[So, if you read my blog by checking your weekly email, you may have noticed you didn’t receive one last week. I had planned on writing the blog Tuesday night (as it sends out Wednesday mornings at 8 am). However, I got home Tuesday night after a neuromuscular therapy session (with @organicescape - check them out!), and it was so intense that I fell asleep, slept through all my alarms and woke up at 9 am with no blog written! Ah! My apologies for not showing up last week. Here’s what I have to share.]
About two weeks ago, I got a back spasm during one of my Sunday night performances. I noticed it at intermission, and it got progressively worse to the point where I had to leave my show early. If you’ve never had a back spasm, they can be pretty intense. It was located right around my rib cage, which made it difficult to breathe, or move, or do much of anything. Plus, the breath restriction adds extra stress which adds extra spasm. Uuf.
Every time I am confronted with an injury, or an illness, or anything that throws me off, I look a little deeper. What did I do to create this? And no, I don’t mean things like I didn’t warm up enough, or I walked outside in the rain - although that’s important too. I mean, what is off in my energy that is causing this disturbance? This spasm was located at an all too familiar spot on the left side of my back. I’ve had spasms there many times throughout my life. It is located just behind the solar plexus, which energetically is the space of ego (solar plexus chakra, manipura). The ego, as you may know, is a person’s self-esteem or self-importance. I know this particular back spasm so well, I call that spot on my back my “not good enough” muscle, hehe. It flexes when I feel not good enough or unworthy. Now, I know it’s comical to relate these things this literally, but it’s always pretty freakin magical because then, I have the power to release it. Plus, sometimes it’s just that literal.
So I went home from my performance and I thought, what is this about? Am I feeling not good enough? Am I worried about what people are thinking or doubting myself somewhere? And although I always feel little bits of that here and there, I was feeling particularly strong in this regard, so I knew that wasn’t it. I dug a little deeper, and I found a theme that I had come across a few times over the past few days/weeks.
Don’t do things BECAUSE OF other people.
(Now I say “don’t” not with judgement, but with love. As in, you will feel more fulfilled, authentic, and powerful if you don’t, and I want that for you, myself, and all people. But by all means- DO what you please :D.)
So what does not doing things because of other people really mean? Just hours before this spasm hit me, I was having a really lovely conversation with a new friend. We were talking about how if we were to get well-known for our writing or speaking, for instance, we would have critics. We would have internet and real-life trolls who would say we are ugly, or stupid, or don’t know what we’re talking about. We would have people judge us, and be vocal about it. And in that moment I realized, part of the reason why I want to host yoga retreats, write blogs and books, speak at events, and share and teach in general, is because I also know it will test me. Just being a teacher holds me accountable for my mood, and my integrity with myself and what I’m teaching. Taking that to the next level, takes me to the next level. So if/when people critique me (or straight up sh*t talk me), I want to be able to hear them and take their feedback, AND not take it personally at the same time. I want to have the strength and wisdom to know that their harsh words are about them, and my only job is to be me. I want to not change myself because of their opinion or upset.
In my past, I looked at my back spasms (and other injuries) as like warning signals for what was going on inside. And I’ve had a lot of success with healing my injuries completely, by releasing what was emotionally unstable. This time, it felt a little different. I looked at this concept, this concept of not doing things because of other people, and I started to see it everywhere. But it didn’t feel like this injury was a warning sign for what I was already doing, it felt more like, a push forward to where I want to go. Like I can finally step out of the “I’m not good enough” story, and be where I am. Once I saw this, the spasm started to soften. Within a day and a half, it was gone.
(4 days later, it came back strong! haha. It snuck up on me, even though I had been feeling good all week. I quickly went back to this concept, and thought, where am I doing something because of someone else? This time, I located it, shared it with a friend, and the spasm released within an hour! Pretty crazy.)
So let’s go back one more time - what does it mean to not do things because of other people? Does that mean don’t do things for other people? No. It means do things for other people when it’s an authentic expression of your love for them (and for yourself for that matter). But when you find yourself doing things for other people to make sure they still think you’re cool or something, that’s where we find ourselves doing it because of them, and their opinion.
-drinking just because everyone else is drinking
-changing who you are because your partner wants you to be something you’re not
-doing a job because your boss will like you more
-not telling someone how you feel because they might argue with you
Start to notice the decisions you make. Notice if they are because of someone else’s opinions or judgements. Notice if they are to “keep the peace”. Notice if they are to impress, or to fit in. If you find yourself wanting to do something for a friend or a loved one - check yourself. Notice if, even subtly, you are doing it so that they will like you more. Sometimes, just noticing it has us switch the intention! I can do the very same action for a friend, but instead of doing it so they like me, I can do it because I love and support them. If you realize you don’t actually want to do the thing (like go to an event for a friend, or something like that), check in and see if some part of you is doing it because of their opinion of you. If so, consider not going, but expressing your love for them in a way that is authentic to you.
This is funny business, because I’m certainly not saying be self-centered and never show up for anyone but yourself. I’m simply saying, connect with yourself first, and express your unconditional love by authentically showing up - not for approval, appreciation, or likes - but FOR you and FOR them. In this way, we stand for true support and love. <3