Let me start by saying that at Age 45 and with many years of therapy under by belt, I am pretty comfortable with who I am and what I do. I am content knowing that I am an excellent massage therapist and energy worker. I am content that I can lead a good yoga class and support my students. It honors, but does not surprise, me when people say my dance classes mean so much to them. I believe people who tell me that my retreats profoundly impact them. I am ok with my “skills” in the world. I generally don’t hide much of myself, except my legs.
As someone who values and practices compassion, after I gained 50 pounds 10 years ago, I believed I was exercising compassion to others by covering up my legs, because, let’s face it, No-One Wants to See THAT! Or do they?
This is the question I had never really asked myself before that magical moment: 11:30am on April 5th, 2014 at The Body Love Conference in Tucson, AZ. I was sitting in a lecture by one of my sheros, Sonya Renee Taylor. She runs a Facebook site called The Body is Not An Apology. I have been following her for about 18 months. I love the boldness and bravery of her shares and how she encourages people to post photos they would prefer to delete. She calls it “Bad Picture Monday.” I so admire people for posting those moments that do not reflect their “best look” to start unwinding the shame that comes from being “ordinary” and “normal.” I have admired them, but had not yet felt the strength to post one myself.
I listened with all of my being as she told the story of when and how she decided to take on the pain and shame she felt because of the bald spots on her head. She was ready to stop wearing a wig and totally shave her head. She gathered friends together for a ritual to bless her, her head, and her bald spots. They promised to support her through the 30-day process she called a RUCHUS: Radically Unapologetic Healing Challenge 4 Us! It was an experiment in exposing the scariest fear about herself to the world— through photos, blogs, vlogs.
Then she shaved her head! Afterwards, her friends blessed her bald head. In some ways that was the easy part. Next, she had to begin showing the world.
At that point in the story, she said something that struck me so strongly. She said, when she woke the next day and took her dog for a walk that she expected people to scream in terror and run the other way upon seeing her bald head! She was so surprised when people walked by and did not even give her a second look. Nothing. The world had not come to an end; she was not shunned; she did not frighten the children. Nothing changed except that she began to accept herself on a new level.
That is when it dawned on me—I have been afraid that if I showed my legs, people would run screaming the other way, would be so disgusted they would vomit. In my mind, I was doing them a favor. I was protecting them! But, maybe they didn’t want or need my protection? Maybe I was really denying them something of value, a mirror, a reflection.
I believe that my mission in my work is to hold a mirror to show people their greatness. I approach my teaching, my healing sessions, my life with a “you know best” approach, gently or not so gently, guiding people to feel good in their skins, to relish themselves. Yet, here I was hiding my own skin. The gaping blind spot—I was denying them myself as a mirror! Many women have not seen themselves reflected in the media, on the streets, on social media as powerful and proud and beautiful. I had never seen women’s bare, cellulite-covered legs, so mine seemed like the odd ones, the ONLY ones.
Where are the legs that look like mine?
They must be out there, hiding themselves behind long pants, long skirts, thick leggings. Hiding, hiding, hiding. It began to dawn on me that I was doing the same. I was denying other women a potential mirror, denying them a reflection of themselves. I was making it seem normal to hide, appropriate to cover up, because NO One Wants to See THAT! But I realized, I DO! I want to be seen, I want to see myself in others, I want to reflect and be reflected.
So my RUHCUS began.
I walked out of the workshop fired-up. I went to lunch with two friends. We sat on the grass of the U of A mall to eat lunch on that warm day. As we talked, I, seemingly-casual (but heart racing all the while) pulled up my pant legs to expose not only my calves, but all the way to the tops of my thighs! They continued talking, and to my surprise, continued EATING. Neither of them looked at me, or became too ill to finish their lunch. Nothing happened. People walked by, they did not grab their children and usher them away from the “disgusting site.” I got no stares, no tisk, tisk of disapproval. Nothing happened. I breathed. I told them of my experience. They smiled and cheered me on. No problems finishing their food!
