All I want is to be true
A couple of years ago, I read a Facebook post by the amazing Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) in which she asks readers to sit with the line "I'm tired of being good. Now all I want is to be free." Liz told us all to just notice, with a gentle curiosity, how our insides responded to those words.
They hit me like a freight train. "Yes," my heart said. "Yes, I think I would very much like to stop trying to be good and to instead work towards being free.”
Recently, Liz’s words suddenly slammed right back into my heart at a million miles an hour.
But this time, I heard them as "I'm tired of being good. Now all I want is to be true."
And true is that I am a yoga teacher and a wellness practitioner and I am also doing a shitty job of taking care of myself and I am drowning in my crazy. I am exhausted from trying so hard and caring so much while also trying to be open-handed and trust the whole "practice and all is coming" thing.
I am out of balance.
I am working way too much. I am incredibly stressed out and anxious to the point of tears or nausea (or both) all the time. I rage at technology when it is anything less than smooth, easy, and intuitive. I am short with my husband (who is never anything but kind and soft and patient with me — if this was a movie, you would take his side and wonder what is WRONG with me).
All of this is terrifically unpleasant for me and deeply, deeply shameful.
But I believe, with every piece of my heart, that the very best thing you can do for your wounds and your darkness is to have the courage to expose them to fresh air and sunlight. So I'm telling the truth.
Yoga is not saving me right now. Spirituality has not been able to pull me out of this swamp. It feels impossible to stay with my body or my breath for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m telling the truth about this because this is REAL. This is what it's like to be a human being. Even when you're a wellness practitioner. Even when you're a yoga teacher. It is not all love and light and sparkles and incense.
I'm tired of trying to be good.
I'm tired of trying to be someone who has it all together. I'm tired of trying to pretend that life isn't super hard sometimes. I'm tired of trying to make everything okay for everyone around me literally all the time. I'm tired of dishonest positivity.
Sometimes you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes you know the way out. But sometimes you don't.
So I want to try to get back to basics. Eat things that grew on the earth (instead of living on coffee, ice cream, and take out). Commit to moving my body — getting back into the pool or onto my mat — even if it's just for 15 minutes three times a week. Go outside and breathe the air. Keep regular work hours and honor myself enough not to be "plugged in" 16 hours a day. Say "no" (kindly, but without apology) to more things that I just don't have space for in my life right now. Because I believe all of this can be medicine.
Maybe this post has inspired you to take a closer look at what's working for you and what's not. I hope so. But what I really hope is that it's inspired you to be honest (with yourself and maybe even with your tribe) when you're in the swamp and having trouble finding your way out.