How does this look? We can catch ourselves quite often asking this, or more accurately, thinking it. We worry how we look, how the house looks, how we look as a mother, as a friend, as a saint, as (option to fill in the blank with pretty much anything). Although we may believe this, life is not actually about how it looks.
During a particularly difficult pose in yoga class, the instructor said these brilliant words: “Remember yoga is a feeling practice. This is not about how you look, but how this feels within you. Maybe now is a good time to close your eyes and go within.” My goodness, YES! So I did just that…I closed my eyes and went back to how this felt within me. I quit worrying about how I looked in the pose (e.g., if my leg was as high as the person next to me) and focused on where I was at in this experience.
We are bombarded with how things are supposed to look. I’m not entirely sure where these ideas of how something is supposed to look originate from, but the real damage comes when we buy into them. The idea of “perfection” is everywhere, and the idea of “becoming” has been lost. The truth is we are all becoming, and this becoming is the divine perfection. If we function under the need to appear perfect, it moves us into fear and often results in further disconnect from self and others. In our connection with others, we often only show the best parts of ourselves, because those are what seem to be acceptable, and we fear if we show any real weakness or faults we will be rejected; and in the very act of denying our true self, we are in fact rejecting ourselves. This is the opposite of connection because it is driven by fear instead of love.
The greatest tragedy is this: We are so worried about how we appear to others and if we look good to them, we have completely disconnected from self and have no idea how any of it actually feels within us. We, quite frankly, have learned to disconnect from our feelings so completely, we honestly have no idea how we feel most of the time. And if something doesn’t feel good, instead of honoring that, we ignore it. We are masters of ignoring our feelings. Our feelings are there to tell us something—if a boundary has been crossed, if something is honoring or dishonoring, if something resonates with the highest parts of us. In order to really connect with others, we must first connect with self, and the vehicle for that is getting in touch with how things feel within us, not with how they look.
Now, don’t freak out. I find when we talk about doing things based on how they feel, we have an uprising of fear from people with images of evil ways of self-indulgence and debauchery. That’s not the direction I’m suggesting (nor is it truth). We have often been conditioned that we cannot trust how we feel—we are inherently evil after all, right? No, wrong. Yes, we have an ego-self that is often a result of trying to navigate this world—a self that is not necessarily our highest self—but this self has been created to protect us and needs to be acknowledged and honored as we move to creating a deeper connection to our highest self. We do not need to fear our feelings. We can learn to acknowledge our feelings and honor them; always asking if the direction we are going is in our highest good. When we start to connect with our feelings and honor them, we begin to reconnect with self. This connection changes everything about the way we function and creates an alignment within that brings unimaginable peace and joy.
When we find ourselves worrying about how we look and how we compare, this is the moment to close our eyes and go within. This is the moment we can take a deep breath and ask, “How does this feel?” As we then honor the answer, we will regain our own trust. This allows us to navigate life from the space of what resonates as truth within us, and not from a space focused on how we will be seen. It is the most freeing and honoring space.
Maybe now is a good time to close your eyes and go within.