Do You Live at the Zoo?
When I was younger, I spent a lot of time not knowing how to help myself. I would feel helpless about my physical or mental health. The things people suggested seemed either out of my skill set, or just impossible. It felt as if my mind and body were a mystery, or controlled by fate, or by our culture and era...but certainly not controlled by me.
Here’s the kicker: it took me almost 40 years to understand that the struggle I was having about my body or my emotions was a fight only with me and no one else.
I’m not saying culture doesn’t have some ridiculous standards and plenty of biases. Whoa boy, does it ever. I’m saying I finally realized I didn’t have to internalize others’ hatred or lack of understanding about anything. Those things didn’t have to be mine.
One of my yoga mentors and I refer to this this as “my shit” versus “their shit.” If someone is projecting their anger, fear, or insecurities and taking them out on the people around them, that’s “their shit,” and we shouldn’t wipe it on ourselves: they’re the only ones who can fix what they’re doing. If we are frustrated because we think we should be different than we are, that’s “our shit,” because we are the only ones who change anything about ourselves.
Problem is that people throw their shit around and they expect other people to clean it up. It's a bit like when I worked at the Austin Zoo and the tigers would walk by the back fence, rubbing themselves up against it like they wanted me to tell them how gorgeous and majestic they were (and indeed they were beautiful)...but then would proceed to turn around and shoot their pee on me through the fence links. Nice, huh? Nothing like being covered in tiger pee in an Austin, Texas, summer.
See, I used to throw my shit around. I didn’t yet truly believe that there is no one who needs to take pride in my body but me. There is no one who needs to understand my mental health but me. That’s my shit to deal with.
Once I understood this fully, it became in my power to change what I wanted to change about myself as I alone saw fit. It wasn’t a mystery after all. It was only ownership of myself I needed to claim.
A tiger doesn't really need to pee on anyone to feel gorgeous and powerful. It's a tiger, after all.
All we are, really, is energy. We know this from a logical standpoint, but then we get trapped in the day-to-day, moment-to-moment messiness of living and tend to think we are actually our thoughts, our identities, or our bodies. Meditation can help bring us back to the awareness that what we are is way cooler than those things. Here is a short meditation to help us focus on how we can subtly shift our energy, and remind us that our focus is always within our control.
This Week's Classes
Join in my group yoga classes from your home for free through February. Sign up by clicking the "Book Now" buttons on https://www.erinclairyoga.com/, or via Erin Clair Yoga on the Wix app (http://wix.to/X8DdDJ0?ref=cl)
• Feb 1–Monday at 6:30pm CST: Music-Based Yoga. Music Monday featuring Khalid. Class is online via Zoom or in-person at Força in Russellville.
• Feb 3–Wednesday at 6:30pm CST: Power Yoga. Class is online via Zoom or in-person at Força in Russellville.
• Feb 4–Thursday at 6:30pm CST: Music-Based Yoga, Inside Flow style. Class is online via Zoom or in-person at Força in Russellville.
• Feb. 5-Friday at 12:00pm CST: Beginner Yoga with guest yoga teacher Cindy Eisemann. Class is online.
• Feb 5–Friday at 2:00pm CST: Meditation. Class is online.