Friday, November 25, 2011

From the inside out…..Lord my heart cries out

I am not a very religious person… fact I don’t I have ever been accused of being a believer but  the title Yoga from the Inside Out makes me think of the song I have in the title of this blog.

I wasn’t quite sure how to go about writing this memoir. At first I was just going to write a heart wrenching reflection on the ongoing war raging between myself and my body, mind, and spirit (I am winning by the way but that is not a good thing).  Then I thought to myself, “Well it may not seem like I read the whole book if I do that”.  This is how the blog will be organized: what I think about the book, what I think about the author, my favorite parts, and finally my story.

The book:
The book gave me hope. It’s lets me know that everybody has problems with their body image; that everyone doesn’t quiet except how they look. It lets me know that I have a long way to go but I am the right track and that this battle is not necessarily one to be won but one to be fought. The lets me know it is okay to relapse, it is okay to not have it all mapped out; that it takes time and patient to deal with issues that have been with you for as long as you can remember. The book was just all around inspiring. The book also made me realize how much alignment integrates into hatha yoga. All semester we have talked about hip alignment, spine straightening, shins moving, hips opening, but it never occurred to me that hatha yoga is about those things and not “does this look right”. All semester and that underling idea was just that…..underlining everything you said but nothing that I truly grasped.

The Author:
Christina Sells has courage that I can’t even phantom right now.  To bare your soul to people you don’t know, to expose your weaknesses for people to judge or manipulated you, to let strangers into a place you have guarded your whole life is amazing to me. I write a lot sometimes and I let very few people know my trail because I am so afraid that someone will use that against me. I am afraid of what people will think or say. I am just afraid and that fear has kept even my closest friends at a safe distance. I could imagine bearing all to anyone let alone write it down in a book. However, if you were going to bare your all…making money is not a bad way to go. I know that is not the reason she wrote the book but it is somehow satisfying to me that her courage isn’t going unrewarded. To start off a book confessing what some people take to their graves… takes more than I have right now. So the author has my utmost respect.

Favorites Parts:
I like the additional stories in the book; they reaffirm everything about the book. The parts of the book that hold resonance with me are “Paying Attention” and “Accepting What-Is”. A couple of quotes that I like the most:

“Self-observation is about bringing an honesty and depth of clarity to manifestation s, motivations, and behaviors. It means to see objectively from an observers/a point of view without justifying, rationalizing, implying, or excusing anything, and obviously without any feelings of pride, vanity, guilt, or shame as result of what we observe in ourselves.

“When we begin to pay attention we may be shocked by the steady barrage of criticism and judgment we have about our body----it is too big, too small, too wrinkled, too pale, too short, too tall, too stiff.
“it is hard to think about what feels out of control when everything feels simultaneously fine and out of control.”

“Life as it is, in the moment, is a gift from the Divine----“the present”. How many times a day do we refuse the gift by complaining, avoiding, or compulsively attempting to bend reality to our whim rather than simply surrendering to the way things are”?

My Story:
Now my story is nowhere near complete and it hasn’t even reach the good part where yoga helps me completely but hatha yoga has helped me a great deal. My war with my body, mind, and spirit starts as a kindergarten. My older cousin sexual abused me….I remember it was kindergarten because I had to go over my great grandma’s house in order to walk to school and I remember being woke by wet kisses on the neck and wet kisses where my “private area” was. I also know it was kindergarten because I remember being afraid to use the bathroom or sitting on the toilet thinking his “thing” would somehow come through the toilet and poke me. This experience in life taught me to forget or spin wild stories in my head. It taught me question myself and what I “thought” happened to me. To this day I know what my cousin did to me but I can’t be quite sure because of all the things I imagine on a daily basis to help me cope. I can’t say when it started but sometime in elementary I started to believe I wasn’t as pretty as other girls and that my hair was “bad”. I remember wishing I had long hair like “white” people or Hispanics because it so pretty and long and it blew in the wind and they could flip it. I remember feeling like I never belong to any group. Even at that young age(I want to say third grade) I felt like an outcast. My parents were teenagers when they had me and young adults when I started elementary so money was sparse. I never went to school with hole in my clothes but name brand clothing didn’t happen often. My mom had no color sense (still doesn’t) and she wasn’t that good a fixing hair either. So needless to say I went to school tacky and with bad ponytails; kids can be so cruel and mean. In fifth-grade I hit puberty and acne appeared. I hated my face…it was covered in bumps and pimples and brown spots from where I picked at my face. Even now I believe that when I have enough money I will most likely get some type of skin treatment to make my face clear of blemishes. I never even indulge in make up because it is too much work and it makes my face break out. I also wanted to brighter….yellow bone is what the elderly called it……mixed is most likely what I said. They seem to have it all. They had gorgeous eye, “good” hair, and everyone liked them. I never thought about this until now but that is probably the reason I am attracted to “lighter skinned” races so I can have me a mixed baby with pretty eyes and “good” hair.

