I have spent most of my life avoiding being in pictures. Conveniently, I took up photography and have always been the one behind the lens. People with eating disorders and body image issues have a hard time looking at themselves, even in the mirror. For me, the self-talk would quickly escalate from "that's not too bad" to "oh, who am I kidding, I look awful" to "what can I do to make sure no one ever sees this!"
Last spring, I did something really, really brave. I voluntarily showed up to have my picture taken for my yoga teacher's facebook page. She knew what a big deal this was. My closest friends understood the magnitude. The picture above is one from that day (I am on the right, my teacher on the left). This photograph makes me sooooo happy! I can honestly look at it and say I am beautiful. And that, my friends, is a big step in recovery. My dear yoga teacher took this picture and added the text you see today when I announced my new blog. I am so grateful to call her my friend.
So today when I woke up to a snow storm, I took the selfie above to let my teacher know that no snow was going to keep me from yoga class. And then we took the other picture together at the end of class...without a hesitation, without a look in the mirror first, without wiping away the sweat. And it is perfect, just the way it is....and so am I.
"If it's both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it." - erada
We moved into reverse warrior pose with one hand sliding down our back leg and one reaching high above. My dear yoga teacher, in her spanish accent that somehow soothes my soul, said we had the choice to look down at our achilles tendon and acknowledge our weaknesses or turn our gaze upward and face our fears. Wow. My eyes had been down, helping me to find my balance. I glanced at my achilles and realized that what I have been doing this past year in recovery has been acknowledging my weakness and, without a pause, I turned my gaze upward toward my outstretched hand and decided it was time to face my fears. How powerful this felt...how terrifying and exhilarating and freeing all at once. If I am going to move toward being fully recovered, I must simply face my fears. All the answers lie in yoga. It has become such an integral part of my journey. And had I been simply doing this pose it would have never occurred to me that shifting my gaze could shift something deep within me. I am so grateful to my yoga teacher for posing the question within the pose that brought me exactly where I needed to be. Namaste.