Friday, November 22, 2013

things you practice in Bali

Seriously? I woke up at 1130pm with the chills, I was shaking so bad. I was freezing cold.  I knew I had to get up and put some clothes on and find the antibiotics I had brought with me in case this happened and get back to bed. Lame, I was going to miss the first day of the retreat, but hopefully, with a few doses of Cipro on my side I would be back in action within 24 hours. Thankfully, the antibiotics did their trick and by the next evening I was able to join the group for dinner! I had missed what sounded like an amazing paddle board yoga session and a yin sunset yoga session to die for, but I was feeling better and ready to hit the water. 

The next morning we hit the waters of Bali, the ocean! It was so nice to get a little saltwater on my skin. The water was beautiful, the yoga was refreshing, and my retreat friends were a lot of fun. They all looked great in a bathing suit. Dammit! Let me just say that being around a group of athletic women, who are all wearing bikinis and are almost all 10 years younger can take a lil’ bit of a toll on the self-esteem when your body is no where near matching. But what’s a girl to do? 

I mean seriously. I run into this problem a lot. I go to yoga. I hike a mountain. I get on a paddle board. I compare. I compare my body with the other women around me. I look at how their clothes fit. I look if they are thinner, fatter, have jiggly thighs, thick ankles. I don’t look at them to judge, because really I don’t care how other women look. I just think it’s rad that they are out there enjoying life and trying. 

So why do I do it to myself?

I suppose it’s somewhat human to look at others and wonder if THAT is how it’s supposed to be. I don’t know if it’s healthy, but it’s what I have have had a tendency to do in the past. I’ve been practicing something different lately. I tried to practice it in Bali and I failed a lot, as you can tell from the paragraph above.

Lately, I’ve been trying to thank my body when I get the urge to compare. In those situations, in yoga, where I’m holding the same damn plank just as good as all those skinny girls in there, I thank my body. On a paddle board, when I can glide through the ocean while standing on top of it, when I can practice a warrior pose and hold my balance on a freaking board on the water. I thank my body. I know my body might not look exactly the same as the people around and it might not fit very well into those damn see thru Lululemon pants, but it does the work and it does it well.

My body isn’t the ideal size for most people. It’s not the ideal size for me, but it is what is here, it is what is right now. If I can’t feel comfortable in the skin I’m in, the world is missing a part of me and I’m missing a part of the world. If I can’t get out of my damn head and stop freaking about how I look, how much am I missing?

If I worry about how I look, if I worry about how I’m perceived in general, might I be missing the bigger picture? If I worried about how I looked in a bathing suit in public I would never have gotten to jump off a sailboat off the coast of Bali at sunset. Can I just tell you how amazing jumping off a sailboat at sunset is? It really does feel like it looks like in the movies. It’s one of those life things, you’ve gotta do it if you have the chance.

If I worried about how I looked in a wet suit I might not get to SCUBA dive with 12ft manta rays. TWELVE FOOT manta rays! Hovering in the ocean above me!!!  I mean where on earth? How can you describe that majesty? You can’t, you’ve gotta just be there. I would have missed it. I could have missed it.

I’ll tell you a secret. I did worry a little. it bugged me. I wished I would have looked better. I really wished I looked better,  but I knew, if i let it stop me, I would miss my moment.

My soul needed to do those other things. It needed to jump into the ocean. It needed to swim below those manta rays. I needed to be exactly where I was and that included excepting the body that was with me. 

So today, in yoga, in each down dog, in each balancing pose. I whispered a lil’ thank you. Thank you to my body for getting me there. Thank you to the universe for presenting opportunities to practice excepting things and feelings exactly as they are.

Thank you to the ocean for calling me gently and forcing me to get over myself to enjoy it’s majesty. 

Thank you. I’m still not where I would like to be, but I’m much more comfortable with where I am at and how I look while doing it. As with everything, I will always need more practice. 

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