I was walking along the beach the other day, just letting my mind drift as my feet splashed in the gentle lapping waves that are common here in October. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is my beautiful life!” As I looked down I saw a heart-shaped rock with a hole in it. I felt like it was a gift, a reminder of a story I know about a butterfly with a huge hole in it’s wing. As the story goes, the butterfly lands upon the storyteller’s finger, waits for a while, then fly’s off. The moral of the story is a simple one: you don’t have to be perfect to fly. Perfection can look different to each one of us.
Since my return from our 7 week trip to Peru, my idea of perfection in my own life has really changed. I can see it more now. I got so many “teachings” about what is and isn’t perfect while I was living in the sacred valley. For instance, sometimes in Peru, the water is brown for a few days. Sometimes, it takes 45 minutes to get onto a website to pay a bill. Sometimes the road you’re on is closed and you just sit there and wait, and wait, and wait. I had a lot lessons in patience and entitlement while I was visiting Peru. And my sense of what is fair and just was quite challenged those first few weeks. After quite a bit of frustration, I finally settled into a new idea of perfect. Frustration is a great propellant I realized. Our bodies don’t like to be in frustration and anger so if you’re experiencing these emotions, like I was, don’t worry, they will pass. And you will either sink back to an old place or you will allow your frustration and anger to propel you forward to some new and greater awareness. Luckily I was able to move into the latter. I began to see my frustration and anger and old ideas of “perfection” for what they were…blankets covering my own fear. As I moved these blankets of delusion, I realized the fear I was experiencing over the brown water or the unpaid bill or the idea that I might be stuck on some closed road indefinitely, was…. empty; it had no grounding. There was nothing to the fear I was feeling. It was like one of those bubbles you see kids blowing. The fear was one, big, beautiful, empty bubble and when I saw it for what it was, it burst. And that, to me, was perfect.
I realize now, how much power I’ve given fear in my life. And, how often I’ve tried to control aspects of my life due to fear. I’ve lived so often in fear-driven control and, for those of you interested in how the body holds emotions and where, this has all been stored in my belly. For years, o.k. for my whole life, I’ve been focused on my belly and why it isn’t flat or at least flatter. I’ve done crunches, diets, been gluten free, done parasite cleanses, settled with the fact that the reason I hold weight here is simply genetic, etc. I’ve worked for years on accepting this weight in my stomach. And this work has propelled me to write some guided visualizations on accepting different parts of your body. But the truth is, even after all this updating, I still felt there was something “not right” about the energy in my abdomen; something I had not yet gotten to was laying in wait for me. It felt as if I could never “own” my stomach; like there was something old or not mine residing there. And, no matter how many meditations I did around accepting this area of my body, I was never able to feel like I embodied this particular part of me.
So, while in deep meditation in Peru, I began to see how much fear and control I’ve been holding on to and that I’ve stored it all in my guts. I remember Abby asking me, “What are you so afraid of?” She said it with so much care and compassion that I wanted to give her a solid answer, like somehow answering her would put an end to all of this once and for all. And the old me would have made a lot of mental correlations between my early child-hood development with an alcoholic mom and an absentee dad, etc. But, the truth for me is, underneath all the mental gymnastics of, “Oh that makes sense”, there is another answer and it’s a simple one. I am not afraid of any one thing. It’s just fear. It’s just the raw emotion of fear. And it’s as empty as a big, beautiful bubble full of air.
So what does all this have to do with perfection? Well, the perfect part for me is I can really see how futile so many of my actions have been. How I’ve used control to keep the fear at bay. For instance, I will pick up the whole house, straighten the pillows, sweep the floor, do the dishes, fold the clothes, etc. Sometimes I do these things because I enjoy them and enjoy having them done. But, when fear is driving my bus, I do these things because I’m afraid of how I’ll feel if I don’t do them. I have this voice saying,”You don’t want to wake up to all of this in the morning so you better do it before bed or it won’t be good tomorrow.” Controlling simple, everyday life stuff that has fear at it’s core has, more often than I’d like to admit, been the driving force behind a lot of my actions. Realizing this has been a breakthrough for me. It’s allowed me to stop “holding” these negative emotions that were motivating me out of fear. I see how this pattern allows me to “hold on” to so much that is simply not in my control. I think the worst part of this pattern is that it has kept me from being present and truly in the here and now. Constantly planning for some future outcome that may or may not happen is exhausting!
Are you exhausting yourself with an old, outdated pattern?
What do you do during your day that takes you out of the present moment?
Can you commit to kindly noticing these patterns and changing them?
Changing old emotions and patterns is easier than you might think. If the driving force behind an action is fear-driven, it’s empty of any real truth. Fear is always empty. It’s based in the past or the future. Your fear is “projecting” to you what did happen before or what might happen later, but it will never be able to tell you what is happening now. Remember the bubble metaphor. Fear is empty and when you turn and see it for what it is, it bursts into nothingness.
The most beautiful part about this realization, for me, was that as I allowed my fears to burst free, I felt so much self-love and acceptance for who I am; who I’ve been all along. And, as I felt these feelings of love, acceptance and the freedom that came with them, my abdomen began to relax. I finally feel like I, the true me inside, am embodying my belly and all parts of me. It’s been 48 years I’ve been working on this one. I’m proud to own the way my stomach area looks once and for all! And, on a side note, I have lost a lot of weight without even trying. It’s as if no longer holding on to the fear has allowed the extra weight to just fall away, along with the need for control.
May you open your heart to the parts of you that no longer serve you. And may you find your true self, full of love, freedom and acceptance.
As always, may all beings benefit!