Today I taught my first yoga class. For the first few moments, my voice was shaky and my mind unsettled. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that doubting my own ability would get me nowhere. The key was to approach the teaching from a place of love...love for the friends who were trusting me to teach them and, most importantly, love for myself. So I pushed the doubt aside and decided to believe in me.
On more than one occasion, my therapist has referenced this quote from Anne Lamott: "My mind is like a bad neighborhood...I try not to go there alone." People who suffer from anxiety need to get out of their heads. We need to get out of our own way. This is one of many things I have learned about myself in therapy. When looking back at my journals, I see entry upon entry describing my eating disorder and anxiety as fog...murk...grime. Today, as I began to stroll down the dark and scary streets in between my ears, I stopped. I stopped and turned toward the light.
You see, it is bright and sunny where belief lives. Self compassion makes the flowers grow and burst into bloom. Patience drifts by on a breeze bringing a smile to your face and courage puts a skip in your step. My neighborhood, once abandoned buildings and low grey clouds, is mine to refurbish however I decide. And I choose brightly painted cottages, green grass under a shady tree and hummingbirds flying by. I choose sunshine. I choose love.
As we finished the class, with tears in our eyes, my dear friends told me that the thing they loved most was that they could feel that the class came from my heart. For a girl who spent most of her life hiding in that stormy, cold neighborhood in her mind, there was no better compliment. I showed up. The real me shined her light. And I have never been so happy.
Victory to the light.