So I entered middle school feeling like an outcast. I felt not many people liked just tolerated because I was always the teacher’s pet. Not to mention the bad acne didn’t improve much. The insecurities I had with my clothing and hair only got worse, but this time factor in girls with manicures and popular cheerleaders. I remember thinking then and I still think this now….what is wrong with the way I look or dress or carry myself that boy/males don’t notice me or don’t approach me like they approach other girls. I thought this in high school and I think it in college; my solution to this problem is monetary: manicures, pedicure, and hair appointments. That is what songs say to do; that is what television says to do and that is what I see around me says to do. Even though most of the girls that were popular and pretty in middle school or high school are pregnant now or have had children and I know their life is nowhere what they dreamed it would be…….I still envy that they have a boyfriend or that someone considers them pretty(when that is probably not even the case). I don’t why I started thinking this (maybe just the environment I grew up in) but somewhere along the line between the little girl and the young adult I have subconsciously equated beauty to male attention. Since I don’t receive a lot of male attention then I must not be that pretty. Even though I know it is not true because I know I am attractive…….I don’t have that male validation so I can’t quite be sure. Although I know  I am not ready for a relationship; it would still be nice to have one. The one thing I used to be proud of though was my body. My face may have been “ugly” and my hair “bad” but my body was beautiful. I was small but had curves and little feet. That sense of pride was stripped the away from me at thirteen the day I was raped by my father. I have never felt as dirty in my life as I did then. My father taught me two lessons that night: some stains never come clean and no one will care that you are dying on the inside as long as you smile convincingly enough. I remember I just wanted to leave the room and burn the tight pant I wore that night and take a long bath. I also remember him saying that I couldn’t leave the room until I smiled because it looked like something was wrong with me. My virginity was stolen, I was in unimaginable pain, confused, and hurt but if I left looking like something was wrong then my mom would questioned what happen. So I smiled and have been smiling ever since. Don’t worry about reporting this it already was….Baylor made sure of that. He killed himself when I was nineteen and I am left to live with what was done to me. This went on for six years and so much brain-washing went on during this time that I couldn’t even call it sexual abuse when Mary Lou Scott told me I was being sexually abused because  “it is not like raped me or anything”.  So needless to say this added to my insecurities with my looks and the once pride I had in my body became I don’t know but I didn’t like it. Around that time up until about a year ago I did not like my buttocks. It was too big drew too much attention. My self-confidence was/is shot to hell. I never really think people care about how I feel…..they just want me to be okay enough to listen to their problem. I go back and forth on whether I like my shape or not. I still think manicure, pedicures, and hair appointments are the way to make me beautiful. I still think my hair is hard to manage but I don’t considerate “bad” anymore. I still avoid the sun at all cost because I don’t want to get “dark”. I don’t know if I want long hair or short hair. I have a problem with the bulge in my stomach….my muffin top. My muscles are not as toned as they should be. I am not in good shape. I don’t drink enough water so my skin is dry. I doubt everything that I do and think is important enough to matter and is probably wrong. Half the time I look in the mirror I don’t like something I see….the other forty percent I don’t know what I think…..and only ten percent of the time can I look in the mirror and say that girl is beautiful.  Don’t get me wrong I know everything I said earlier is not true…..the problem is I can’t bring myself to believe what I know. Also my teeth need to be whiter and I go back and forth between telling myself I need to work to be in good health and I need to work out to get the body I want.  So where does hatha yoga comes into play…….it is helping me become more self-aware and less self-conscious. I am starting to admit I have the insecurities…..not fix them just yet but accepting that I have them. It is putting me on the path to the long journey of finding and making peace with my inner self.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Practice Blog?

I suppose that I will start this practice blog by saying I have not done any outside practiced. When I say no outside practice I mean none. I haven’t been physically practicing, haven’t actively planting positive seeds, and I haven’t read my memoir. The only kind of “practice” I have accomplished this past week is keeping my room somewhat clean and I have stop negative thoughts from completely paralyzing me. Well actually I take that back I haven’t done a full fledge routine but I have practice my alignment. Since most of time this week as been spent in bed, when I am lying on my side, my feet make a ninety degree angle and my toes spread (not to mention I make sure my buttock flesh is down). When I am lying on my often do hip openers or tadasana lying down. Whenever I am sitting in a chair my spine is straight and whenever possible both feet are on the ground (that doesn’t happen often). So I suppose my practice this week consisted of me working on my alignment (I know that technically doesn’t count but it makes me feel better). Practice last Tuesday was intense; when I suggested we do dancer pose I had no idea what I was getting us into. That being said I will not suggest any other poses; speaking of poses I opened Light On Yoga this weekend and he isn’t smiling. I mean I know that technically isn’t that important but his frown is very prominent (all I can think wow you should relax your face and smile). Once I got over his frown I notice all the different ways your feet can bend and how compact your body can become. Even though I haven’t practiced intensely I can’t wait to try some of those moves and making the crazy face expressions. Just so you know when I am a certified yoga instructor(much later in life), I want to see if I can offer free classes in places like delinquent center, youth center, or jail…basically places and people who wouldn’t normally be expose to yoga.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Path I chose…wait no take out the “I”

Jnana yoga- the yoga of knowledge, aspirants use their will and discrimination to disidentify themselves from the body, mind, and senses until they know they are nothing but Self.