But, I thought, of course, we are at The Body Love Conference. This is different. This is the most accepting crowd in the world. How will it be in the REAL world? I was not totally ready for that, but at least I would try it here. I spent the rest of the conference with my legs exposed! Really exposed! My RUCHUS had begun.
Blessed friends, it is Holiday Season, a time of giving and perhaps a time of helping others, I am reminded of my first days at Kripalu Center for Yoga, when i was beginning my Seva Program (Selfless Service). The very first thing we got that first night was an article by Rachel Naomi Remen on the difference between Helping and Serving. Before that time, I would have probably used those terms interchangeably and not really made a distinction between them and the power each has to heal or possibly harm. The experience was so deeply moving that it has stayed alive for me for many years, though in the last couple of years, I have found myself slipping back into the bad habit of helping, and have become tired and resentful as a result. It was time for me to revisit this deep wisdom and as I am revisiting it, I wanted to share her brilliant article with you. May you find as much profound wisdom and support as I did. Wishing you a most delicious and grateful Holy Days Season. With love and Hugs, Joanna
IN THE SERVICE OF LIFE
By Rachel Naomi Remen
In recent years the question "How can I help?" has become meaningful to many people. But perhaps there is a deeper question we might consider. Perhaps the real question is not "How can I help?" But "How can I serve?"
Serving is different from helping. Helping is based on inequality; it is not a relationship between equals. When you help you use your own strength to help those of lesser strength. If I'm attentive to what is going on inside of me when I'm helping, I find that I'm always helping someone who is not as strong as I am, who is needier than I am. People feel this inequality. When we help we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity and wholeness. When I help I am very aware of my own strength. But we don't serve with our strength, we serve with ourselves. We draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve, our wounds serve, even our darkness can serve. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others and the wholeness in life. The wholeness in you is the same as the wholeness in me. Service is a relationship between equals.
Helping incurs debt. When you help someone they owe you one. But serving, like healing is mutual. There is no debt. I am as served as the person that I am serving. When I help I have a feeling of satisfaction. When I serve I have a feeling of gratitude. These are very different things.
Serving is also different from fixing. When I fix a person I perceive them as broken, and their brokeness requires me to act. When I serve I see and trust that wholeness. It is what I am responding to and collaborating with.
There is distance between ourselves and whatever or whomever we are fixing. Fixing is a form of judgment. All judgment creates distance, a disconnection, an experience of difference. In fixing there is an inequality of expertise that can easily become a moral distance. We cannot serve at a distance. We can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected, that which we are willing to touch. This is Mother Teresa's basic message. We serve life not because it is broken but because it is holy.
If helping is an experience of strength, fixing is an experience of mastery and expertise. Service, on the other hand, is an experience of mystery, surrender, and awe. A fixer has the illusion of being casual. A server knows that he or she is being used and has a willingness to be used in the service of something greater, something essentially unknown. Fixing and helping are very personal; they are very particular, concrete and specific. We fix and help many different things in our lifetimes, but when we serve we are always serving the same thing. Everyone who has ever served through the history of time serves the same thing. We are servers of the wholeness and mystery in life.
The bottom line, of course, is that we can fix without serving. And we can help without serving. And we can serve without fixing or helping. I think I would go so far as to say that fixing and helping may often be the work of the ego and service is the work of the soul. They may look similar if you're watching from the outside, but the inner experience is different. The outcome is often different too.
Our service serves us as well as others. That which uses us strengthens us. Over time, fixing and helping are draining, depleting. Over time we burn out. Service is renewing. When we serve, our work itself will sustain us.
Service rests on the basic premise that the nature of life is sacred, that life is a holy mystery, which has an unknown purpose. When we serve, we know that we belong to life and to that purpose. Fundamentally, helping, fixing, and service are ways of seeing life. When you help you see life as weak, when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. From the perspective of service, we are all connected. All suffering is like my suffering and all joy is like my joy. The impulse to serve emerges naturally and inevitably from this way of seeing.
