Tag Archives for " Body wisdom "

8 Musings on Being a Badass

I did something super badass the other day.

The thing is, though ~ I almost didn’t do it.

I was given the task ~ along with about 20 other women ~ of breaking a pine board in half with just our hands. We wrote the limiting belief that is holding us back from creating more success in our lives on the side we were to break through and on the other side we marked down what we truly desire.

I felt pretty calm about the whole thing and wasn’t worried about whether or not I could do it until we actually got down to doing it. I watched my mentor, Monica Shah, lead and then a few others follow. Witnessing so many powerful women really focus and bust through the boards was inspiring. It was joyous. Their exhilaration was palpable.

It was also intimidating. I had started to worry about whether or not I could do it. I have a weak wrist from years of injuries and bartending, and I began to worry about hurting it. When it was my turn, I stepped up and I lined myself up and I struck at it.

Nothing happened.

I hit it again and then again. Still nothing and my wrist hurt from the repeated force against the board.

I stepped back, unsure of what to do. My injury was the result of not listening to my body when I was younger. For years, I had ignored its cues and pushed through pain, both emotional and physical. Even with years of healing, I’m still unraveling some of the repercussions from that.

I also knew that there was something that I was missing. I was aware that it wasn’t about force and that my apprehension was getting in my way.

I was stuck.

That was when this beautiful community of women reached out and lifted me up. My soul sister, Elicia, suggested I try with my other hand and encouraged me to play with a different mindset. She saw into my heart ~ as she does ~ and sensed that I needed an out-of-the-box solution. Another dear friend and colleague (and exceptional body worker), Susan, assured me that she could correct anything in my wrist that needed support. More girlfriends rallied and Big Bob, the man who facilitates this work, was called to assist.

He showed me what I had been missing. I was lacking force from my lower body, trying to push through with my hand, without accessing the simultaneous strength and thrust of my legs to facilitate the process.

I tried again and still I missed. By now, all eyes were on me.

Oh the beautiful and divine irony of it all! The limitation I was breaking through had to do with success and fear of failure with eyes upon me.

But Bob encouraged and inspired me, and the women around me cheered me on.

Then, as if it were nothing, I knocked that damn board and belief right in half.

I was greeted with hugs and I cried and I felt so so so supported. My wrist hurt less when I allowed myself to surrender and move through the belief. Susan worked some magic on it and it actually feels better than it did prior to the board breaking. (Imagine that!) Another Lady Love, Ina ~ channeler extraordinaire of The Alchemists, captured this great shot of my personal victory.


When I was young, I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t think I could master. I’ve spent years healing that sense of not-enoughness. It still rears its head at times and I thank god that when it does these days, I have people in my life that will support me and show me my potential.

I have opened myself up and allowed myself to be vulnerable ~ real honest-to-goddess, authentic vulnerability ~ in a way that has come full circle so many times.

When I show my heart, others hold it up for me to see.

What a treasure.

The Pose of Wisdom

I often used to wonder how I got into this body. It seemed so separate from me. Sometimes, I would float above it and other times, I would hover around it. It truly was a shadow of me and to me for most of my life. When I was young, I was an athlete. I defined myself that way. What do you do? I am a gymnast and a soccer/volley/baseball player. I am competitive, and I like to win. My body was this thing that propelled me forward and offered me some rewards if I worked hard enough, and it was always a question of whether or not I was enough. In my environment, I was completely judged by what my body could do, and when something didn’t come out the way I needed it to, I resented it. Injuries were inconveniences, and it was nothing to play a soccer game on an ankle that I’d twisted in gymnastics. I was not about to admit, ever, that I was weak. And the irony is that throughout all of this feeling defined by my body, I never actually felt like I was my body. I was never grounded in myself; I never knew myself.

This little war that I played with my body erupted for the worse as a high school student. I began to smoke, drink, take drugs and have sex, not knowing anything about how any of it would affect me, yet drawn to the effect it all had of turning everything off.  I abused my body because I was mad at it, and I gave up dreaming because it was easier to give it up than to come to peace with who I was. I distanced myself from myself, and that was just fine with me.

In my early 30’s, I began to practice yoga.  I enjoyed it because it came pretty easily to me. There was a lot of pleasure in looking around me and seeing that despite the fact that 15 years had passed since I had done my last backbend, I could still do it better than just about anyone there. Yoga was cool, because I could do it well, even though I was completely missing the point.  Despite the fact that I had some amazing teachers, all of that enlightened discourse about not comparing ourselves to others and honoring our bodies was lost on me. Child’s Pose was a sign of weakness; my injuries, which I largely ignored, were frailties that I had difficulty acknowledging. When I did address them, it was because they offered me an excuse as to why I couldn’t do something anymore. When the backbend became too painful to power through, my wrist became my scapegoat.  With all of this going on, I couldn’t stay in the game. Because I still wasn’t in touch with my body, or with me, for that matter, I didn’t stick with it. I’d let it go, and then get back to it for a minute, only to let it go again. It was lovely, but it didn’t fulfill me, because I wasn’t able to fulfill myself.

I finally returned, happily, gratefully and with a different mindset, about nine months ago. While I still wasn’t honoring my body 100%, I was open to the idea of doing so, and at that moment, that was sufficient. One day in class, I listened as my teacher told us that we could move into Child’s Pose whenever we needed. Of course, I didn’t need to. And I wouldn’t have, except that she went on to talk about how Child’s Pose is also called the Pose of Wisdom. Oh, damn! She had me now. This one comment touched a chord deep inside of me that was ready to be struck. I realized that I had been taking it all way too seriously; that I had been taking myself way too seriously. Jesus, Janet! Let it go already!

I am a total proponent of Child’s Pose these days. I love it. And I see the wisdom of the child that teaches us to honor our bodies, to respect them intuitively and to have fun with them. It’s still a struggle some days; I may never be able to completely give up wanting to be the best and to be acknowledged for that, but what I do know is that my body is this amazing vehicle for my spirit in this time that I have here and I am grateful to it for that. I also realize that my spirit is love and joy and laughter, and if my body is a vessel for that, then I ought to have some fun with it. (Oh, the wonderful, not child-like implications of that statement!)

A few weeks ago, I attempted full Mermaid Pose for the first time. On the first side, I totally got it; I mean, I nailed it, which is exactly how I smugly thought of it. I went on to the other side cocky and full of myself, only to fall out of it, over and over. The joy of this was that this repeated falling out of it cracked me up. I laughed at myself for falling, I laughed at myself for my arrogance, and I laughed at myself because it felt good to have a laugh at my own expense. After class, my beautiful teacher came up to me and hugged me, and said, “You have no idea how great it was to see you laugh like that when you fell.” Actually, though, I do; I really, really do.