Please let me feel inner peace
From my center, from the center of me
My heart is open,
I am aware,
In me is a knowing
Of love, love, love…
This was my prayer a few days back. I wanted to move my body – to make it sweat like I’m used to doing in the gym. I’d been staring out the window at my neighbor’s garage gym with longing and wondering if I could use my kids for deadlifts. I found an old dusty Turbo Kick video in the back of the cabinet and put it on. I kicked and punched until my back screamed at me to stop. So, I stopped. And the kids scattered to their rooms and youtube channels while my husband was in a virtual meeting for work.
With the couch still pushed out of the way, I rolled out my mat with the intention to do yoga. I started in child’s pose and began to move through a vinyasa, hoping the familiarity of the movement would bring me peace and comfort. I played with a funky Warrior II turning my head and arms the opposite way of the traditional legs. And it was in trying to be a Warrior that my body took me down. Hard.
So, I laid down. I rolled around on the floor. I cried. I made myself feel. I had a conversation with myself.
What do you feel?
“I feel like I need to…” And I began to spin into a narrative of what needs to happen next or I need to do next or how to take better care of my clients or yoga students who miss me and the practice.
NO – what do you FEEL?
Lather, rinse, repeat this conversation. And every time, my left brain goes into narrative. Finally…
What do you feel NOW?
“My back hurts.”
When did that start?
“When I was teaching a kids yoga class via zoom. It didn’t work well. The audio was terrible. I felt like I was failing. I heard and felt my sacrum crack out of place during triangle.”
What did you feel when that happened?
“Pain and stupidity. I felt stupid. I know better. I know how to do that pose safely for my body to keep my sacrum in place.”
When the class was over – what did you do?
“I continued with my agenda. I did kickboxing. My back was screaming at me. Then other things started to hurt. So I rolled out my mat and eventually let my body take me down. I cried. I rolled around and cried. I let myself be sad and scared. I let myself feel. I listened to Inner Peace by Beautiful Chorus on repeat. I sang with tears in my eyes. I choked on my tears while I sang. I grieved the loss of my normal life, of our normal life. I let myself be sad. So, so sad.”
When you got up again, what did you do?
A long hot bath. I needed real relief. Rest. I gave myself that gift.
I don’t have to hold it all together. In fact, trying to hold it all together like I did while kickboxing is exactly what is going to hurt me. I can fall apart. It’s okay to fall apart. This is the time to let yourself fall. Cry. Scream. And allow your family and your kids to do the same.
And here’s the while truth I keep coming across in my own family and everyone I’m in contact with: if you don’t honor what you are genuinely feeling, your body will take you down to make you.
Your body will win.
It will throw mysterious pain at you. For one of my kids, he’s having sudden back pain. Another has a returned ear infection that cleared up 10 days ago. And another banged his knee into the wall which took him out for a day. I’m hearing all sorts of reports from friends and family of phantom pain and sky high anxiety.
When we don’t feel what what is happening, we stick the feeling on a shelf of our bodies.
I drew this picture just three weeks back. I had this image of the body like a bookshelf with every inch packed with books. Have you ever tried to squeeze one more book on a packed shelf? No matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t fit. You have to take something off the shelf.
Our bodies take on our feelings in much the same way. Our bodies are brilliant and only want to protect us. As the founder of The Reembody Method, Kevin Moore often says,
“Our bodies and brains will do anything at its disposal to protect us. Including hurt us.”
It’s not my job to tell you how to feel during this pandemic. It is my job to teach and encourage you to feel whatever you are feeling. Know that you have the RIGHT to every feeling under the sun. Anger. Peace. Pain. Love. Gratitude. Sadness. Fear. Grief. Hope. Anxiety. Optimistic. Hopeless. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Joy. Wounded. Heavy. Motivated.
You don’t have to make sense of it if it doesn’t make sense yet. You actually don’t have to DO anything. Can you just allow yourself to feel? And if you want to take it a step beyond, state that feeling outloud – to yourself or another person. Have a conversation with yourself just like I did while laying on the mat.
What are you feeling right now? Not thinking. Not planning. Not feeling like you need to… What are you feeling right now? In one, two or three words.
What are you feeling?
Maybe, if you honor what you are feeling when you are feeling it, you can reach inner peace. Isn’t that what we are all seeking when we get on the mat or sit on the meditation cushion? Inner Peace.
What are you feeling?