Lastly, fixing and helping is the basis of curing, but not of healing. In 40 years of chronic illness I have been helped by many people and fixed by a great many others who did not recognize my wholeness. All that fixing and helping left me wounded in some important and fundamental ways. Only service heals.
Loves. I cannot believe how long it has been since my last blog post. Almost 3 months! And what a 3-months it has been. When I last shared my process with you, I was in the midst of a deep emotional, physiological and psychological healing process. I was just beginning to emerge from months of actively rebuilding my adrenal glands and clearing an intestinal parasite. I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and raw. I needed to pull away from many responsibilities and activities and go deep within, not the most comfortable place for an extravert who gets so much juice from interaction and accomplishment!
Well, here we are 3 months later and I feel new! With the expert, compassionate and gentle guidance of my dear friend Sarah Cotten of Body Wisdom Health, I am waking every morning ready to greet the day and not wishing to draw up the covers and hide.
As much as I know about healing, and can facilitate deep healing for others, I am notoriously the worst client. I tend to push myself to serve others and take little time for myself. Sound familiar to anyone? This year has been such a lesson in giving myself time, prioritizing my well-being, saying NO, and allowing myself to be supported. All great challenges for me. It is literally "written into my hands" that this is my life-lesson. Through my training in Scientific Hand Analysis, I know that my first and foremost life lesson is: Lost Self-Worth, Integrity and Guilt Issues: "I don't know what I am good at. What's my niche? Self-worth and insecurity issues that show up as confusion about my gifts and abilities. Guilt about taking time for myself. Taking time for myself is perceived as "taking from" others. Issues around receiving" Yikes!
This has been the story of my life for as long as I can remember. And it will continue to be the story of my life, but I am finally able to see it for what it is: A LESSON. A reminder. A kick-in-the-ass. A mirror. An obstacle, that when I overcome, on a daily, moment-by-moment basis, gives me the greatest gifts. A friend. A true ally.
If I ignore this friend, if I decide that it is more important to look out for others at my own expense, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE! Like a row of dominos, one a after another I fall into "I can't. Incompletion, frustration, lack of results. BANG. "I don't fit in" Issues with family and community, feeling disconnected, like the black-sheep. BANG. "Powerlessness. It's not MY fault. Why don't YOU tell me what to do?! Powerlessness, helplessness, overwhelm. I'm trapped." BANG. "Victimization, shame and numbness. I can't have what I want. Victimization (something happens that hurts) leading to shame, followed by numbness and disconnection from desires." BANG!
One after the other, or all at once, and I am left a shattered mess, unable to feel my power, afraid of my own decision-making capabilities, drowning in self-doubt and wanting to hide away from the world and give up. And all from not taking care of myself first!
This pattern was my life for so many years! And I did not know it. All the therapy, all the practices I tried, all the times I blamed my parents for things they said, blamed teachers for unskillful words and actions, did not get to the heart of it. The deep heart is that I need to take time for myself, take time for MY healing. That is this NOT selfish, but self-serving and gives me the power and strength and serve others.
Everyday, I have to remind myself, everyday, I have to hear the voice that says, "Don't do your practice, you are being selfish. Don't take that walk. Don't meditate. Don't take time to feed your body well. Someone needs you, take care of someone else, do something for someone else." Everyday, I have to say, "I hear you, and yes, I know that I have to care for others, but I cannot do that from a empty vessel. I need to fill my glass first, then it can overflow to others." I have to have the conversation all-day everyday. When I do, and when I practice gratitude for all that I have, I can serve. I can give with full presence and full life.
So now, I am practicing this daily. Reminding myself of the power of self-care in a totally new way. Feeling the rewards and being filled by them. Ready, poised to serve from a totally overflowing cup. I am blessed to have this wisdom, blessed to be able to share it and blessed, blessed, blessed to have you to share it with.
In deepest gratitude and with warmest HUGS,
Now my request: Add a comment about how you are filling your own cup, or what you could do to feel more overflowing...
