Finding My Feet

Finding My Feet

From the center of the room, she barks, “Find your feet!” She instructs us to root, firmly down, and to notice the four corners of our feet.  “Find them!” she commands.  I like her barking.  I appreciate it.  Her barking is the equivalent of a bitch-slapping, and this tough girl who has hand-crafted a protective 12-foot brick wall over a number of years of self-inflicted abuse sometimes finds herself in need of a good bitch-slapping to bring her back down to earth and to knock some of the bricks out of her wall.

So obediently, I listen, and I root down, and I find my feet.  “I found them!”  I want to scream and point to my feet to show teacher I’ve done a good job, but I’m a hot mess and doing so seems inappropriate in a 95 degree heated yoga studio full of 40-some other sweat-dripping aspiring yogis who are, just like me, trying to find their way—as well as their feet.

But what is all this talk about “finding your feet?” I mean, I get it…sorta…like the logical explanation…I get it—root down, stay grounded, know where you are, it’s okay to be exactly where you are yadda yadda yadda.

But have I ever felt my feet? Have I ever really felt them, actually supporting me and providing me with other enlightened yogi stuff like that?

Nope.

Not by a long shot.

I mean, I can see my feet, but I haven’t necessarily found them.

Basking in the sunlight of a Florida beach, I stood at the very edge of the shore. The temperature rising in my body, I sought the refreshing cooling therapy of the ocean. The once galloping and charging wave that commenced deeper in the ocean—far out from where a non-swimmer like me would venture– now quietly reached the shore and gently tickled at my feet.  The water spiraled around my toes before returning to the ocean and swiftly taking with her, sand from beneath my feet.

An uncomfortable feeling…

Having the sand swept out from underneath you…

And so I changed my position, having lifted my feet and moving to “higher ground” next to me, where the sand had re-leveled itself.

Ahhhh….much better….solid footing again…

Except it wasn’t solid footing at all.  The dissipated wave now returned, spiraling my toes again, and returning to the ocean again, and swiftly, deftly, taking with her, sand from beneath my feet. Again.

And so I’d move to higher ground.  Again.

Anything to avoid that uncomfortable feeling of what remained when the sand had been swept out from underneath me.

I looked down at my toes and took pause. Wait a minute, I thought, what if I just stay? What will happen if I allow the sand to be swept out from under me? What if I DON’T seek higher ground? What will happen if I just stay?

Where had I heard these questions before???

Cue the barking.

What would happen if I just stayed? What would happen if instead of seeking higher ground, I would find my feet? Would I lose balance? Fall over? Be washed into the vast ocean (which is a real and very scary threat to someone who never learned how to swim)?!?

The answer to all of those questions was clear:

Possibly.

Perhaps dangerously throwing caution to the wind, I said to myself well fuck it…let’s see what happens…

I recollected the commands of my insightful and valued yogi instructors…I rooted down…I noticed the four corners of my feet pressing down into the sand, the sand that would leave me as quickly as it had met me…

And I just stayed.

The sand had pulled away from my heels, leaving my feet in an upright, angled position.

An uncomfortable position.

And I stayed.

I weebled and wobbled.

And stayed.

Terribly inflexible, my feet angled this way caused some considerable pain…

Yet I stayed…

What will happen, I wondered, if I just stay here…if I stay here and just deal with the discomfort…if I just deal with the pain….what will happen?

Another dissipated wave came, and it too, swept even more sand out from underneath me, causing even further discomfort and further pain.

And I stayed.

I kept my feet there, but I re-positioned my hips, allowing one side to bear the brunt of my weight, and then shifting it to the other, allowing the other side to bear the similar burden of my bodyweight.

Hmmmm that’s not too bad. I’d discovered that re-positioning my body instead of removing my feet would deliver comfort, a different comfort than if I had removed my feet, but a comfort nevertheless.

Soon another dissipated wave came, over and over—you know the drill by now…but then I looked down at my feet again…

My toes were curling into the sand, gripping at the sand, clinging to it. Instead of trusting my re-positioning, my toes wanted to play anchor. They were gripping so tightly, eventually even cramping because I was hanging on so tight.

As quickly as I noticed my clinging…

“WHY ARE YOU GRIPPING? WHY ARE YOU CLINGING?!?” bark bark bark.

I let go.

And guess what?

I didn’t fall over.

Feeling encouraged by my new-found discovery and more confident, I wondered, what will happen if I go another 10 feet further into the ocean? Can I find my feet there, too? Can I stay? Can I find my anchor? Will I be able to root down? Can I allow myself to stop gripping? To stop clinging? Will I allow myself to let go?

Cautiously, I tip-toed further, and the waves grew more rapid and violent, stirring water around my shins this time.

The sand shifted. It came. It went.

And I stayed.

Over and over again, wave after wave,

And

I

Stayed.

And the most interesting thing happened after about fifteen minutes of just staying….and allowing for the discomfort…

The sand anchored my feet.  One might say the sand “buried” my feet, but this optimist would suggest that the sand now supported my feet, enveloping my ankles and holding me in such a way that I did not have to shift my weight from one hip to the other; instead, I was held by something greater and more powerful than myself.

I found my feet!

And bricks are being broken, and walls are falling down.

 

Part Three of Three: Albert Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Daughter

Part Three of Three: Albert Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Daughter

I’ve been seeing someone.

