Lost…and Found?

Shrinking and cringing in the shadows, she braces for the barrage of judgment, hazing, bullying, and onslaught of all the things wrong with her and why it’s believed she deserves this treatment.

This is not a scene from a local schoolyard (though it’s happening in many of our schools). This story is an internal experience for many of us and the role of the bully….is sadly, played by ourselves. Perhaps the script was written by others in our past, but we are now the players and perpetrators on this inner stage. We are waging full-blown warfare on our imperfections while struggling to find some modicum of self-acceptance and dare I say…contentedness.

What happens to us when we aren’t grounded in self-acceptance and allowing for our imperfections…our humanness? We tend to see and find all the ways we don’t match external expectations (many of which aren’t achievable by ANYONE). A few short minutes of TV provide an ever greater, soul-crushing list for our inner tyrant to feast on. Even for those of us who don’t watch TV, it’s a Herculean effort to escape the clutches of the latest in Kardashian-land.

Given this environment, quite naturally, many of us attempt to hide. Whether it’s a waistline, hairline, bustline, or towing the line for someone else at home or work, most of us seem to have something that niggles us or maybe even enslaves us. We waste staggering amounts of energy (and in many cases money) spackling over our cracks hoping this will get us what we crave (love, freedom, security, and more). Yet, we still find ourselves disappointed, discouraged, depleted, and wanting to pull the lid closed on our little box that has become the landscape of our life.

I was challenged by one of my mentors to explore my own hiding and how much energy this algorithm was costing me. From this prompt and feedback from our last blog post, I set out to create the first LifeSpring Project experiment!! I would challenge how we hide our bodies, in part or full…my body in this case. GULP.

I’ve been sparring with my own self-consciousness due to recent body changes (and true for most of my life since about 11 or 12 years old.). It’s fair to note, a bit timidly, my version of physical hiding comes in the form of a long, baggy shirt. If it wouldn’t draw more attention, I would wear a full curtain for the greatest cover (and not the kind made into a cute dress by Maria in Sound of Music). No…my protection tool is the long, baggy shirt.

The exploration was to challenge me to peel off that concealing layer – literally and symbolically. Be seen as I am….not as I wish to be, used to me, or “should” be. Put all the “shoulds” down for a moment and see what happens. Both exciting and excruciating.

A great opportunity presented itself at a weekly moving meditation (5 Rhythms for those who know it or want to check it out in your area). On Sundays, we call it “sweating our prayers”. Even in this established, gracious and welcoming community, I feel my self-consciousness rise…to the point of almost skipping the class to avoid the agony altogether.

As I shuttled myself the 30 minutes to the studio, I could feel the anxiety bristling in my stomach. I wanted to vomit just thinking about shedding my “woobie” and revealing more of my body and myself. I summoned all the grit I could source as I faced going into combat without camouflage or a flak jacket (yes, I was an army brat, so bear with the military references).

{Shout out to all our military and their families.}

Thankfully, I arrived with some resolve intact, walked into the studio, and started flowing to the music. After a brief warm-up, I dropped my baggy shirt to my paltry, fitted yoga tank and capris – nowhere to hide. I flinched as I fully expected a land mind to explode and tear me to pieces with body shame shrapnel.

After a few minutes of staying in the piercing discomfort, I had a sudden burst of exhilaration like a sparkler radiating tingling, effervescence through my body. Wow. I was awestruck.

Was this all the energy I’d be using attempting to veil myself now racing back to me? Was this a taste of freedom from the external oppressors and shackles I’ve allowed to infiltrate and interfere with accepting my own flawsomeness? (Yes, flawed and awesome together)

Whatever that sweet nectar I tasted on the dance floor last week, I want more and am called to dive greater depths of research and exploration. More experiments are on the horizon and I imagine doing these together in community in the coming weeks and months.

What experiment or challenge would you like me to test? Let us know your ideas and there may be a prize if your idea is selected.

Brenda Cross

An international best-selling author and speaker, Brenda helps you breakthrough to true transformation and lasting change to live your best life.


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