Monday, September 3, 2012

You Are Awesome!

     A few years ago trying on jeans surrounded by women calling out their flaws from ill lit dressing rooms, calls of  "butt's too big!" and "oh,my god, my thighs!!" rang out as we all reinforced our mediocrity and lack. The calls continued until this moment when I tried on a pair that actually flattered my form and instead of calling out "perfect fit!!!" or " I look awesome!" I let the calls of self criticism ring out unchallenged by my joy. I actually considered for one moment calling out to my sister "damn my thighs look good in these jeans" but the discomfort at the idea caused the thought to die before it reached my lips. Perhaps I was vaguely afraid of upsetting the female camaraderie built on ill disguised self loathing I remained silent. I am sure I was not the only one. Every week when I ask my yoga classes for input before we begin I get a litany of wrongs. Quick to share what is limiting them whether an injury or a perceived limitation the students call out whats wrong, what needs fixing, what's not good enough. But never once has someone said something like " I noticed I am getting stronger in my __________, so lets keep working there" or "I am so proud I touched my __________ so can we practice that?" Now I know it important to protect an injury during yoga and probably many of the yogis calling out limitations have just fine self esteem. But why was it, I wonder, when I asked a class to meditate for 60 seconds on the phrase " I am awesome" did a palpable tension fall over my group of beautiful yoginis?

     This was not the first time I have meditated in this exact style with this same class. This particular meditation did not awkwardly interrupt a fun flow. I did not poke them in the eye as I asked them to consider their awesomeness. The only reason I can conclude that their uncharacteristic discomfort came up was the focus of the meditation: their own awesomeness. Every thought we think, every word we say weaves the crazy colorful tapestry of our identity. So, it is logical, is it not to use positive thoughts and words about ourselves? But why is it so hard? Perhaps we are afraid to stand apart from the dissatisfied masses, afraid to shine. Embracing our awesome light does not mean burying our darkness. This morning reading the blog of an amazing teacher I was surprised to discover that one of his biggest fears is his own capacity for cruelty, his dark side, and yet his teachings shine light on so many. Last night conversing with a student I discovered our shared fear of our own "dark sides" and yet we both continue to endevor to do good.  So here we are,  afraid to shine our light and afraid our dark sides will eat us up in the night, caught in the middle of dark and light where there is only gray. But, here's the thing: it is never too late to shine light and by accepting all the facets of ourselves dark and light, scary and awesome we become whole and healed. We cannot hide our dark or our light and expect to live holistically.

     Scripture calls us to not hide our light but to glorify God with that light. So what if the next time you noticed something awesome about yourself you shared your joy with someone? Not ironically and without negative qualifiers we share that joy and the light you shine brings enough light to the room for the people around you to see their light switches and tentatively take a step into their own light. Perhaps, we think shining our light diminishes others, but just the opposite, owning the fact that parts of you are dark and parts of you are light but all of you is awesome, well that just may encourage someone near to embrace their awesomeness. And when we embrace our wholeness we embrace the fact that we are Gods masterpiece and that is worthy of some awe. Our mechanical yet spiritual bodies, our monkey minds perhaps not yet tamed, our heroism and humor, our lusts and temptations all of the threads of us woven together with stitches of self love and humility, all this this makes for a beautiful and, yes, awesome tapestry. Not taking the overused word lightly, you are AWESOME! Worthy of awe, you are Gods masterpiece. Beautiful in your flaws. Perfect in your imperfection...take a chance today and allow your awesomeness to shine.
God helps us to accept the truth about ourselves no matter how beautiful.

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