Healing depression and anxiety through mindfulness, yoga and self-compassion.
(Aka: self-help that keeps it real, for super smart and creative people.)
(Aka: self-help that keeps it real, for super smart and creative people.)
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Let’s talk about “weight”. Though we won’t talk about “weight”.
“Weight” is just a proxy. We could have picked any topic.
Though “weight” is close enough and removed enough from me that I can write about it without losing my marbles.
Let’s start with the basics: there is no such thing as “right weight” or “wrong weight”.
If your weight is not what you wish it to be, then that’s OK. Your weight is simply not what you wish it to be.
But it’s not “wrong”.
This is important.
Even when things feel like they are “wrong”, because they couldn’t possibly be what they are and be “right”, they are not actually “wrong”.
They are unpleasant, or uncomfortable, or undesirable. But not “wrong”.
In the case of “weight”, people lose it quickly because our entire culture is geared towards making as many things “wrong” as possible.
People of a “Certain Weight” are told that they need to make it “right”, that their weight is just wrong, that it’s not OK for them to be the way they are.
This is actually incorrect. It’s a reflection of people’s “stuff”, because there is no right and there is no wrong.
Someone could argue, “but Mary! People of a Certain Weight are more likely to become ill and die! That can’t be right, it must be wrong!”.
To which I say: so what?
First of all, the jury is still out over whether being of a Certain Weight is indeed not-so-good-healthwise.
Second, there are no guarantees in life. Trying to get things “right” is a way of grasping at a security and a certainty that doesn’t actually exist.
Just go and ask people who have done yoga all their life, eaten healthy, organic, vegetarian food, and who all of a sudden become ill. The first thing out of their mouths is “but I did all the right things!”.
See what I mean?
Third, even if it were true that “being of a Certain Weight is indeed not-so-good-healthwise”, and let’s say that it is, so what?
Is a long life better than a short one? Says who?
Our culture, that’s who. Yet when you start examining this assumption, it too falls apart, because, once again, there is no “right” and there is no “wrong”.
None of us are getting out of this world alive.
And there are no prizes awarded for living a longer life, or getting to the end with a pristine body.
Life has its share of good and bad, and that share doesn’t change as we get older. Some things get easier, some things get harder.
Also, there is no absolute concept for “health”. Feeling “good”, however, is much better guide.
We are not here to get things “right”. We are here to do our best.
And people whose lives are going along all “smooth sailing” struggle the most with it. (oh, the irony)
People in the “yoga world” have a blindspot the size of the Moon here.
They are firmly, hopelessly, exasperatingly attached to the idea that they are doing “all the right things”.
But because there is no “right”, they keep going. On and on.
It’s not enough to eat healthy, they must be vegetarians. It’s not enough to be vegetarians, they must be vegans. No, wait, now they have to go all gluten free. And organic, of course. And the environment.
And, and, and. The chase for the “right” livelihood never ends.
Because my point is, precisely, that there is no “right” and there is no “wrong”.
My point is that we all get attached to the idea that there is a “right”, and either we are getting things “right”, in which case we get a short-lived ego-boost, or we have to make them “right”, in which case we must keep on striving.
And in the process we drive ourselves more and more neurotic.
The First Noble Truth is that “all life is suffering”.
Translated to a modern audience, that means: “fish happens”.
It is in the nature of life for fish to happen.
We are not here to get things “right”, because there is no way to avoid fish from happening.
We can only do our best, and we can only do our best at each moment. Based on what we can actually do at each moment.
I don’t have much “stuff” about my weight.
But I do have tons of stuff on other things.
I am convinced that my life is wrong, unequivocally and irreparably wrong.
Like land after a nuclear holocaust, my life seems beyond “repair”. Wrong as far as the eye can see.
Try as I may, I cannot earn/make a decent enough income, not even the minimum to live on.
Try as I may, I cannot become “un-single”.
Try as I may, I cannot work “hard” enough on my website/business.
On and on, the list is endless. It all seems wrong, unequivocally and irreparably wrong.
But it isn’t. It can’t be.
Because there is no “right” and there is no “wrong”.
It seems that I’ve lost weight recently.
I have no idea how or why. Or even what, for that matter, since I don’t weight myself.
I don’t weight myself because my weight is always constant, so really, what is the point.
Yet 2 people who hadn’t seen me in months said to me “you’ve lost weight!”.
And as luck would have it, I put on my trunkini a few days ago and, sure enough, I appear to have shrunk a teeny bit.
So now, I have “stuff” about my weight.
And my “stuff” goes like this:
“Yes! I’m winning at life! Finally! After all the yoga and all the healthy eating and whatnot, I am finally getting it right! So yeah, 4 years of yoga and meditation and I haven’t earned any real money, or become un-single, but now I’m thin, and so I must be doing something right. Yay!”
Hold on there, partner.
This is me wanting some form of external validation and reassurance.
Because it’s not enough to feel “healthier” and “happier”, that won’t impress people.
Yet something like “I lost weight” would, right?
And how about the fact that I’ve gone without an “ego-boost” for years?
I have no career to speak of, I have no male interest, nothing I can take to my mother to show that I am “winning at life”.
Suddenly people notice I lost weight and I jump to this ultimately-meaningless “ego boost” as if my life depended on it.
Not quite, because I “caught it”
I noticed myself being “dragged” by my stuff, and so I could take action.
And remind myself that accepting such a thing as “right” in one area means accepting such a thing as “wrong” in another.
That’s too high a price to pay for an ego-boost.
So no, thank you, I shall pass.
I will continue to do what feels “good”, because that’s the best guide I have found.
And I will remind myself that I am not here to get things “right”. I am here to do my best.
I hope this post inspires you to do what feels “good”.
Or at the very least, to be a bit kinder to yourself when you think you’ve got things “wrong”.
Because, once again:
There is no “right” and there is no “wrong”.
There might be “unpleasant”, “undesirable”, uncomfortable.
But never “wrong”.
My weekly ritual for looking at the week that was. Argh. I missed the Log last monday, and so I am Logging for 2 weeks. Again. Because I am not yet outside of “Despondent State”/”Life Crisis”/”Cannot be bothered anymore with anything, so I’ll just give up and nap”. Let’s log. Listening to lots and lots […]
Dedicated to everyone who fears they might be outside of love’s reach: you are already Love. It’s not a place you arrive at.