I have a friend who got married to herself several years ago. Yep, she had a full-fledged commitment ceremony here in Key West with a reverend and all. She invited all of her friends and stood before us saying she promised to love, honor and be true to herself for as long as she lived. Then she threw a great, big party in honor of....you guessed it, herself! Only in Key West you say? Perhaps. But how wonderful. And, it’s gotten me to ponder this month about commitment to yourself, showing up for yourself and clearing away old pictures so you can truly update.
Have you made a present time commitment to yourself lately? Have you promised yourself something that you could show up for in your own life that will feel like self-care? What can you do (or commit to) that can help you update an area of your life; big or small? My friend had had a series of failed relationships so she decided to bank on the one relationship in her life that would never fail; the relationship with herself. And, she committed to herself in an outward way, in front of her community, as a means of solidifying her love and connection to herself.
When I was 21 I was on a swimming scholarship to a school in Louisiana. It was 1987 and I was going in to my senior year of swimming as team captain. The coach found out, through a series of events, that I was gay. He said I was giving the team a bad name with my behavior. He said he was really disappointed in me and that he saw no way he could renew my scholarship for my final year. I left in shame, not wanting to tell my parents the truth about my sexuality. I told them I wanted to quit swimming which could not have been further from the truth. They were confused and disappointed. I had swum 6 days a week, 50 weeks a year since I was 8 years old. I simply did not know who I was without the identity of “swimmer”. I didn’t know what to do so I just quit. I stopped swimming and put it all away, somewhere deep inside. I buried it and left it until now.
I’m now 48 and have just started to swim again. But, much like my friend who married herself, I’ve started to swim for a new reason; my connection to myself. And, I’m realizing that I have a lot of old “pictures” around how to be in the water as a swimmer that no longer serve me. I’m realizing, much like my friend, that my commitment to swimming cannot be for anyone else; it can only be for me. I’ve signed up to do the swim around Key West in June. It’s 12.5 miles so I won’t be able to do this swim like the former athlete I once was so many years ago. My body has changed and I’ve gotten older and slower for sure. But one thing has remained; my heart connection. My heart loves swimming and my body knows exactly what to do when I get in the water. Whether it’s a pool or an ocean, I remember. The biggest part of me knows how to move with and through the water. And when I’m in it, I feel more powerful and courageous than I have ever felt in my entire life. All those old pictures and identities of who I once was are beginning to slowly and methodically wash away.
This month I’m going to throw out a challenge to you: can you find an area of your life that needs some heart-felt attention and update this area or part of your life into present time? You’ll be clearing away old pictures and ways you used to self-identify at the same time.
This could be something you’ve been meaning to do for a while, like cleaning out the closet. Don’t laugh, this can be a hard one. Closets are a place where we store our junk, both emotionally and physically. They can be really hard to face because you’re facing your past. Maybe you have lots of old clothes that once fit but are now too small and you don’t want to try them on again. I have one word for you and it’s an important one: ACCEPT. Accept your beautiful, present time body. Accept your life as it is, today.
Or maybe you need to update an area of health in your life. Have you been meaning to start a series of classes? Yoga? Meditation? Zumba? A bowling league? Whatever, it’s as simple as accepting where you are now, not comparing to where you used to be and Beginning. I have a 3 step process for you that will help you update whatever area of your life you’ve picked.
Step 1: Take a deep breath
Step 2: Accept where you are now, in present time, without judgement or comparison to the past.
Step 3: Begin
So many of my clients struggle with relationships. Whether you’re like me and struggle with an area of self that needs updating, or whether your struggle is with another person, can you find a way to clear those old pictures by starting from now? It’s simple really. But first we have to Begin. We have to ignore all those old voices that keep us from doing and doanyway. I had plenty of voices stopping me from getting back in the water. That’s why it’s taken me 27 years to begin again. But it’s never too late as they say. And, I can attest that it’s well worth the effort. You are well worth your effort. So Breathe, Accept and Begin...
And as always, may all beings benefit!