Amoeba. That’s what the first half of this year felt like.
Parts of my life were dropping like flies and I was left with just me. A single-celled ‘me’, without a defined shape, that could just about slink my way across the floor before it used up all its energy.
Taking action, but not really clear where I was going.
There were a few shapes I tried to reach out and hold on to.
HR Manager. Eating Disorder Recovery Coach.
HR, eating disorders; these were familiar topics to me. I had lived these out for a good decade of my life. Because they were familiar, I had the confidence I could do them.
Sometimes we want the stability of what we know to sink our roots in to. We think that it will give us a solid foundation to blossom from.
I tried to do that this time ’round and it didn’t work. No call backs from the recruiters. No traction in the eating disorder world.
I was being asked to try something different.
Plant my roots in something without a familiar form. To plant them into the unknown. The space between. The ethers. The Source of it all. Spirit. Love. God.
My bank account was past empty, I didn’t have an intact business to keep me busy any more, and the work that I thought was my calling felt like a wrinkly, crusty, dried-up raisin.
All I had left was me, my yoga mat, and God.
I’ve spent a good number of hours just lying there this year. All the labels I was hiding behind stripped back. All the fire in my belly burned out.
I’d lie there, sometimes wondering what would come next, sometimes lamenting what had passed. And finally, eventually, I’d lie there just being with me, where I was.
That can be the hardest part: Just being with your self.
My mind would quickly try to find meaning and purpose.
“Go do a Masters and PhD.”
“Have a baby.”
“Create a social media plan.”
“Update your website.”
Anything to feel like I was going somewhere.
Why is being stationary so hard?
It’s as if we always have to be moving, be doing something, otherwise we might spontaneously combust.
There were a good number of days I anticipated the combustion; could practically taste it. I knew it was on its way because I had nothing to do. At least nothing urgent. No one waiting on me to reply to their email. No crisis to solve.
Those were the yoga mat days. Where all I could do was muster up enough strength to roll it out, and lie down.
And that’s where I learned to pray.
FYI, I’ve never been a fan of prayer.
I dreaded pre-meal prayers (the food always got cold), and the bed-time routine (my knees would hurt by the end and I was only kneeling down because I had no choice; sore knees was a better option than a spanking).
Prayers in church were even worse. The chairs smelled funny, the pastor sounded funny (a little too melodramatic for me), and there was nothing fun about this straight-jacket way of talking to God.
When I’ve tried praying as an adult, I sound like a desperate, helpless, winge-bag.
“Please God, please! I beg you, please!”
On my yoga mat, I found a different kind of prayer.
It started with movement. Sometimes music or someone else’s voice to help quiet my mind while I let my body find the sweet spot of a forward fold, child’s pose, or gentle hip circles. I let my body guide me to what feels good.
Sometimes it looks like what you’d call ‘dance’. Some days it looks more like ‘yoga’. Other days it’s just me moving my hand with a pen in it over a piece of paper (that’s called ‘writing’).
Sometimes the movement leads me to cry. Other times to a quiet, peaceful, stillness.
Some days I feel like I’ve seen the light and there are bursts of clarity.
And then of course there are the days that no matter what I do, I still feel all jumbled up inside.
Over time I come to expect any and all, learning not to rate one experience as better than another. Each one is a valid part of the conversation that’s happening with the Thing I’ve asked to hold and carry my roots.
What I like about this new version of prayer… it doesn’t feel helpless or like a winge.
“Dude, I can’t fucking take this any more.”
“OK, I did my part. Over to you.”
“Are you serious? You seriously want me to let that one go?”
“Getouttahere. You gotta be kidding me! You’re cracking me up.”
“OK. I see you. I get it. Wow. Incredible. Thank you.”
And adult to adult conversation. For once.
Even as an ameoba, I could muster up enough strength for this.
A conversation that took many shapes and forms. Words and random markings on paper. Images in my head. Heat rising in my body. Stomping it out with beats blasting in the background. Draping myself across the floor to a smooth melody.
The Number 1 question I’ve been asking in this conversation is this: What is it you want from me already?
Am I supposed to be a trauma therapist? A dance teacher? A spiritual director? A shamanic healer? A writer? Are you sure I’m done with the eating disorder world, because I don’t think I am? Is this only for women? What about the men?
Guess what. I don’t have those answers yet.
What I do know is this. The only way any of that will become clear, is to keep showing up to the conversation, to the dance, to the prayer.
Wondering where to start? There’s been 3 ways of praying that have kept me rooted during a time when all the balls were tossed in the air, with many of them not quite landed yet.
You can do this for yourself.
- Spend time with yourself reflecting on your thoughts and feelings. Get real, raw, and honest with yourself. This year I’ve used Julia Cameron’s The Prosperous Heart (Amazon affiliate link fyi), and my own True You Journey as guides.
- Let your body move the way it needs to. Give your body it’s voice back. It will lead you to your soul. Embody is my go-to (it’s what I teach). Also check-out 5 rhythms, Ecstatic Dance. If you need to start moving your body with more structure, there is always Yoga.
- This is you keeping up your end of the bargain. You’ve been given something that only you can let out. Give it space, form, sound, shape, colour, taste, scent, however you need to. Try swapping out social media for ‘creative time’ (I did that for a month.) Have fun. Play with it. Let yourself ‘get it wrong’ the first time, and then keep doing that thing you do.
This combination of reflection, movement, and creating is a rinse and repeat cycle that leads you to your most authentic expression of you. Your True Embodied Self. It’s a body thing. A soul thing. A spiritual thing. (Get it? 🙂 Listen and dance it out here.)
Are you too coming out of the amoeba stage? Old stuff falling away and new things growing inside? Check out The Cocoon. It helps you stay rooted as you rise.