Let go came the guidance. Though standing in the middle of yoga, the words felt more like admonishment. Plus, how? I am in the middle of a posture, trying desperately to hold the form, straining muscle, holding in my tummy. What exactly do I let go while remaining in this form?
I have heard these words before: Let go Cheryl, have fun! Let go and jump! Let go and feel yourself fly! And when it’s vacation, or a holiday, or a day off, I can do this: Let go! My hair comes down and the arm for keeping life at a distance falls to my side. I hike or walk or curl up with a good book. I breathe deeply, taking in the sun, the breeze, the beauty everywhere around me. Idle conversation with friends and family, chit-chat with strangers waiting in line for this or that. I know I can: Let go!
More guidance: frilly, lacey, girly. Pictures of lace-trimmed blouses and cute shapely skirts and fit-n-flare dresses pass through my mind. Forget the functional and the utilitarian. Step out, step away. Let yourself enjoy what you wear. No more time for the practical! Time to embrace your feminine side with relish, with enjoyment, with love for self.
I thought a moment about what I had on: very faded black cotton yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt — probably the third time this week that ensemble had been my daily dress. Maybe this guidance was right! Time for me to say to the function and practical: Good bye — Let go!
And to the store I went, in search of the pretty, the lacey, the girly style I let go so long ago. My friend came along eager to help me find the perfect ensemble for my inner girly-girl eager to come out. Try this and this and this and this, she said, handing over a bundle none of which looked like me. That’s the point: Let go and try something different! You’ll be surprised! And I was! OMG! Ooooh, this one has a lacey panel right down the back. And this one is MY red. And this one with lovely lace all over. And the color of this one, I would have never thought! Oh! I can’t wait to wear this on my next date! But we aren’t done, my friend said. Time to take care of what goes under! Mmmm….where are the intimates? Thank heaven everything is on sale!
Back to yoga in my pretty new going-to-yoga outfit. I feel so good! So pretty! So light! I can: Let go! Sun shining, outside and inside. You look lit from within, said my friend!
Heart work today, said my yoga teacher. All poses to open your heart. And yoga began. And no more guidance, just fear! I could not enter the pose because my body just wouldn’t bend and the fear shook me and said: Are you crazy? You can’t let go! Remember what happens when you do? And all these images of pain and judgment and loss and power-sucking moments flashed through my head. I felt myself let go and sink into the awfulness I felt in each snapshot and frame. I felt me held back and me floating off, anxious, terrified that I would not find protection, relief, oblivion. Yes, that’s why I can’t let go. Because when I do, life falls apart, can literally become hell. And that’s not right. That’s not what I should ever do to myself. I can’t go back there. I can’t: Let go!
Oh, boy! More guidance: observe without becoming these thoughts. Allow yourself to: Let go! Do not take every picture on. Go home, shower, dress and whatever you do, stick with that new pretty stuff. That’s what I do because I’ve decided that going out is the thing to do. On go my jeans and the wonderful new under and over the luscious new top and my great new boots. I’m ready to get out and: Let go!
As I drive I think is it true: the girly downfall? I sense a connection between the new clothes and the fear of letting go. The common thread through all those life snapshots were about the loss of inner power because I was a girl and pretty one to boot. While some of those pictures were of being both deathly ill and ill in a way which unknowingly caused death, other images were of assault and of bullying and of domination where protection and safety were nowhere to be found. And when these are the events of your early life, who you are becomes suspect and finding safe harbor no matter the cost becomes paramount and life saving. And, duh! Not the time to: Let go!
Ah! This is where the habit of letting go of my inner power began! This is where I began to learn to be careful, to be vigilant, to defend and to shrink, letting go of the belief that I as a girly-girl cannot be all of me and be safe.
But these thoughts are now not me. I breathe in and: Let go! I feel the luscious cloth around me. As I breathe in again, I sense the core of me, my essential self, the me who is powerful, capable, wonderful. And now I see that the frills and lace are my way to claim all of me, every little bit of wonderful expression of me as entirely feminine. Safe harbor can be had and me be all girl! I get it — of limitation and fear: Let go!
A lot of my writing just comes in the moment. I feel an urge rise to put pen to paper. No outline. Not much forethought. Out the words come, all on their own. For me its always an act of mindfulness. A mindful moment.
Change of Dress is one of these mindful moments. Read more on mindfulness and my mindful moments.