Last week, after yoga, someone asked me how Bikram had changed me. I started to explain how it had changed me more on the inside, but I couldn’t quite find the words to express the deep fundamental changes that have taken place within me during these past 9 and 1/2 months. These changes are profound, and, at times, defy rational explanation and have occurred as a result of my efforts to improve my life by following a spiritual meditative lifestyle and engaging in Bikram Yoga.
For most of my adult life, I fit the model of a co-dependent personality. Every time I did or said something/anything the first thought to enter my mind would involve what someone/anyone thought of what I did or said. Anything I did, any word I uttered, had to meet with the approval of others. For those of you who have known me, that might not seem to be the case, but inside my head, well that was my truth.
Sure, I always had a flair, an outspoken style. Hardly ever wore black. Heck, I don’t even wear black to funerals, but I have discovered lately a tendency to wear black on occasion as it does have that slimming effect! BUT I digress.
The colorful external flair didn’t match the internal drama of my “crazy brain”. I’d feel moments of terror if I did something someone didn’t like. What if they didn’t love me? What if they didn’t like me? I’d feel this way with strangers, acquaintances, friends, intimates, with anyone. I lived with my stomach in knots a lot of the time. Food didn’t talk to me. Didn’t argue with me. Didn’t care what I did. And loved me no matter what.
I started to lose weight before I ever went into the hot room. But I still carried with me so many emotionally destructive patterns that had haunted and tormented me for years. Does this sound harsh? Well, it’s the truth. What YOU thought of me mattered far more than what I thought of myself. I’d give up my happiness if you might not like something I did or said. I’d wait for others’ approval before I made decisions that would bring me happiness. I GAVE UP my happiness on more occasions than I ever care to think about.
One day last April when I was having a difficult time, my spiritual advisor told me to go hang more with my friend MK. When I told her what he said, the first thing she suggested was that I go try Bikram. I said “okay”. I didn’t know how much that chain of events would change me.
Over the course of the past few months, my sense of self, my self-respect has grown. In some ways I’ve watched my reactions go from that of an immature little girl to those of a self-confident woman. As I have emotions these days I observe them, watch them. I can see when they come from an irrational emotional realm as opposed to a calm observant realm. I can’t always stop myself from having emotional reactions (I’m human after all), but I catch them much more quickly and am more easily able to rectify them when need be.
I’m finding that I make decisions about my life that make me happy without stopping to think if someone else/anyone else will approve/disapprove. If it makes me happy the world needs to celebrate with me, and if the world chooses not to, well then it’s not my problem.
I spend at least 9 hours a week in that hot room. I don’t do it for fun; although, I often do have fun and giggle a lot! I show up because every time I do show up, I’m showing up for me the other 159 hours of the week outside that hot room. (The other spiritual efforts I sometimes mention, which occupy some of those 159 hours, I’ll discuss when the time is right.)
I’m learning lately that I can slow down. I’ve been running and running and running since my father’s death (actually, I’ve been running away from self most of my adult life), but in these past few weeks, I’ve noticed I can stop and be okay. I can spend a day, a whole day just by myself and be. Just be.
My head is far from perfect, but I’m happier. I’m more confident than I’ve ever been. That can’t be measured by a scale, by a measuring tape, by any external evidence. Well, okay, maybe by some! I have a swagger to my step that hasn’t been there before. I wear whatever makes me happy. I am happy. I am also very lucky.
And that’s how the hot room has changed and is changing me. I’m sweating away the illusions that have covered up the essence of who I truly am.
BTW, what you think of me really is none of my business, and what I think of you is really none of yours…………………….But I do happen to think you’re all pretty awesome!
Here’s a pic of some roses I bought myself just because!
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