Like this post, then share it with your friends through Facebook or email. Blessings and Hugs.
The reason we struggle with insecurity
I know I have been absent from my blog for some time and I wanted to explain. I have been thinking about writing what is happening for me for a while, but I kept running up against the feelings expressed in the first quote above. I see everyone's highlights reel, watch my friends make great strides in their lives and begin to feel insecure about my behind-the-scenes life. Watching the thriving of many can make the times of stagnancy or healing crisis feel all the more lonely. Then today, I saw this message from a compassionate teacher of love. "Do you have the strength to be vulnerable?" I realize that for the last several months, I have not had that strength, but thanks to excellent care I am receiving and giving myself, today I do.
About nine-months ago, I began seeing a nutritionist/functional medical practitioner, Sarah Cotten, to discover why, with all the things I had been doing in my life, the exercise, the eating "well" was I still feeling so much fatigue and gastrointestinal distress? She put me on a gluten free and low sugar protocol with more protein than I had been used to eating, as well as incorporating more fermented foods into my diet. I also began to take more supplements specific to my perceived deficiencies. While it helped some, I was still experiencing some of the same symptoms. So I get tested for adrenal function and intestinal parasites. As it turned out, I had not only Adrenal Stress but Adrenal Exhaustion! And an intestinal parasite.
This explained a lot about why life had become more challenging, I would awaken after a night's sleep still tired and sometimes dreading even things I liked to do. So I began a long slow protocol of taking herbs and bio-identical hormones to rebuild my adrenal system. After 3 months of that, which I still do everyday and will probably do for several more months, I began the process of dealing with the intestinal parasite. About a month ago, I went through the parasite cleanse and now I start the rebuilding of my intestinal flora and dealing with the candida yeast overgrowth. Now I am starting a gut-healing protocol to soothe my inflamed gut.
All of this process has been extremely humbling. I am not so debilitated that I require bed rest or anything like that, but I have not known how my energy would be day to day. Adrenal Exhaustion and intestinal cleansing is a tricky situation of day by day. Not having the energy or mental focus it requires for me to run my business effectively and serve my community in the way I want to has felt sometimes devastating. I am not accustomed to being this tired and scattered.
I am so grateful for my amazing husband Ben who has supported me every step of the way through this journey and allowed me the space and time to heal. What has really come to light during this time is how difficult it is for me to take REAL time for healing. My inclination is for fast recovery. Let's get it done now! This experience has shown me that this is not always possible. Sometimes to road to recovery is long and full of pot holes and switchbacks. It feel like I take a few steps forward and several steps back. Things are slowly improving, though I may still have a few months before I am fully recovered and back to my full-steam energy. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way and for the great care I am receiving.
If I regret anything in this experience it is not being open and vulnerable sooner. I am certain that I am not the only one who has gone through this kind of recovery and sharing it with others allows myself to be supported, and I hope, allowing others to see themselves in my story and seek the support and care they need.
For years, my whole life in fact, I have hated my last name: Carichner. How did you pronounce it? Our family pronounces is CARE-ick-ner. It has the German -ich- that is pronounced -ick-. When people ask me how to spell it, I have always broken it down: car-ich-ner. Always in 3's. People have almost never pronounced it "correctly" on the first try. Once, and I really mean once in 43 years, I had a person look at my name and pronounce it like we do. It was a checker at Safeway. I was flabbergasted. Now that I think about it, is the store next to my parents' house, so he may have been schooled on the pronunciation more than once. That aside, for my whole life, I have been "correcting" people on my name and feeling frustrated and resentful that I did not have a simple name, something easy to pronounce and spell. Now, I did not pine to be a Smith or Jones, but maybe Worthy or House or Simon. Anything simple. But alas, my whole life is a long time to feel frustrated. Then, suddenly, things changed.
