There’s something not being spoken about in the countless self-help books, lifestyle blogs, and gazillions of self-proclaimed ‘health’ gurus. Underlying all these mediums is the message “You could be better, you’re not enough so do this juicing diet to move towards a fitter, slimmer, happier you.” But here’s the crux of the matter, do you know who ‘you’ is, and do you accept who you are?
When there is uncertainty and confusion, a big void opens in which to sell - sell newspapers, sell yoga pants, sell vegan paleo books, sell gym memberships, and these are just a few of my purchases when in fits of confusion. Confusion is key ingredient to promoting a sense of loss over what could have been and what may be as it pulls you from the concrete moment, right here, right now, and projects to the future or journeys into the past. The mind-body relationship becomes skewed with usually the thinking organ scurrying around for a way to ‘fix’ the split within the relationship.
And ‘fix’ becomes the operative word: “I must fix this mess”. For the few times it has actually spurred me on to something great, there are countless times it’s thrown me further into self-reproach and chasing an ideal of what should be. Fixing is part of the message of not being enough, with many people within the healing professions both wanting to be fixed and eager to fix because the perception is “I am not enough, therefore you are not enough. Let me fix you.”
Let me put it out there for a moment. What if you do not need fixing? What if you are completely perfect as you are, sitting here reading these words? Just be with this for a moment, the idea that you are exactly as you should be in this moment.
It’s not unusual to be met with discomfort, perhaps even cringing and anxiety as you ponder the idea of being perfectly enough as it goes against everything taught from our earliest years that despite the best efforts, there’s always room for improvement.
Here’s something I’ve marvelled at for years and often say to students in my class: you and I have defied the greatest odds to be here right now. From the race between the sperm en-route to the egg, the various dangers in pregnancy, to absolute fine-tuning of our cells to enable to live consciously. Our bodies are a vast network of secret and well-known tunnels communicating with the environment to make us who we are, with the force of life pumping through all that lives. It’s deeply moving to think I exist, but there would be no I without you. We are in constant relation and the web of life within and without is what makes you and I so intrinsically perfect without consciously trying.
As you sit here now, ponder this for a few moments: Change occurs when you become what you are, not when you try to become what you are not. Can you embrace who you are, warts and all, in this moment without imposing conditions? View yourself from the outside and know that you are exactly as you should be.
It was on a retreat with Matthew Sweeney that I heard the concept Paradoxical Theory of Change, and it actually changed me forever. I realised I spent my whole frigging life until that point chasing an idea of what I should be according to my interests at any given one moment. I never felt enough, I could do better. Until around this time, my teaching and practice of yoga reflected my inner conflict, and I was uncompassionate with myself and students. Whilst it’s never been brought to my attention that I injured students, I certainly injured my own precious body by chasing a method that encourages extreme movement and self-sacrifice to the teachings. Once I felt the truth of acceptance, I could no longer rationalise the method and ever since then have asked myself daily am I honouring who I am right now.
And now I feel a fire within my belly, tingling in my fingertips as I implore you to take time daily to connect with yourself. Feel the sensations of your beautiful organism, the whirling of your mind and wait patiently for the dust to settle, to sense the murmuring of a place that permeates every aspect of your physicality yet goes beyond. This place is yours forever, it is infinite and when you know it exists, you seek ways to honour your being and accept with love and compassion where you are right now.
All the energy consumed by confusion, striving, and regretting is freed up, you are free and can actually hear your own inner promptings which were once drowned out by the constant noise of the outside. The change once so desired becomes a way of life, happens as frequently as breath occurs and is underpinned by a loving acceptance of who you are with the deep knowing you are enough.
For more information about Charlene's classes visit www.this-yoga.com/yoga-classes For an in-depth exploration of important themes in Charlene's teaching, check out www.this-yoga.com/yoga-workshops