During my Embodied Yoga Principles training in early June, I was sensitive. I was coming off a difficult school year and I was still on edge and guarded. As is typical for me, I took to the back to observe and selectively participate. I was immersed in the learning, just a little tighter wound than I would have liked.
Embodiment is about noticing patterns. Spending time investigating them and our feelings associated with them.
During this training, I ate alone after the first day where we were asked to share a group meal. Those are never my favorite, but I understand their value. It's just always a sort of sub-par eating experience. But, Casa de Luz in Austin is a lovely place and I got to try some really great food lovingly prepared by an acquaintance (James - but that's another story for another time!) and his team of expert vegetarian chefs.
Each day at lunch time when we would be released, I would watch, but not watch as others formed alliances and snuck off to their various lunch locations to chat it up for an hour. I worked my, "Play-it-cool-I like-to-be-alone" vibe. I didn't avoid people I saw during the break, but I was mindful of being intrusive, while trying to project an open but not needy demeanor. This embodiment business is no joke and I did truly need the alone-time for integration.
In one of the smaller group sessions I connected with someone who is also a theatre professional and we share many interests. Theatre folks are a different breed and it's an embodied practice to start. It was a high-energy exchange of "YOU TOO?! NO WAY!!" Refreshing for a gal like me who is the perpetual loner and, as my friend Suzie says, "Not weird enough for the really weird people and too weird for the "normal" ones."
So, the last day came and I took my chance to change a pattern and I asked my new friend if she would like to go to lunch. We decided on the food truck court around the corner and turns out most others in our training did too. We went to separate trucks and I got mine first and found a large spot in the shade and sat to wait for her. She was talking to another attendee and as I looked around I saw a large number of the group just a table over.
I automatically played the story in my mind that they had seen me and chosen to not sit near me. There was no space there, so I didn't want to try and join them so I waited for my friend and the other person to come by and see the others first, realize it was full there and then see me as they walked right past, sit down and then invite some of the others over.
Welp. They walked right past and didn't see me. I saw my new friend looking around a bit.
Right then, immediately, I was catapulted outside looking in and I saw the whole thing play out like a movie. I could actively choose to raise my hand and shout out to my new friends and draw attention to myself, TAKE UP SPACE, or I could surrender to self-care, letting go and submission. I could sit there and replay the rejection story or I could accept that I have a choice to change the outcome here.
I accepted my role in the experience but instead of drawing attention OR replaying the rejection story, I got up, walked to my friend and said I was just going to opt-out and head back to the workshop space for lunch. She asked, "Are you sure?" I said yes and began the walk of blame and shame for just a moment before I gave myself permission to just be aware. I am not under any obligation to FIX everything about myself. I can feel the feelings and the hurt of just wishing to be seen without having to exhibit. I can stay with that for as long as I need to. I can trust myself to not sink into it forever.
I had already stepped out of comfort to actively engage someone - I just wanted effortless and when it wasn't, I chose the yin. I honored my feminine and nurturing and I went to soothe myself where I was hurt (by my myself, I understand - by choosing to use tools of trauma instead of healing).
Sometimes the world is too much and it's okay, even necessary, to go inward to listen.
How do you nurture yourself regularly? Perhaps you don't and would like to start? Ask me how I can help. You don't have to "go it alone." None of us do.
I am doing a two-hour workshop on these embodied yoga principles. Read more about it here.