 A psychiatrist.  Or a psychologist. Or therapist.  Or something like that.  I don’t know what she is, actually.   I’ve been seeing someone who’s trying to help me figure out my shit, okay?!? I’ve got some demons that I’m not so proud of, and I’m trying to expose them and learn from them and move forward from them.  

For a long time, I have not recognized these demons that have laid dormant inside of me because in my “past life,” I was too busy being caught up in someone else’s life.  I never really paid much attention to myself because I didn’t even matter to myself.  It was this someone else’s needs that I allowed to matter above my own, all day, every day.  Since that person has been out of my life, I’ve been smacked in the face with some of my own personal crap.  It’s not very comfortable, sometimes, finding out that these things exist inside of me.  But I’m learning to manage them.  I’m learning to identify fears and patterns and recognize that I’m playing old patterns and I’m allowing–sometimes– fear to get in the way of my success– both personally and professionally.

 Currently, I’m working on this nagging fear of not being “good enough.” I’m not a good enough teacher, friend, “plus one”, sister, daughter, cousin, whatever…I’m just not “good enough.”   And so I’ve been reflecting on my life, trying to figure out where this feeling (or false belief) comes from, and trying to have some compassion for myself, and forgiving myself for having these feelings, and even giving myself a bit of a hug and learning that “I’m okay” in spite of– and maybe because of– my past interaction  with life in general.  

This three part series is about some of those discoveries– my earliest memories of not feeling good enough.  This is the conclusion to that series.  Part one can be found here: Mr. Meckis and His Amazing Technicolor Art Projects and part two here: Coach T and His Amazing Technicolor Lady Lions.

Continue reading “Part Three of Three: Albert Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Daughter”

Part Two of Three: Coach T and His Amazing Technicolor Lady Lions

Part Two of Three: Coach T and His Amazing Technicolor Lady Lions

I’ve been seeing someone.

 A psychiatrist.  Or a psychologist. Or therapist.  Or something like that.  I don’t know what she is, actually.   I’ve been seeing someone who’s trying to help me figure out my shit, okay?!? I’ve got some demons that I’m not so proud of, and I’m trying to expose them and learn from them and move forward from them.  

For a long time, I have not recognized these demons that have laid dormant inside of me because in my “past life,” I was too busy being caught up in someone else’s life.  I never really paid much attention to myself because I didn’t even matter to myself.  It was this someone else’s needs that I allowed to matter above my own, all day, every day.  Since that person has been out of my life, I’ve been smacked in the face with some of my own personal crap.  It’s not very comfortable, sometimes, finding out that these things exist inside of me.  But I’m learning to manage them.  I’m learning to identify fears and patterns and recognize that I’m playing old patterns and I’m allowing–sometimes– fear to get in the way of my success– both personally and professionally.

 Currently, I’m working on this nagging fear of not being “good enough.” I’m not a good enough teacher, friend, “plus one”, sister, daughter, cousin, whatever…I’m just not “good enough.”   And so I’ve been reflecting on my life, trying to figure out where this feeling (or false belief) comes from, and trying to have some compassion for myself, and forgiving myself for having these feelings, and even giving myself a bit of a hug and learning that “I’m okay” in spite of– and maybe because of– my past interaction  with life in general.  

This three part series is about some of those discoveries– my earliest memories of not feeling good enough.  The series will end with how I’ve learned to deal with those demons, what actually might have been happening in these moments that I describe,  and what I now tell myself when these demons pop up in my current life. Part one can be found here: Mr. Meckis and His Technicolor Art Projects

Continue reading “Part Two of Three: Coach T and His Amazing Technicolor Lady Lions”

Part One of Three: Mr. Meckis and His Amazing Technicolor Art Projects

I’ve been seeing someone.

 A psychiatrist.  Or a psychologist. Or therapist.  Or something like that.  I don’t know what she is, actually.   I’ve been seeing someone who’s trying to help me figure out my shit, okay?!? I’ve got some demons that I’m not so proud of, and I’m trying to expose them and learn from them and move forward from them.  

For a long time, I have not recognized these demons that have laid dormant inside of me because in my “past life,” I was too busy being caught up in someone else’s life.  I never really paid much attention to myself because I didn’t even matter to myself.  It was this someone else’s needs that I allowed to matter above my own, all day, every day.  Since that person has been out of my life, I’ve been smacked in the face with some of my own personal crap.  It’s not very comfortable, sometimes, finding out that these things exist inside of me.  But I’m learning to manage them.  I’m learning to identify fears and patterns and recognize that I’m playing old patterns and I’m allowing–sometimes– fear to get in the way of my success– both personally and professionally.

 Currently, I’m working on this nagging fear of not being “good enough.” I’m not a good enough teacher, friend, “plus one”, sister, daughter, cousin, whatever…I’m just not “good enough.”   And so I’ve been reflecting on my life, trying to figure out where this feeling (or false belief) comes from, and trying to have some compassion for myself, and forgiving myself for having these feelings, and even giving myself a bit of a hug and learning that “I’m okay” in spite of– and maybe because of– my past interaction  with life in general.  

This three part series is about some of those discoveries– my earliest memories of not feeling good enough.  The series will end with how I’ve learned to deal with those demons, what actually might have been happening in these moments that I describe,  and what I now tell myself when these demons pop up in my current life. Continue reading “Part One of Three: Mr. Meckis and His Amazing Technicolor Art Projects”