Saturday, March 19, 2016

1, 1, 6

I am not weak. I am light and connected. My true north points to integrity and authenticity.

2016 is my year of new. Have you ever noticed the same number in different places, on different days, but it keeps popping up in front of you? For me, that number is 1:16. 

It was the time I was born. At least, it's the time recorded on my birth certificate. I notice it on the clock at what feels like an alarmingly high rate. It was the room number for my student teaching assignment. The address of my current house, the one we prayed for because I NEEDED to change apartments after a traumatic event and it seemingly fell into our laps, contains these digits, just jumbled.

All this to say, the digits 1, 1, and 6 seem to be a marker of important things for me. If you're into that sort of thing.

The year is now 2016. In January, 2016 (1/16), I completed my Inspired Baptiste Teacher Training. It was a seriously life-changing experience. It came at a time in my life that I NEEDED to tackle myself and my issues head on. And, in fact, I was in such a low and desperate place that I couldn't avoid these issues like I'd been able to do in the past (or thought I'd been able to avoid). I had always set high goals for myself. I lived in a world of my own creation full of wishing for things but believing I was too weak to obtain them, of "shoulds" and comparison and never being "enough" (Says who? I created a whole world in my head where I wasn't _____ -enough for the situation in front of me. It felt like I was wrapped up in strings of my own condemning monologue, spun by years of insecurity and self-fulfilled doubt. I wanted connection with others, but these little threads crept in, telling me I was awkward, boring, didn't look good in my clothes, was unwanted, or whatever, until I'd built up a wall between myself and the people with whom I desperately wanted to connect. Then I guilted myself for not trying hard "enough" to be a better (fill in the blank). I was suffocating myself with the lies I'd created and replayed.

The 200-hour yoga teacher training process changed my life. I learned lessons about myself and the world that have dramatically changed who I understand myself to be. I feel steady and grounded in myself in a way I never have in my previous 25 years of life. I NEEDED, desperately, to be okay after the events of June I clung to my yoga teacher training and came out in a brand new place in life, more on-fire and steadier than ever. During one of our last sessions, we had time to think about ourselves for this year and in the next 5 years. As I scribbled out my passions, my responsibilities, things that I want to steer my life, I noticed that they were mostly things I've been scribbling down for a while. And I didn't like that. Then I noticed the date I was writing: January 2016. 1/16. And something clicked. 

Why do terrible things happen? Why does God allow them into our world? I had a tidy response to this question before I could speak from a traumatized brain, heart, and body. God allows bad things into the world to show how desperately we need Him. He allows suffering because those people learn to handle it and have the choice to glorify Him through that pain. God allows the lows so we can experience the exhilarating highs of his love. 

But now I was mad. I was not myself. I was lost. The God whom I trusted as all-powerful had protected me in some ways, but not the ways that I thought mattered. It took me the duration of my yoga teacher training (and then some) to fully heal from this anger. Honestly, at this point I feel thankful for being broken down into thousands of jaggedy pieces, because that earth-shattering put me in a place where I NEEDED to be glued back up...and I've been reshaped and reinforced into the person I know God created me to be. 

So here I am, in 2016, a new being. I am light and connected because I've said out loud that I am light and connected. Enough with wishing, and "shoulds", and guilt for not doing "enough".

I am trying it (all) light and easy. This brings me connection: to my own heart and mind, to the world around me and being present to the beauty and ugliness and lessons existing in it, to people (this one was always hardest for me), to community, to God. I am hearing my gut (and trusting it) for the first time in my life.

I NEEDED to radically change how I was living, and so I did. I am this way because I say I am. Things are easy because I say they're easy. I am strong because I say I'm strong. There's no wishing or list-making or building up of expectations until I just decide to turn off the stream of suffocating knot-making and go watch Netflix. 

I am light and connected, and I am living my life differently, starting with 1/16.

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