I was recently sprawled out on the cork floor Yoga Church, as my friend, mentor and yoga teacher watched in complete amusement.
I kept shouting "Who am I and what the F$%K am I doing?" Pretty, I know.
The realization that put me in fetal position on the cork floor was that I had been seeking permission and approval... and not just a little bit. I'd been doing it my whole life. This was bothersome as I don't want to be the person who asks for permission or seeks approval, from anyone.
This was sneaky; a simple, benign question like "Do you like my hair?" wasn't simple at all. I was seeking approval of how it currently looked and then maybe ask "What do you think about this style?" again, not for an opinion but permission to cut it a different way, the way I wanted but was seeking approval to do it. UGH! This was also happening in my parenting style, my marriage, where I work out, my clothing choices and my career. I had lost my way and was looking externally for all the answers, never considering myself.
After some thought, time and talking, I realized that the angst, the being uncomfortable was ultimately coming from change; change in career, change in parenting, change in friends, change in lifestyle. I hadn't given much thought to my roll / my authentic voice in any of these things; change was just happening and I was just along for the ride.
There has been a TON of change in the last 8 years of my life. I got sober, I got married, I bought a house, I had a child, I started and stopped and started again new careers and I just completed 6 months of intense teacher training. Who I was 8 years ago, is not who I am today. Who I was 8 months ago isn’t who I am today. And somehow, along the way, I forgot to completely check in with myself, to make a few inquiries and potentially some adjustments.
When I first got sober, I made changes and adjustments. There were some obvious things that had to change in order for me to live a sober life. So, my community had to change and I had to find things that I liked to do that did not include wine glasses and bars. I became passionate about other things than happy hour and wine tastings. But since then, close to nothing. Limited personal inventory. No checking in. Very few adjustments. And A LOT has happened! Additionally, until recently, I didn't realize that I needed to check in with something other than my thoughts.
So, I am just now beginning to find freedom from this craziness. And it starts with just ONE question.
1. WHO are you?
If you don't know, here are some further prompts to help you discover who you are:
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you like to do?
- What are you devoted to?
- Do you have a tribe that is in line with who you are?
- Who do you connect to?
- Do you make time to connect?
- Are you including yourself when connecting?
- What permission do you need to grant yourself?
- What discovering and uncovering needs to be done so that you can thrive?
When I took the time to be rigorously honest about the above questions and write down the answers (thinking them in your head doesn't work, I assure you.) things got clear REALLY fast.
I realized I'd been asking for permission and approval because I was trying to find who I am in others rather than look within. It’s not as if the answers had evaporated, that they disappeared and I was just a body walking around (or lying on a yoga studio floor). I had them. I just wasn’t listening. I stopped asking.
My body had to go in to absolute revolt before I actually paid attention; anxiety, being uncomfortable in my own skin, laryngitis and strep throat (x's 2), pressure in my chest and heart. And there was always this soft voice saying "you aren't doing what you are supposed to be doing". And then ultimately, the yoga floor.
You don't need permission or approval from anyone other than yourself. You don't need to get laryngitis and strep throat in order to find and speak your voice. Find out who you really are. Surround yourself with a tribe that will support you being you. You don't need to stay stuck and search via other people to find your own voice and answers. You have them already.
Life is in session. Things are ever changing whether you like it or not. Continue to ask yourself the hard questions. Never stop asking them. Allow the answers to change as you do.