Last week, a Facebook friend posted the list of questions for his friends to answer. It was the Bernard Pivot Questionnaire that James Lipton asks at the end of Inside the Actors Studio. The first question is: "What is your favorite word?" I answered the questions and said my favorite word is "perspective." The reason I love this word comes from my American Sign Language (ASL) training years ago. In ASL, the word is signed with the index finder of the left hand pointing up, (go ahead and do that now) and the index and middle fingers of the right hand pointing horizontally at the vertical left finger, like two eyes. (you can do that now, too) Then you move the "eyes" around the left finger, as if looking at it from a "new perspective." Imagine that those are your eyes. First you see the fingertip, then as you move, you see the side of the finger and then the nail. It is the same finger but depending from what angle you look, it appears totally different. When I learned that sign, it was an epiphany for my young mind. The same thing looks totally different if you just change the way you look at it! After that, I always loved that sign, and that concept.
A couple days after that reminder about perspective, I was receiving a massage from a new friend. She asked me, "Do you pronounce your last name ca-RICH-ner?" Now, people have almost always looked at my name and said it that way, and I have ALWAYS corrected them and said CARE-ick-ner. But at that moment, in the state of relaxation and release I was feeling from the massage, I had another epiphany. Right there in the middle of my name was the word "RICH." It is amazing to say, but that had NEVER occurred to me before! There is was staring me in the face. People had said it that way my whole life, and all I have EVER thought was, "NO, that is WRONG," not "Wow, there is a sweet word hiding out in the middle of this confusing name!" Light bulbs went off, and I suddenly saw my name from a new perspective. ca-RICH-ner. I suddenly realized that I have been emphasizing the "CARE" but never the "RICH." I consider my family very caring. We are people how look out for others, love others and make caring an important part of our lives, but I would not always consider us RICH, especially in the financial realms. I said to her, "I think I am going to start emphasizing the the RICH part of my name." Her wise response was, "I will emphasize both!" CARE-RICH-ner. We are rich because we care! Rich in love, rich in health, rich even in money? Why not! I have been denying the richness right in front of me and hating my name for too long!
I called my father to ask if there was any specific reason we pronounced our name this way. He could not give me any good reason why. It was just how is has been passed down in our family. It may have had different a different spelling or pronunciation many generations back. I told him my story and said I would like to make it easy for myself, others and emphasize the RICH, not the ICK!
The next day, a woman was writing me a check and asked me my name; I said it CARE-RICH-ner, spelled Ca-rich-ner. She looked at and said, "Just like it sounds." I nearly fell over. An easy to spell name? I never DREAMED it would happen to me! There is was all this time, I was just blind to it, stuck in position that I needed to pronounce it the away we always had, even though we all find it frustrating. Breaking free of those rigid ways of doing things feels so good!!! Is there anything in your life drives you mad that you do out of habit, without thinking why? Maybe a change in perspective would shine some new richness for you?
When I first went to massage school, I had a vision. I wanted to open a healing clinic for women that was run on a sliding scale. I wanted healing it to be available to any woman, regardless of her ability to pay at the moment. I believed that if I created this, the women who could pay more would do so, and subsidize the ones who could not. I wanted it to be beautiful, as beautiful as any spa, but totally available to all. I was so excited about this idea. It felt good and necessary, down to my bones.
When I began my training, and told the teachers about my vision, they discouraged it. I am sure they had my best interest at heart, but they said sliding scale was confusing for people. I needed to choose a price and stick to it. They talked about "abundance consciousness" and getting away from my "poverty mentality." After all, it was 1997 in San Francisco. The dot com bubble was still expanding, money was flowing, young people were getting rich all over the place. My original vision began to vane. I worked for weeks, months and years to change my attitude about receiving. I read books on abundance, I took classes on it, I fiddled with my pricing, tried to convince myself that I just needed to "get over" my tendency to "over give" my services and "undervalue" myself. I never went for the sliding scale, and money continued to be something difficult to discuss and awkward. As with many things in my life, it was an up and down relationship. Sometimes feeling awkward and uncomfortable and and others feeling good and powerful.
