“With each passage of human growth we must shed a protective structure [like a hardy crustacean]. We are left exposed and vulnerable – but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn't known before.” ~ Gail Sheehy
Today, I reflect back on that – on posting a half-naked picture of myself – and what it has meant since then.
It all began last October, when Mish began the Exposed Movement – a brave and courageous look at her body, and beyond that – a look at who she really was.
There was a vulnerability in sharing that, almost a year ago now. I DID feel exposed – my body – there for everyone to see. To judge. To compare.
My experience in sharing that, though, was completely different. I felt accepted for who I am. I felt okay with me. I felt care and love.
Does that mean that there weren't judgments made? That comparisons were not done? No. I am sure these existed, even if I didn't feel that. And isn't that how the normal daily of your life is? How the normal daily of my life is? Whether it's our external appearances, the things we say, or the things we do – judgments and comparisons happen. Sometimes we painfully hear these, and other times we are completely unaware.
I try not to judge others, I try not to make comparisons. The truth, though, is that I still do. Sometimes consciously. Sometimes unconsciously.
…even though I have no way of fully knowing what has brought someone else to where they are today…
I am a work in progress. Just as that picture from last year speaks to the work in progress of my body, so I am a work in progress for my internal being.
I'm also reminded of a book I read recently, on the recommendation of friend and life coach, Laura Neff. The book, The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz – talks very specifically about how others view us. In the words of Mr. Ruiz:
Don’t take anything personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
So, I reflect back on these past twelve months – the fears and vulnerabilities felt by putting this picture up for the world to see. I was judged. I was compared. I was questioned. (whether I heard any of this or not) And none of this was because of me. It is others projection of their own reality. And that is it.
…and I am still here today. Life has not stopped happening because of this.
What has this really meant, then?
As my life journey has continued over this past year, I have become more okay with who I truly am. By exposing my outward appearance, it has helped to break down walls and expose more of that internal me…expose that voice that speaks from the heart.
My body is mine. Perfectly imperfect. Imperfectly perfect.
My soul, my essence, my being – is mine. Perfectly imperfect. Imperfectly perfect.
…as you are, also.
I will be judged and compared. You will be judged and compared. And it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that others say, think, share. It matters how you feel.
This body, this soul – they are yours.
Break down the walls. Expose you…the you that speaks from your heart.
Meet fellow bloggers Simon Hay, Evita Ochel, Joy Holland and Tess Marshall on October 23 & 24, 2010 in Rochester, NY at the New Moon Expo. New Moon brings together more than 100 exhibitors dedicated to mind, body, spirit well-being. For more information, visit the New Moon Expo website.