You know that feeling of not belonging? Not the kind you understand, like accidentally walking into the men’s change room, but that deep down kind that you are only vaguely aware of. The kind that makes your heart sink a little for no reason, or feel a pang of guilt or disappointment. It’s the feeling of forgetting something, but you can’t remember what you’ve forgotten. It’s the tiny, nagging, little voice speaking quietly in your soul but you can’t quite make out the words.
I’ve felt it since I can remember. Like I am at the end of an algebraic equation,but X is wrong. Why? What am I missing? What step am I not taking? Where did I go wrong?
It was always dulled by the adventurous life of a kid, teen, and young adult, but even with all of the distractions around me, I knew it was still there.
When Lil was born it went away. It was eradicated. Obliterated. Completely and wholly incinerated by love.
Then she died.
And now it’s back.
At least three quarters of what I feel now is just missing her; I know that to be true. I know that no matter what happens in my life, no matter what path I take or what path I don’t, I will feel incomplete.
Because I am.
But that last quarter, that other little bit, I am not sure where it came from or what its trying to tell me, but it’s been at me my whole life and the older and more self aware I get, the louder it is and the deeper it pulses.
I spend a lot of time looking at the future.There is always a projector in my head, playing through the movies I create of a future that seems so out of reach. It doesn’t mean that I am not working toward the life I want, but I do think about the fruits of my labour a little too often. And sometimes I find myself like Alice, lost in a world of make believe, of what ifs, of improbabilities and extreme expectations and when I finally pull myself out I am left a little more empty; A little less me.
And so, because my imagination is as vivid as the screen in front of you right now, real life can be a challenge to get back to. Regardless of feeling worse when I bring myself back to reality, sometimes I want to spend all my time in the world I feel I’ve created inside my own head.
A concept most people see with a negative connotation; being lost instills panic, and fear of the unknown.
We all want to be found; Being found is the end game. Being found means that you are where you are suppose to be and you are who you are suppose to be.
But as they (the all knowing, all wise, unknown guides of this universe) say, you must get lost, before you can be found.
and so I wonder: if getting lost inside my head makes me feel worse, what am I suppose to get lost in?
For the past few years, while trying to embrace, understand and just survive my grief, I found myself dawn to mindfulness. I’m terrible at meditating, because sorting my thoughts is like wrangling cats, but the practice of bringing myself into into the now has given me the ability to live both in moments of acute grief and also move through them into a state of presence. It’s the only thing I have found that can lower my anxiety from ‘I think my head might actually explode’ to ‘I just need to take my pants off and I’ll be O.K’
So through the ever so helpful (note my slightly sarcastic tone) facebook ads, I found a FREE 21 day yoga thing happening in real time on Wanderlust TV (anything with wanderlust in the title immediately grabs my attention-well played facebook) It was a 20-25 minute class, once a day and because I really needed a pick-me-up ( if you read my post about S.A.D, you’ll know that winter and the -500000 degree weather every day is making both my skin and emotions blue) I thought, hey, why the hell not! I already have a mat, blocks (which I thought were for sissies) and a belt…thing.. (?) So with all the equipment, a space (albeit, limited) in my living room and some desperation to not feel like a hippo was sitting on my chest, I signed up.
There was only one, small, tiny, issue…I am not bendy. When I was in gymnastics as a kid, for a hot second, I literally just stood on my head and fell backward thinking I was rolling. I wasn’t. I did get better, though; I’m not a brick anymore. So that’s good, but still, even at the peak of my Uni Soccer career, flexibility was never my strong suit.
So as I’m laying out my mat I’m thinking I might actually hate this, because I might be absolutely terrible at it.
One of the first things that is mentioned by the instructor, a wonderful woman named Schuyler Grant, is that we need to focus on what our bodies are doing. Make a warm, safe and welcoming environment and, yep you guessed it, lose yourself in the practice.
Unfortunately for me, this is a sample of what my brain actually did:
Hello yoga ladies. I wonder if I’m gonna look like them after these 21 days. hahah *thinks about chips in cupboard.*
k. sitting, sitting is good.
wait you want my hips above my knees?
Guess I’m using the bitch blocks.
This is more painful than it should be. how are her feet even there? this isn’t even a pose, it’s literally just sitting.
Oh god, I’m in trouble.
Okay, time for the bending. Schuyler, you are fantastic, you called a pose delicious. I totally want to be your friend.
What the actual hell, why cant I touch my toes? oh my god my knees are so bent, like a 90 degree angle. “if you have to bend them a little” how about if I literally have to sit on the floor?
okay okay, its not that bad.
You want me to do what? twist my what to put where?
Gimme those bitch blocks. *sigh of relief*
My shoulders don’t do that.
My legs don’t do that.
My butt doesn’t do that.
OH, I understand now. Helps when you can see the TV. My apartment is too small.
*note: look at real estate with room for yoga..ing*
FIVE MORE BREATHS IN PLANK ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME.
stop. you are suppose to be breathing not thinking.
stop thinking about thinking.
okay! shits getting quicker, this flow is where its AT.
missed that one.
dammit, missed that one too.
ahaha oh my god I’m so out of shape.
Good thing I’m at home, this would be embarrassing in a class. plus then I would have to wear pants.
*note: business idea, Become Yogi, teach pantsless yoga. Make underwear-type regulations ~just to be safe~
dflkdk my boobs are choking me.
*Note: wear better sports bra.
this breathing feels nice.
I’ve never noticed what it actually feels like to have air fill your lungs. ~science~
I’m so glad I’m not in a class.
thank god for Shavasana.
At first, it was chaotic, because it was hard. But then, slowly, my brain started to get quieter. Each day there was less for me to think about and more ability for me to connect to myself through movement, breath, and yah, in case you were wondering, I don’t have to bend my knees as much to touch my toes anymore.
But I think, more importantly then being able to touch my toes, I am finally able to get lost in those moments of mind connected to body. Not fully, but mostly, and for those 20-25 minutes I spend reconnecting with myself, I lose that feeling of not belonging.
In those moments, I belong to myself, to the earth, to the breath that I breathe. Nothing more, nothing less.
I realized that, although I would like to get lost somewhere warm preferably on a beach and get lost in writing for days on end, I can still get lost in one thing each day. 15 minutes, half an hour, even a couple of hours, I can spend some time just getting lost.
Because in disconnecting from the world inside my head, I am able to be centered, and I am able to, without distraction, search for whatever it is that is calling to me from the bottom of my soul.
Put your phone down, turn off your computer and your TV, and find a moment in each day to get completely lost in something around you. And slowly you’ll have erased the fear of the unknown, the fear of missing out, the fear of being disconnected.
I’m no expert, but maybe one day, too, you’ll realize that you have extinguished that feeling of not belonging, that feeling of being unaccomplished or unnerved, all by your wonderful little self.
And maybe, hopefully, one day, you’ll realize that you have actually been found all along.
That’s why we have to lose ourselves before we can be found, because they are absolutely, 100%, the exact. same. thing.
Check out, to Check in.