Jump ahead to 2012. I like to get my acupuncture at the Tucson Community Acupuncture Clinic. I so appreciate their idea of sliding scale services. They offer acupuncture in a group setting, everyone in one room, so they can serve many people at the same time. They charge $15-$35 per session. Some days I have more to give and can pay their highest price and other days, I can give their lowest. They never make me feel like my current bank account status is the measure of my worth as a human. That is the feeling I would like to give to you. Now my work does not lend itself to that kind of practice. I see clients one-on-one, so I cannot create a group setting; however, I would like to believe I can create a practice that serves me and my community.
So here I am, attempting to be true to that ideal and to myself. And MYSELF wants to return to my roots, return to my original plan:
A healing clinic for women run on a sliding scale... Of course, I do not want to run myself ragged being there for everyone else, but I enjoy my work. I enjoy being of service and I am aware that sometimes my community may need support in paying for their sessions. So I am trying it. I am opening myself to the chance to share what I do with my tribe at a rate that I hope will encourage people to take care of themselves as well. Maybe I am being a fool. Maybe this is a huge mistake, but I am making it none the less.
So I am committing for the next 6-months to run my practice on a sliding-scale.
I am offering:
60-minute services for $40-$80
90-minute services for $70-$110. Pay what you can each time.
I hope this will resonate with the people who need to hear it. I hope that people will not see this as me not VALUING myself. I DO. I also value you, and value my connection with my community and want to serve in the most authentic way possible for ME. I ask that you be honest with yourself and honest with me. I am also open to hearing feedback. I know that money is a touchy subject for many of us, and I am attempting to just be honest about it, honest about how uncomfortable it can make me feel. Our greatness is not measure of our bank accounts.
I will state for the record that this is one of the most vulnerable posts I have ever written. I am putting myself out to my friends, students, family in a way I have rarely done. So while and I welcome your comments, I also ask you to sit with this information before simply posting. Know that this is challenging to write and expose myself so openly and ask your consideration in how you respond… If that makes you wish not to read this post, please turn back now ;-)
Fat and Happy?
Like many people in American society, I was introduced to yoga as a practice of physical postures: asana, and breath practices: pranayama. For me, it was like the gymnastics I had practiced as a child, without the dreaded “meets” where we were judged and scored. It was a wonderful way to come into my body. For years, I practiced it this way without going much deeper into the philosophy. I practiced alone at home, or in classes, without ever being introduced to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It was not until I went to the Kriaplu Center for a 4-month work-study that I really began to understand the broader philosophy. Until then, I did not know, for example that the second yoga surta of Patanjali states the reason for practice: Yoga chitta vritti nirodaha. Yoga is intended to lessen the fluctuations of the mind-stuff…
It seems to be an accepted premise in our society that being thinner will make you happier. We are shown this not only through advertizing, which uses this to sell us on the latest diet or gadget to lose weight, but it is an all around, pervasive attitude. We congratulate people for losing weight, for “looking great,” “looking better” however it is couched. We love stories of people losing weight, losing fat, and becoming lean and “healthy” and we expect that they are in fact happier for it. Maybe, and maybe not.
My story does not show that. I am currently the heaviest I have been in my life. I recently married a wonderful man, am happy in my marriage, happy in my career, happy in what I have to share with the world and more contented with myself, more loving toward my whole-self than I have ever been.
It was not always this way. At the physical level, my body has been in constant flux for my adult life. I have gained and lost as much as 60 pounds at a time, over and over. The physical and emotional fluctuations have been like the ups and downs of a roller coaster ride. However, not in the way some might assume. For years, I struggled with bi-polar-like depression. Bouncing from elated to despondent, sometimes several times a day. At times, the elation would last for days or even weeks, followed by weeks or months of deep depression and almost unbearable anxiety. During these years, I regularly wished to be rid of the pain so greatly, that I considered ending my life. Gratefully, my close relationships with loving family and friends kept me always searching for another answer.
