I Show Up for Myself
I show up everyday. I show up for my children, my parents, my job, my chores, my bills, my home, and my community. I enjoy showing up for others as a caregiver and friend. I juggle and sacrifice. I dutifully follow what is expected of me, and for the most part, I find joy in such a life approach. After all, it is all I know.
During a difficult time in my personal life and marriage, I began showing up to yoga class, but in a different way than I had before. What started as my daily exercise and an escape from my obligations as a mother and wife, quickly became a discipline, which meant I showed up even when there were other tasks to be done, and other people to care for.
A regular yoga practice may start as self-care, but it has the capacity to turn into a profound healing experience, and an opportunity to learn and grow as a human being.
However, enacting the discipline to show up for oneself, consistently, and without guilt, takes practice. It also takes extreme acceptance of who we are and what we need to function at our highest level.
I've been noticing lately that showing up for others is so engrained in my subconscious, that it's much easier to help others than it is to show up for myself. In fact, my comfort as a caregiver may come at the expense of showing up for myself.
When it comes to me, I hesitate. I easily get pulled away by an obligation, phone call, or a friendly lunch date. I find laundry and dishes. I remember the kids artwork that needs framing, or the clutter that needs more decluttering. My resistance of my own self-care quickly turns into self-sabotage, and I suffer, emotionally and physically.
Over the last 2 years, I have become much more disciplined to write. I write everyday, and I make it a priority. With practice, I no longer feel guilty for showing up for something that fills me up and feeds my soul. What used to be an indulgence is now a part of who I am, and therefore, necessary for my survival. My yoga practice is the same - by showing up on my mat, at home or in class, I have made yoga a part of who I am, and therefore, nonnegotiable.
Next Monday, I will be at Kripalu for the month of July in order to complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training. (Yay!) I have dreamed of attending this training since I was 16 - I signed up for Kripalu's catalog in the mail, and read it immediately upon arrival. I kept the magazine tucked inside my nightstand and it traveled with me through college, grad school, and many apartments. I continuously flipped through the worn pages, and dreamed of someday.
It only took me 25 years, a marriage, 2 children, and a divorce to finally take the leap. And here I am, scared as heck to leave my family and my obligations and actually do this training for myself. I don't know if many women get to realize their dream. I don't know if many women dare to have dreams as long as they are caregivers.
But I think we can be both.
I think we can show up for others, as the innate nurturer, and also show up for ourselves. It requires asking for help. It requires standing strong in our identity. I think we can leave our guilt behind and remember that we are more than how we meet others' expectations.
When I forgot who I was, because I was solely defined within the role of wife and mother, I meditated and repeated the Sanskrit phrase, Sat Nam, which means True Identity. The daily practice brought me back to myself. We need to look in the mirror and love who we see, and we are the only ones who can do that.