...A Monthly Practice Invitation
for Your Empowered, Heart-based Life...
(New live performance video of brand new song, "Forgive Myself Today.")
FORGIVE MYSELF TODAY
“I've got a love, big enough to heal the world.
I am enough, if I'd only let me feel what I am worthy of.”
A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me if she could sit down with me and tell me something important she'd observed.
She told me that she'd gained some insight about me she wanted to share.
Kindly, she offered:
"The only person standing between you and everything that you've ever dreamed of creating...is YOU...
Your biggest obstacle is: you don't love yourself."
She was right. No one had really had the courage to call me out on it before, but it was true. And it had been true my whole life, for as long as I could remember.
This month’s practice theme is
“Since I was five, I've been my own worst critic.
Setting mines in my mind--my wounds were self-inflicted.
Brutalized, villainized, I couldn't find no kindness for myself.”
I don't remember a time before the voice.
The voice that shows up every time I make a mistake.
More than a voice, it's also a physical sensation. It's a full-body, visceral experience, a seizing up, a clenching of my entire being. A closing around my heart.
When I was little, I experienced it primarily as explosive anger and self-hatred. Any time that I said something embarrassing, made a mistake on a test, or disapproved of my own choices, like a volcano, this anger would rise from deep inside me, so powerful that I'd almost always end up crying before it could fully pass through me.
This crippling perfectionism, manifested as overwhelming emotion, got bad enough that at one point a teacher of mine told me that if I didn't stop crying in school that I was not going to be allowed to be in class anymore.
So, as a matter of survival, I learned to hide and repress my anger and pain.
Instead of addressing the source of the perfectionism and self-hatred, I merely learned to stop crying. I became a more functional self-hating person. I learned to hide the perfectionism by seizing up around the anger and closing off from the emotions. Over time I got better at controlling the outward signs of my pain until I was able to mostly hide my inner experience completely. The same energetic cycle continued within me, but rather than exploding, I was imploding.
THE SEEDS OF TRAUMA
In Yoga, there is the theory of saṃskāras. Saṃskāras are imprints left from the events of our life, stored in our subconscious, that affect the ways in which we act and react to the world around us.
When we experience trauma, an imprint, or seed is planted in our subconscious that can then be triggered whenever it is touched upon again in our lives. The trigger activates the suffering and pain of the initial experience, bringing it into the present moment and clouding our view of reality.
Somewhere deep within me are the seeds of my perfectionism. And every time I make a mistake, these seeds are triggered. Still to this day I feel the implosions, like sharp jabs in my heart. They are daily sensations that I've learned to repress to stay functional.
In Yogic philosophy, it is believed that through committed, repeated spiritual work, we can uncover and eliminate the seeds of trauma with the light of our consciousness. By first becoming aware of, and then reprogramming our reactive behaviors, we can be gradually liberated from these habitual patterns.
When I was young, I was never taught to do the deep soul work needed to uncover and eliminate the seeds of my pain. But through my later studies of Yoga, Buddhism and spirituality, I've been able to learn techniques for dealing with these negative saṃskāras. Over time, the severity of my reactions has lessened and lessened, and I'm grateful to say that although I still struggle, I am managing my triggers much more healthily and skillfully than I used to.
A LOVE BIG ENOUGH
TO HEAL THE WORLD
Throughout this month, I'm going to be sharing the tools, tips, and experiences that I've learned for fostering my own self-love and self-forgiveness. For me, this is my most challenging soul work, and as I mentioned before, my greatest lesson in my self-realization. It's an ongoing journey. I am glad to share my journey with you, in case you, too, might have trauma you are looking to heal.
As a last remark, I want to share with you one more story.
Remember when I told you about my friend confronting me about my self-hatred? Well, later that same night I had a beautiful dream that changed everything and started me on my path toward healing...
In my dream, I saw all of the faces of all of the many people who really, truly loved me, and whose love I had not been allowing into my life. I saw my parents, my friends, my husband, my ancestors...
And then I experienced something I'd never experienced before. I saw myself from their perspective. I saw myself the way that they saw me. I was able to see myself without the judgement or criticism I normally viewed myself with. I got to see how beautiful and worthy of love I really am.
An infinite blast of love came flowing through me, filling me completely and overwhelmingly, and for the first time in my life, I completely received the love that was, and always had been, available to me.
I woke up and I wept tears of joy and gratitude. For a long time. I felt more alive and hopeful than ever. I hope to never forget that feeling.
I had a profound realization: There was SO MUCH love that was available to me, if I'd only allow myself to feel it.
Every day, I've been working to try and allow that love in, a little bit more.
“I'm gonna stop punishing myself,
for the choices I made,
for the things that I've done.
For what was lost will not be regained,
By a life lived in pain, from a battle unwon.
Gonna forgive myself today,
Let go, and move on.”
I’m excited to start on this month’s practice journey with you all!
Reservations are now open for my next 30-person work/playshop I’m leading in West Hollywood on Sunday, February 10th at 11:11AM. We’ll be exploring tools for self-love and self-forgiveness through participatory music, beginner's yoga and meditation, and guided movement in this workshop. Click here to reserve your spot!
Tickets are on sale for the next Joy Machine concert on Saturday, February 23rd at 9PM at its new home in the very cool theatre, The 11:11. Space is limited, so click here to get your tickets!
That's all I got for now, thanks for reading!