Reverb14: Day Two

reverb14withtextReverb14 Prompt: “What unfinished projects from 2014 are you willing to release now? (Regret not required.)”

The unfinished project from 2014 I am willing to release now: Me. Even as I’ve been living more consciously, rehabbing my life, becoming a better friend to myself, I continued to treat myself as a self-improvement project. I worked diligently to become a better person — healthier, wealthier, wiser, kinder, smarter, more sane, more fit, more skilled, better educated, better rested.

And yet, the underlying assumption to all this effort was fundamentally flawed: something is wrong with me. It required that I judge myself against experts, other people’s success, unreasonable cultural expectations, a version of myself that was perfect — a rubric that had nothing to do with self-compassion or friendship.

I thought my approach had changed so much, but really I just shifted from bullying myself for not being enough to smashing myself to bits trying to be better, more. Fundamentally it was the same old, same old.

My life rehab started with the simple wish to “be a better friend to myself.” Not to be a better person, not to become successful or accomplish things and make stuff, but to practice maitri — loving compassion towards the self. I am not a project.

Project Reverb prompt: “Gorgeous: When did you feel beautiful this year? Why?”

When I was practicing and teaching yoga. You’d think I’d be the most self-conscious and judgmental in those moments, since I can be so uncomfortable with how I look and critical of my body, and yet those are the times I feel the most authentic, powerful, appealing, generous, open. There’s something so lovely about a person who shows up just as they are, offers everything that they have even with the cracks and flaws, isn’t afraid of who they are.

When I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and lovingly allowed myself to rest. There’s something really sweet, beautiful about the offering of friendship, the tenderness and gentleness I’ve been able to show myself. In those moments, I can look terrible, so wrecked, but there’s something soft there that almost glows.

12 thoughts on “Reverb14: Day Two

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      I thought it would be a hard prompt to answer when I first read it, because the projects I haven’t finished, I’m taking into next year to keep working on them, so thought I had nothing, and then it smacked me right between the eyes. 🙂

      Reply
  1. missyjkl

    Yes. I love that you’re giving up yourself as a self-improvement project. It is so easy to get sucked into this since a) we all want to be “better” and b) we are surrounded with articles, blogs, online and real life classes…It’s everywhere. Good for you. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  2. Kat McNally (@_kat_mcnally_)

    Once again, you are my beautiful mirror, my friend.
    Coincidentally (or perhaps not) I read my daughter the story of Perseus and Medusa this evening. It seems to me that self-compassion is not unlike the mirror that deflects the deathly stare of our inner gorgons. We see and we stand and we are not turned to stone. We are safe. x

    Reply
  3. regine kelly

    Looks like from the comments Jill, we all responded to “I am not a project.”
    Still, I say it, meditate on it, listen to dharma talks that I know are wise & true that address this. I KNOW we do not have the time to only believe this shard of sad “mind.”
    And still, after raising 2 radiant sons and being a decent human being—I feel that my lack of financial security and inability to fulfill my “calling,” (Yep, writing) leaves me with the feeling of being unchosen, like I spend 3/4 of my time fighting off arctic isolation.
    Thank goodness I love dogs, animals in general and kids.
    Thank you for expressing what I cannot! And so beautifully.
    Last week I thought, OH no! I have a nervous system that is on the outside of my body too!
    Pax, Regina

    Reply

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