One thing this vulnerability project is revealing to me and the others writing these lists is that there is a basic I-Care-What-Others-Think alive in all of us. We care: There is no clearer way to say this. Even though all of us feel this way we mostly don’t acknowledge it, which can make it extra hard to step up and admit to anything.
We do a project in teacher training, where each student picks a Yama or Niyama and does a deep personal study of their relationship with the chosen concept. Patricia picked truthfulness (Satya). When the time came to talk in group we laughed as Patricia confessed to lying about picking up the chicken feed, but we knew where she was coming from. She was owning that she tailors the stories she tells in attempt to shape other’s opinions of her. We all could relate - not one person in the room that day was free of this. We tell our stories to our own advantage. We All Do It. Owning this begins the process of freeing ourselves. When Patricia acknowledged the limitations of her truthfulness she freed the rest of us to take an open-hearted look at our own relationship with truth. This is what we give each other when we share these vulnerabilities.
Writing one of these lists and owning the places where we personally care can feel a bit like walking the plank…. Good job, Patricia for walking this plank with us. It turns out the water’s fine because we’re all in it together! -Shannon
Patricia pole dancing
1. I spent years not listening to my body. I had a “go hard or go home”, “no pain, no gain” mentality which lead to several injuries that have created have created a difference from one side of my body to the other. This drives me to encourage others in ways to tune in to the sensations in their own bodies.
2. I am not naturally flexible. It was almost 2 years into my yoga journey before I could touch my toes. Before yoga, I was lucky to touch my knees after stretching.
3. I have struggled with feelings of shame over the things I love. For one, I pole dance. I always admired pole dancers for their physical strengthen and their gracefulness as well as their ability to move undisturbed by the comments of males. I lacked a lot of self-confidence and wanted some activity that was only for me. It actually led me into yoga, power lifting, and various aerial arts (circus-like activities). I have been very selective about sharing my hobby because of the stigma associated with pole dancing.
4. I am a contradiction. I love to walk the line and experience both sides of everything. Sometimes I'm not sure if that also makes me an indecisive person.
5. There are still days when I struggle with heartbreak. Time may not heal all wounds, but time does allow you to deeply explore and connect with yourself.
6. I do not diet and I admit I’m not the healthiest eater. As soon as I say I’m not going to eat something then I start to crave it and no other food appeals to me, thus I will not eat at all which is less healthy than satisfying the craving. (Different then overindulging. Unless cookies are involved than I have no self-control. Please feed me cookies.)
7. I have a pair of leggings that I adore but never wear in public. The mistress leggings look like a playing card, the backside a black and white design and the front the queen of hearts. The reason I do not wear them out is because when they were assembled a portion of a heart ended up right in the crotch seam. I became aware of this when someone informed me I bleed thru my bottoms. They were embarrassed for me and I was embarrassed for them, thus the leggings are restricted to home only.
8. I am a sloth according to Fit Bit. I love to curl under a blanket, propped and surrounded by pillows getting lost in a book. Fit Bit however reminds me twice an hour that I have not moved enough to its satisfaction and I have to decide to crawl out from my cozy quarters or to ignore it and continue reading. Typically I continue to read unless nature calls, resulting in days of less than 2000 steps.
9. I have discovered I cannot listen to guided meditations while driving. Every single time I have tried I closed my eyes with my foot on the gas pedal. This is only one of the reason it is necessary for my car to have a “Caution Asian Driver” bumper sticker.
10. I tend to be quiet. I have known what it is like to feel unheard and when I am in a conversation with someone I want to give them the chance to say everything they need and want to say without feeling rushed or interrupted.