I know we all hear that we can’t get what we want unless we ask. I know that even asking sounds ridiculous to some of us. It really did for me. It’s been hard in most of my relationships, but especially hard to ask the universe. I guess it seemed selfish. I was raised to be a martyr. I was raised to put others before myself. I was raised….to be a woman.
I cringe as I write that, but really it’s true. If I asked for what I wanted I was called greedy or needy. Even in my adult life I’ve had men call me needy-simply for asking to have my needs met. I was taught that I needed to adapt my behavior, attitudes and langauge to suite everyone elses-especially if there was a man involved. And I learned the lessons really well. As most of you know I’ve felt lost. And how surprising is it? How could I possibly know myself when for almost 35 years I was a chameleon?
So what changed? My life came crashing to a halt. First I was sick. I was physically ill on a daily basis from the stress and the pain I was in. I was nauseous, had headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations and was incredibly moody-all of the time. Then when I couldn’t self-medicate anymore I just didn’t want to live. I tried self-destruction every way it was offered and somehow I’m still here. And I can’t really tell you what happened. They call it hitting bottom, but it’s different for each of us and it’s indescribable.
But eventually, I started to heal. Slowly. I immersed myself in taking care of myself. And Oh, I didn’t do it alone. I have so many, many people to thank for all the leaning I did. Sometimes I think they carried me. Mentors and sponsors and doctors and lovers and friends listened to me whine and cry, rage and vent. I’m surprised some of these people still talk to me. I’m sure they died a thousand deaths of sheer boredom listening to me.
And finally, I came back to yoga. For a long time I was only on the mat to teach. It’s not a great life. It leaves you hurt and empty. But the mat was always there waiting for me. It was non-judgmental. Sometimes I would just lay on her just to say I’d been on the mat. This is why if you’ve ever take a class with me you’ll notice my mat is pitted and scarred and about 1/100th of an inch. Because the mats that I use most often are the two mats that have been with me the longest. They are the ones that hold not only my sweat and aches, but my pain, my tears, my sorrow, my fears and finally, finally!, my joy and freedom. When I look down at them now as I contemplate my alignment in runner’s lunge or assess leaping forward from down dog I see how much possibility they hold. They are freedom all by themselves. It is on my mat that even on my darkest days my heart can soar.
And on the mat I learned, finally! learned, to ask for what I want. I had been doing it for years. As I balanced precariously, muscles shaking I would just pray the mat would hold me, not let me slip and fall on my face and the mat never let me down. That short little prayer slowly started to emerge in my other life. My life off the mat. I learned that I could ask for little simple things and the universe would answer. It was always the universe listening and answering, but the mat taught me to trust it.
A few weeks back I was feeling stuck. Well, maybe it’s been a few months now. I was feeling like I was ready for more in my life….for the next big step, but I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t know how to get up the stair. I had a flash of inspiration and thought that an accountability partner might be in order. Someone to help me keep track of the path, to remind me and check up with me and I would do the same. I wrote ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER on a post-it on my desktop. And I left it and forgot about it.
You can see where this is going, but the universe always has a little twist. You never get exactly what you ask for because, at least for me, I never ask for enough. I always ask for the least bothersome, easiest to fulfill, kind of requet. But the universe always knows exactly what would be best for me. I just have to listen and accept.
About a two weeks later a friend called to ask if I would be her meditation buddy. I hesitated because it seemed big and serious. It was more than just having coffee every week and checking in with what we were working on. And frankly, my meditation practice has never been that strong. AND my friend wanted to do it every day. But I’d recently had a little lecture with myself about turning down opportunities just cause I couldn’t see where they were going. I’d chastised myself for living in fear and not saying yes more often. So I said yes.
And it’s been wonderful. Making sure I get a meditation in every day AND having someone to talk to about it has been life altering. I am focused and centered through my day and always reminded of what I’m working on, spiritually, from day to day. And I’m often surprised how just when I start to lose my concentration or get stuck with a problem the day’s meditation pops into my head and gives me an answer I wasn’t expecting.
This new clarity led me to teach the new pose that led me to have a heart-opening, brain-changing SMACK. (Read Smaking Into Myself). And two weeks ago I pulled up my post-its to find a phone number and broke into a goofy tear-filled grin when I saw ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER smack in the middle of my screen. I had asked for what I most needed.
So I’m going to keep asking. Because it works. I don’t have to figure it all out for myself. I just have to put my desires out there. I have to keep my heart open and wait for more to be revealed. I have to have faith and trust that when the universe presents something to me I will feel in my heart that it’s safe and good and will get me to the next stair.
That is what I commited to this year-Stepping It Up. And that is what’s happening. Without me getting in the way, without me manipulating and challenging everyone and everybody I am getting what I asked for. I am getting to lead a fuller life, a more balanced life and I’m learning to be happy. Imagine little Melissa the chameleon actually being happy.