Often during my deepest depressions, I would lose weight, considerable weight. Sometimes loss of appetite, was the reason, but often it was a compulsive attempt to escape the nightmare of my mind. I would compulsively practice vigorous yoga, walk miles at a time, in a vein attempt to outrun the racing, frightening thoughts. Invariably during one of these times, I would run into a friend who would comment, “Wow, Joanna, You look great! Have you lost weight?” I would usually laugh a bit sarcastically and reply, “Yeah, it’s great: Depression, give us a week, we’ll take off the weight!” Maybe not the kindest response but filled with the sick humor that accompanied my darker moments.
During one summer, my depression became so bad that I was not sleeping. After tossing and turning in bed for a few hours, I would get up and take my yoga mat to the nearest park. I would practice a vigorous 90 plus minutes of yoga, meditation, then walk vigorously once or twice around the 3-mile perimeter of the nearby lake, attempting to outdistance the cloud of pain and doom that permeated my mind.
The result of my ritual was that I “looked” healthy and fit. People responded to my body and yoga practice with admiration. When I went to yoga classes, I was often praised for my “beautiful practice.” I felt afraid to tell them that while I had a cute, round butt, muscular arms, a belly you could bounce quarters off and a strong, lean, flexible body, I was in a deep inner hell. It seemed that people in my life were unable to see past the outer me to the painful interior realms.
I am not attempting to say that people with lean muscular bodies cannot be happy or that people with more fat are always happy. I am also not saying that doing yoga and meditating are not greatly beneficial practices. What I recognize is that my approach to these practices was compulsive, competitive and so focused on the exterior, on getting something, being something better, that I was increasing the fluctuations of my mind-stuff not lessening them
I had many happy “lean” times and sad and depressed “fat” times. But the reverse is also not true. Being lean and “fit” does not mean happiness and being fat does not necessitate feeling depressed or bad about one self. My body-shape does not determine the level of my happiness. I am not pretending that having extra fat on my frame does not come at some cost. I know that it puts me in more danger for some diseases and can shorten my life, but not as quickly as suicide.
My current practices of gentle and restorative yoga and JourneyDance, while they do not sculpt my frame, provide me with more contentment and feelings of overall self-confidence than I have ever experienced. My practice now is lessening the fluctuations of my mind-stuff. In that, I am succeeding with my practice of yoga, even with a round belly, thick thighs and cellulite.
By nature, I am service-oriented. I am a karma yogi. I love, and live, to be of service. I am happiest when I am being useful to the world. For the last several years, I have been getting subtle, and not so subtle, messages that I needed to be paid more for my work. I have been told that I have issues with receiving and that I need to work on them. Maybe that is true. Maybe I have a hard time asking and a hard time "valuing" myself. But what this last couple of weeks has shown me is that I do not want money to stand in between me and my tribe. All the money in the world will not give me the fantastic feelings I get from seeing the people I love and being able to spread healing love and receive your healing. It is the best gift I know. It makes me happier than anything I could buy with more cash. Of course, I live in the "real world" where money does matter and I do need it to survive, and even buy fun things like vacations; however, the price I have to pay to change who I am to open to receiving it is making me miserable.
I am who I am. And who I am is someone who values connection, values service, values love above other things. I do hope that money will flow to me easily and freely some day, but I am happier serving my tribe than figuring out how to make more money. It just IS that way. I AM that way and I am tired of being told there is something wrong with me for wanting to give freely.
I love and respect people on different paths, and love and respect people who need other things to feel happy and safe, but as I am finding out, I am unique in the world. In fact, if you have ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test, you might be familiar with my personality letters: ENFP. That is me. Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. Statistically, we make up only 3% of the population. 3%!! So, there are not a whole lot around like me, and how I make myself happy does not haver to fall into the same box as others. So here I am offering you a change to make yourself happy, to feel free and filled with joy by playing with me at Wind Spirit.
Hope YOU can come!!
To register: http://www.AkashaHealingArts.net/retreats