Bhakti yoga- the yoga of devotion, achieves goal of Self by identifying themselves completely with the Lord in love

Karma yoga- the yoga of selfless action, the aspirant dissolves their identification with body and mind by identifying with the whole of life, forgetting finite self in the service of others.

The path that resonates most with my lifestyle or the one I resonate most with is Karma all the way. I want to say I am doing but that is ignorant and false according to the Gita. So I will say this, I feel most connected with God when I am helping others. Truly helping, you know offering kind words when they seem like they need them. Giving people a hug when they look on the brink of tears. Offering people my kindness when they truly believed there was none left in the world. Of course I don’t know all this when I do offer my help; I only learn of it afterwards. I suppose that would explain would explain why I always want to be a doctor and now an Art Therapist. I have always wanted to help people.  I can’t explain the reason why it used to be because it made me feel good but then I started doing “kind” things to get recognition and when it didn’t come I felt cheated. Not sure when I realized that doing things to get a thank usually lead to not getting one, but I eventually figured out that when I gave my help for no other reason than to help, I not only got their thank…..I realized I didn’t need it. It is nice to know I was appreciated but that was not the main purpose. So yeah Karma all the way.

Monday, November 7, 2011

He has 99 problems

Describe Arjuna’s dilemma and a similar experience in your own life.
Arjuna’s dilemma in the first six chapters can be described in many different ways but I am going to talk about the basic dilemma.  Arjuna feels he can’t do what he knows needs to be done. Furthermore, he can’t do what needs to be done because he doesn’t want to be the cause of others pain (in his case death). He doesn’t want to stand up for what is right because that means confronting family and close friends. He is stuck between a rock and a hard place and he doesn’t want to move; instead he would rather let the rock crush him. His other problem is getting indirect/direct advice from a trusted friend. The latter is not really a problem it is just irritating when you ask for someone’s advice in should you do something or shouldn’t you and they do not answer in a direct way. I have been in a similar situation so many times it is hard to narrow down and talk about one. Okay I just narrowed and tweaked Arjuna’s dilemma to suit my story. Arjuna can’t do what he needs to because of fear. About three weeks ago maybe more I found myself in a state of inaction, as you can see because I am just now writing this blog. I was in full fledged panic attack mode so much so that my chest physically started hurting and felt I was losing my mind. Like Arjuna I found myself in a state of inaction and mind set of just giving up and letting what happens….happen. While Arjuna’s worries were very real and understandable mines weren’t. Arjuna couldn’t act because he didn’t want to be the cause of people death; I couldn’t act because fear paralyzed me. Literally, I was fretting over not doing my work and the magnitude of that fret kept me from focusing enough to do said work. The advice Arjuna received came from a holy being and mines came from my therapist. They both basically the same thing stop worrying and start doing. Krishna, in so many words, told Arjuna what he worried about had no substance because if you reach the level of Self it matters not. My therapist told me what I am worry about has no substance because well it is the future that will never happen if I am stuck in “what ifs”. I hope this what I am supposed to blog about.  

Not a real blog

I will get to my real blogs in the next hour and half or so but I just wanted to ask........How people could read the Gita and not think "Wow sounds a lot like Christianity?" I don't see how the connection is not made. Granted I am not the most spiritual person out there. I don't regularly testify; I am pretty sure I have never witness, and there was even a time in my life I was pissed at God (I finally acknowledge it and eventually got over it). Oh and I think that people who make "Jesus" cookies need to go through something traumatic because if you can reduce Christ down to a cookie cut out and you are not a child.....then you obviously haven't been through enough. I apologize if any of you find healing in making Jesus shaped cookies but yeah no stop that spend your time doing something else Christ related.

Sorry got off on a tangent. Anyway my point is I don't see how anyone could believe that Christ is the only way to God when they have read the Gita. Then I realized that the devote Christian (I use the word loosely) haven't read the Gita....which also make me realized that when I do have kids that they will be reading this book along with the Bible, the Qur'an, and The Torah. I may even make them read Greek mythology. If I raise children that believe Christ is the only way to God and they want to prove so by making Jesus cut out cookies; I want it to be an intelligent informed decision not one bred out of ignorance like mines was before I entered the BIC.