So I read this post yesterday, and I’m still in a tizzy about it. It’s about letting go of your beliefs, thoughts, memories, dreams, and being present with what is really happening at the moment.
What if I let everything go? All the shoulds and musts and you-would-be-cool-ifs. Everything I think I believe. I always try to remember to ask myself, “who would I be if no one was watching?” And this is just another way of asking myself that, I think.
I remember learning in yoga teacher training that the world we see is not really the world we are in. We look out at everything with our clear eyes, but we have layers and layers of film between us and the real world… each layer is a belief or a thought or a should. So when I look at myself in the mirror, I am not really seeing myself… I am filtering that image through old (mostly harmful) thoughts and beliefs. Women should have flat tummies. Legs should be shaved. Hair should be flawless. Muscles should be toned. Clothes should be stylish. Teeth should be straight. Women should be strong and confident. Women should be demure. And so instead of seeing myself for the beautiful person I really am, I only see all the ways I am not what I “should” be. Yoga and meditation were supposed to help clear away those layers, until we could finally see the world clearly.
I never realized how many things I could let go of. For example, what if I let go of these things:
- The memories of not fitting in during high school
- The desire to be successful and admired
- The thoughts of what makes a woman beautiful
- The knowledge of what is “nutritious” and what is “healthy”
- The thoughts of which foods are “good” and “bad”
- The idea that I am more attractive in heels, in a dress, with makeup
- That meals should be eaten at certain times, and what constitutes a meal
- That I need to leave a mark on the world, to make something of myself, to measure up to my potential
- That I need to meditate, or exercise, or practice yoga
- That television is bad, that reading is good, that reading blogs for hours is lazy
- That size 4 is good, and that anything bigger means you will always hope to be a size 4
- That I am sensitive, compassionate, friendly, sarcastic, funny, lazy, a good/bad friend or daughter or sister or wife
- Which restaurants are my favorites, whether I like cocktails, whether I like to take photos, whether I like to talk about food
- The places I want to visit, the things I think I should own, the experiences I think I should have
Who would I be then? If I were just plopped right here on earth, into the life that I have, with no baggage, no beliefs, no social knowledge… who would I be? What would I like? What would I do every day, and who would I do it with?
The answers to those questions are mind-boggling to me. Maybe I would think I was beautiful. Maybe I would let go of some relationships. Maybe I would go to bed each night without regretting all the things I didn’t get done. Maybe I would just eat what I wanted, when I wanted it. Maybe I would have more fun. Maybe I wouldn’t worry about how the world sees me and categorizes me. Maybe I would be happier.
My head is full. I’m ready to empty it.