I am about to write the most radical and dangerous blog I have ever written. It is so dangerous that I have paused, walked around the room, considered a sudden urge to go to the toilet, sat back down and paused again (twice), mid-sentence.
I am currently experiencing a period of unprecedented happiness and completeness. Not only am I happy but I feel worthy and wanted, and I am deeply satisfied with what I am doing in life. I have discovered I am genuinely good at something, maybe even more than one thing. And I am very proud of what I am doing with the thing I am good at. I am authentic and have integrity.
Even more radical, I have fallen in love with my face…my 51 year-old face, with wrinkles and chin hair and sparkly grey streaks in my hair. I have also become very fond of my body. I love the roundness of my belly and hips, and the slight sag in upper arms and breasts. I look at my body and I see a woman and I really like being a woman.
And spiritually, I no longer feel like a seeker. It is not that I consider myself enlightened or a guru, it is simply that I have a deep sense that that which I have been seeking is actually within myself. Furthermore, the tools required to realise this, I already have – my breath and my intention.
I feel whole and happy. I would never have said this before, despite having experienced moments of contentment or peace. Now there are some indicators that this is the real deal rather than a moment.
For example, when the habitual thought patterns of self-criticism occur, as they did in a trauma-sensitive yoga class yesterday, I can hold them compassionately from a distance rather than disappearing down the rabbit hole and becoming them. The criticisms disappeared and didn’t return.
Another example is that when I look in the mirror, I smile at myself, not because I am typically beautiful but because I am me and I like me. I see my smiling eyes not my flaws and there isn’t the slight anxiety about my appearance. This is so lovely.
Ten years ago, almost to the day, I declared to myself that I wanted to learn how to learn how to live in the peace I experienced in meditation and teach this to other people in crisis. Then I was in a wheelchair, being bathed and on antidepressants. Now I ski, bathe myself and occasionally take Panadol for migraine. Put quite simply my yoga practice saved my life and my family.
When I work with my 80-odd students and clients each week, I do so from a place of authenticity and integrity. I am speaking and living my truth, in the knowledge that I am serving the people I set out to serve, ten years ago, while I was still in a wheelchair.
Today I listened to recordings of relaxations and meditations I delivered to these classes, and for the first time I could listen to my voice and my work without cringing. Not only could I listen but the quality of these practices landed. I am good at this.
This is radical and dangerous because in our society we are not brought up to like ourselves. We are not brought up to believe in ourselves. We are not brought up to know our own minds or hearts or worth. We are strangely not brought up to feel content, satisfying or happy, within ourselves.
We are brought up to seek our sense of ourselves from outside of ourselves, counter intuitive. We are desperate to be completed by our loved ones, approved of by…well everyone. and most insidious of all, if we find ourselves good at something, let alone complete and happy, we must not tell anyone lest people think we are wankers or frauds. In fact, I feel guilty and nervous for declaring my happiness.
Our whole society, from cosmetics to real estate to education, health, religion, personal development industries and everything in between teaches us to be seekers of happiness not finders. And the paradox of seeking is that we are always looking out and to the future.
To quote Petrea King, “the, ‘I’ll be happy when…’ syndrome”. We are trained to be discontent and dissatisfied.
Here’s the thing. If enlightenment is a thing, if freedom and happiness are attainable, and I believe they are, then why not in this lifetime, why not now and why not you, within yourself? And If it is possible to be free and live in peace then throw out the rulebook and give yourself wholly to the task.
The world is not going fall off its axis if we like ourselves. We will always need the arts, food, shelter and clothing. We will probably also need help or coaching but if we start from the perspective of already being whole and happy then we become finders and not seekers.
So, I implore you to become a finder…NOW.
Rinse and repeat.
This is it. This is all you need – your breath, your Self and this moment.
Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2, and be inspired.