Beating Fear with a Stick, Mindwebs, Self Image, Things I Have Lost Along The Way

A Parable

October 8, 2011

On the way back from Santa Fe yesterday I sat on the plane looking through my computer at some old notes. Some from 10 years ago, and frankly, I didn’t recognize the person who had written the words on my screen. In some dark recess of my soul, sure. Some dusty region of my being, yes maybe. In some moldy corner, the remnants of that girl still exist, but holy sh#t, am I glad she is gone! I am glad she no longer owns the lips that touch my coffee cup every morning. I am glad her brain was replaced by the one I am now in possession of.

I was reminded of the lyrics to Amazing Grace:

I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Truthfully, I was a little sickened as I read some of my old stuff. I got out my little compact mirror from my bag to make sure my face was still there.

It was.

I felt an ache for the girl whose words I was reading. How could that have been me? Me, who is a successful yoga teacher and loves herself ( most days.) Surely this is some kind of mistake and I picked up someone else’s computer. Horrified, I put the stolen computer back in my bag.

I took it back out of my bag. It is indeed mine. I own it. I am the sole owner of those crappy insecure negative journal entries. My name is Jennifer and I am a recovered negativaholic. I am a recovered jerk junkie. I am a recovered low self esteem user. I am a recovered I-think-I’m-fat-aholic as well as exercisaholic.

How did I have time to be so many things? I must have been so busy.

In fact, I wasn’t.

How could I have been busy with all my mental energy being taken up on what was wrong with me?

I bring it up now as a parable.

Against all odds, I came out on the other side. I killed the witch and I am living happily in my home with my seven little men. Ok, that’s a fairy tale, but you get the point.

And, they may not be seven little men, but I did marry one amazing man.

This parable has a moral as most parables do. (At least that’s what Wikipedia told me as I was confused between parable and fable. I have no talking animals so I suppose I am a parable.)

A parable is a short tale that illustrates universal truth, one of the simplest of narratives. It sketches a setting, describes an action, and shows the results. It often involves a character facing a moral dilemma, or making a questionable decision and then suffering the consequences. Though the meaning of a parable is often not explicitly stated, the meaning is not usually intended be hidden or secret but on the contrary quite straightforward and obvious.

The universal truth: everything I was telling myself I firmly believed ( I was fat, not good enough etc) and yet wasn’t the truth at all.

In fact: it was a big fat lie.

The setting: my mind.

The action I took after many years of starving myself and being depressed and dating someone who didn’t appreciate me was: I changed my thoughts.

It took time. It took a lot of time, some yoga and a great man. It took also: finding my bliss. It took learning how to manifest what I want into my life without being attached to the results.

The meaning of this parable is obvious: You get to decide who you want to be. You get to believe it. Or not.

For a long time I was looking to be saved. I wanted security. I wanted nothing to change and no one to leave. Sigh. I wanted what stays.

Bigger sigh.

I used to feel like I was always losing and gaining weight, that I was a constant up and down, a monster, that I was literally unrecognizable from the day before (that bitchy and unreliable “Body Dysmorphia“.) I was obsessed with the idea that I was always changing. I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to stay the same and never ever change. I wanted to be safe.


So I look back at the old me without being too naive in realizing that it has been the same me all along. I learned whatever lessons I had to learn and am still learning, sometimes over and over again. If I let myself, I could easily slip into her skin. My skin.

But I ask you, why on earth would I want to? She may be ten or fifteen years younger but I am wiser and kinder. I now love myself deeply. Like my beloved wine, I have gotten better with age.

Guys, it’s like this. Sometimes you can see everything at once. Your whole future mapped out, veins raised and ready. This is the geometry of your life: blue, irreversible, ingrained. It’s like how your eyes adjust to things, how you can see part of the moon when it isn’t really there. It’s like that with your mind. Adjust to the belief that you are f#*king awesome. See everything at once. All your glory.

The moon’s fullness still faintly visible, a whisper in the ear of the hard arc that hangs like it’s missing something, a part of itself. Waiting out it’s own cycles.

Except you’re not missing anything of yourself, nor were you ever.

Go grab a camera and take a picture of your face.

Frame the photo.

Make a note to self that says: ” Dear Self, Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones.”

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  • Reply Flying Yogini October 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    You have no idea how much this speaks to me this week. After having a horrid photo shoot (despite a nice photog) and then a wonderful one I am left wondering why the first rocked my world so. Stuff came up in that shoot that i forgot was there.. just like those words on your computer. I wonder who posed in the first shoot and what she was doing in my body, why her issues were in my head/heart and how they got there.

    i am glad to know these discoveries are not mine alone. thanks for this.

    • Reply ManifestYogaJen October 8, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and being honest in your journey as well. Sisters!

  • Reply Allyn Cioban October 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Jen, how did yo possibly find these words, thoughts, experiences from out of MY head/life? Yes, you continue to encourage me to share this part of me…to embrace the transformation I’ve had as well. Your beautiful willingness to express your AUTHENTIC self helps me and so many others…all of us who have struggled with learning how to like ourselves, how to own our beauty inside and out. Thank you for being such an inspiration, so brave, so perfectly YOU!

    Namaste, sister~

  • Reply barbarapotter October 10, 2011 at 7:59 am

    You have no idea how I love that your had the courage to change your thoughts. Your mama:)

  • Reply arielle dudley October 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Jen- just read this and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I just barely opened some old journals on Sunday after waking up feeling entirely too anxious and panic stricken for a Sunday. I was searching for some “universal truth” in my old writings but like you I was pretty disturbed at the words bleeding on the pages. Nothing was positive. At first I felt worse and then I realized how lucky and happy I was at how far I had come since I wrote those things. I also have to remind myself that writing is the greatest form of catharsis and “letting go” for me. I’d like to think that I have let go of those negative thoughts and if I keep seeing patterns it’s obviously a sign! Thank you for helping to put self image in a new perspective. For putting perceptions of life in a new perspective. I love your comparison to the geometry of life: blue, irreversible, ingrained. And I love the idea of adjusting to better beliefs. Thank you! XOXO

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