One evening a few weeks ago, I arrived right on time for class, which is often packed. The only space I could find for my mat was in the front row. I walked up, laid out my mat, sat down cross-legged and realized the mirror was right in front of me.
Now, let me set the scene. I am usually in the back row. Many participants in this class are ten, twenty, thirty years younger than me. Ripped abs, sports bras, amazing bodies that can do amazing things. I modify everything in this class. I literally mean everything. But I love the heat and how it makes me feel, so I work through the feelings (lies) of not good enough and defeat so I can enjoy it.
But there was something about sitting face to face with myself in that mirror. My mind started up. Look how out of shape you've gotten. Look at your belly over those shorts. What happened to your arm muscles? I realized my thoughts were cruel.
I am fully aware that the mirror (and photos, the other kind of mirror) can be triggers for that old fear/wound: never enough.
I learned long ago that logic doesn't quiet the voice or heal the fear. I can't reason with it. That part of me is nuts/broken. Blah, blah, blah. Criticism, judgment, and shame, oh my! So I took a deep breath in, said a prayer of surrender of all my critical thoughts, and went about my business of yoga-ing.
Warrior, half-moon, revolved half-moon, high plank, vinyasa.
All was well for most of class. We do a few series repeatedly with the instructor cuing us, then we do it once or twice on our own. When we got to the part on our own, the instructor said, "If you need help, simply watch the front row." Oh my! Don't watch me. Good grief (aka holy sh*t!), I don't know what I'm doing. I can barely do the series with the instructor giving her cues.
So you know what I did? I did my best.
And that is always enough.
Class ended without anyone coming up to me and saying, "What the hell do you think you were doing in the front row?" And I didn't fall over into the person next to me during balance work. I got my good sweat, did my best, and confronted my critical voice within.
It's funny, looking back on that day. I feel proud of myself. I didn't give up or give in to the self-criticism, judgment or shame I was experiencing. I stared it in the eye. I was willing to come face to face with it. It's a liar. It's not true. And it's kind of a wimp that backs down pretty quickly when confronted with empowerment and divine confidence.
I did my best and that is always enough. No matter what someone else looks like, or can do.
Let me repeat that. I did my best and that is always enough. No matter what someone else looks like, or can do.
Sometimes, in the Clear Rock studio, I will call out a client for doing something really well. Their form is rock solid. Fabulous posture, excellent position. And very often, what follows is, "Show off. Teacher's pet." I really don't like that, because although it's always claimed to be done in fun, at the root of it is envy. The message is, "OK girl, don't get too big for your britches, now." Stay small, play small. That way no one around you looks bad.
I could have chosen that route at the yoga class, as the young woman in her sports bra did a perfect balance pose that takes mega-strength. But I am an encourager, and I don't want anyone to play small around me, just so I can feel OK. So in my mind, I practiced, "You GO girl!" "That is amazing!"
It all comes back to this. I did my best and that is always enough.
She is doing her best, too, and that may mean she is ahead of me. Maybe even way ahead of me. But the beautiful thing about fitness and life, is that we are all on the same path, just at different places on that path. When I find radical gratitude for my personal path, I let go of the need to compare, and the spirit of envy takes a hike.
I have awesome, muscular legs that work. They carry me up and down the trails that mean so much to me. My eyes work, and I can see the ocean, the mountains and the sunset. I can hear music. I can taste chocolate. Really, I already have it all. The rest is just details.
What are you grateful for? Do you know how blessed you are to have a heart that beats and lungs that breathe? Do you know that doing your best is always enough? Do you know how precious and loved you are? Do you know your incredible worth? This is the truth. This is the path to peace and joy, even when the mirror is right in front of you, and you come face to face...with yourself.