my daughter so much and trying and connect with her more. That was it: I wanted a better relationship with my kid. With time I did yell less and then I noticed other shifts in me, in my attitude about our home, my connection to my husband and then the biggest surprise was the deeper connection to my body and feeling more comfortable in my skin and in the world. The shifting has continued on to connecting more deeply to my own embodied knowing and and finding re-connection to my feminine self and to the sacred and Divine. I know these shifts and transformations will continue, and each time I am left in awe and gratitude for this work, both in solitude and in community.
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There is an ebb and flow to this work of undoing all the myths and stories that were overtly pounded or slyly snuck into our heads as we grew up in the world. It is a dance of coming together and holding the stories close while learning not to let them have a hold on you. It is whispering to the old stories that we, us and the story, have transformed while they scream at us.
Sometimes we feel the shift happening. We notice our dissonance and discomfort as a story is about to transform, be re-written, reborn. We are ill at ease and sometimes this comes through as anxiety and sometimes it comes through as physical illness and sometimes is comes through as just not feeling right in our skin, sensing that it is about to shed.
Stories of our worthiness are common. Or rather, our unworthiness. Stories of how we have nothing to offer this world. Stories of how we are terrible mothers or wives or friends. Stories of how we are ungrateful daughters or students. Stories of how we have no real value in this world.
I believe we dance with these stories. I know I do.
These stories stop us from caring for ourselves. From loving ourselves. From honoring ourselves.
These stories allow us to give and give and give to others, trying so desperately to prove our own worth and value, to the outside world, but mostly to our Self. We discount our work as unimportant. We undervalue our gifts. We make self denigrate ourselves when another person recognizes our gifts or thanks us for being in the world.
These stories can be re-written. We do not need to live in a world where we are not valued, not honored, not respected.
We start re-writing by learning to honor, value and respect our Self. We start taking the lead in the dance by making the space to love ourselves even during our busiest times.
These are things I have learned and relearned. My own dance with many of my old stories has become more refined, smoother. I am in the lead and can hold some of my old stories as they cry and scream, like I would hold my own toddler as he is sharing his big emotions with me. I can thank many of my old stories for what they did or tried to do to protect me and then lovingly tell them it is time for them to change, that they can’t bite or kick or hit me anymore.
I can tell them that they have changed, that I have changed. And then I move out of that dance and into another, another layer ready to be revealed and shed. As I love myself up a little bit more, as I recognize my own value and gifts for this world, for my Self.
I hear the music of my worth. And I change the steps to the dance.