Browsing Tag

touch

healing, love

What Love Does.

December 11, 2012

Have you ever felt it? That Don’t leave me pang right square in your chest, in that place you didn’t know existed until you did?

In yoga class, someone is pressing your shoulders down in savasana (final resting pose) or rubbing your back as you are in child’s pose, and you never want them to leave, as if a possibility existed in some corner of the world where you two could exist like that: as giver and receiver in some dark space? How it almost feels like the first time you have ever been touched in your whole life. You feel that safe.

That wide open.

This is why most of us love being touched in yoga, especially during passive poses, when we are nothing but a receiver, a net for love. When else do we let our guards down that much? I know I don’t.

Yesterday I got a massage as treated to me by my friend Katie for my upcoming birthday tomorrow. This massage was much needed because apparently a train had been running through my head and had crashed behind my eyes, leaving me a broken heap of steel and muscle. I had subbed out my 4 pm yoga class and couldn’t leave the dark of my room until the massage appointment.

There’s a point early on in a massage where I start to obsess about when it is going to end. As early as two minutes into it. This won’t last long enough. Same when someone touches me in a yoga class, my own shoulders pinned down like some kind of stuck thing and I think I know you are going to leave. You are going to get up and go and my shoulders are going to fly back up and I might even fly away with nothing holding me in place any longer. 

Last night, about three minutes into my massage, I felt myself drifting and then catching myself right on the cliff of pleasure wondering how much time was left. Push me off the cliff, dammit! 

How can I worry about when something is going to end when it is barely just beginning?

In Bali at one point very early in our trip, I looked around at the pool and our house in Ubud with all the little flowers on the towels and the fried cassava in bowls by our feet and I’d said I am sure going to miss this place. My husband, as if I was insane: We haven’t even left yet! It was as if it was the first time I’d noticed that fact. Oh, we haven’t left yet, have we? We are still here. We are still safe. So I’d eaten a “cassava chip” which was oddly like a “potato chip” and sat back to enjoy the way it felt, the salt and the greasy crunch and the way it made me thirsty and I wondered if everyone worried that there wasn’t enough.

Am I terrified of being comfortable? Because it won’t last?

Nothing lasts. Not forever anyway. When a teacher comes over to me and that end of a yoga class to press down on my shoulders or rub my head I always ask can you stay there? sometimes out loud, sometimes not.

That is the crux of it all, isn’t it? Can you stay there? can you not go? Can you make me feel safe?

I want to make people feel that way and I think that I do, at least in some small way, that blanket of limbs and touch and non-judgement and fireplaces and glasses of wine and unparalleled listening skills and here I have you. I am not going anywhere.

I used to think I wanted things to last forever.

I remember my first boyfriend Danny, my first serious love and one of my only serious loves, and how he would call me from his dorm room in Boston and how I would lie in my bunk bed at NYU and ask him to tell me that we would last forever. He wouldn’t. A smart move. And we didn’t.

After four years, he broke up with me one February like someone with no balls! How dare you do this over the telephone after so many years? So naturally I got on the Peter Pan bus, a teary eyed skinny and freezing mess, schlepping all the way to Boston in the snow so he could break up with me to my face. And who am I kidding? I am sure a part of me (most of me) wanted to beg him not to break up with and to tell me that he’d made a mistake. I arrived and knocked on all his friends’ doors until I found him. They’d all had that part sympathy and part I am so glad I am not that guy look.

I spent the weekend in his apartment in Boston curled in a ball and sobbing and when he put my spaghetti limp body on the bus back to New York City, he hugged me for 3 solid minutes, (again I had hope, Maybe he won’t let go.) He did let go and that was the last time I saw him for years. And that was that. We didn’t last forever and I am glad he refused to give me that promise, even as a lie,  because I would’ve thrown it in the river with him and then jumped in after it.

I do want to be touched. (Don’t we all?) But more than that, it’s what is behind the touch, what’s under the fingers and the skin. How the touch makes me feel, and even though I know it won’t last forever, what it will, even is just for that moment, connect me to the world and hold me in place.

What’s behind everything is love. Whether it is a fear of it, a desire for it, a Fuck you I don’t believe in love or a giving away of it.

Some form of love is what beats our hearts and what carries us through those broken moments in the snow of Boston. Its what we all want and why when someone puts their hand on that spot on our chest or forehead (how do they always know the exact spot I need to be touched?) that we want to put our own hands on top of theirs and whisper in some secret language of the hands, Yes, this feels right. Yes, you can stay. Yes, I love you too.

And then your eyes open and the lights are back and you put on your boots or your sandals, depending on the weather, and your leave the yoga class. And you may get off that bus in NYC after a miserable 8 hour ride in the snow from Boston and you may forget that vow to love and how good it felt but it is there and it will always be there.

If you let it exist as if it belongs to you. As if you deserve it.

You do.

love

courage, Eating Disorders/Healing, healing

This Is What Courage Looks Like.

October 25, 2012

Here is Part 2 by my Anonymous Guest Poster. This person is someone I met through my yoga classes and whom I am close to. She is working on opening up. I am very very proud of her. Read Part 1 called “What Happens When You Admit Out Loud That You Are Scared” here. The responses/comments are so inspiring it brought me to tears. They will blow you away. Just watch what happens when you admit you are scared, when you say you need help. Just watch! It’s downright amazing and magical.

Why are some imperfections in our lives so easy to share with others, whereas others are buried so deeply that we almost forget they are a part of us?

I have a serious candy addiction.

I love getting my hair blown out. So much that it’s probably also an addiction.

I will hashtag anything. My friends staged a #HashtagIntervention this summer.

I am very particular. I order food like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.

I am not naturally inclined towards yoga; my body just does NOT want to do most of those poses.

These are all quirks of my personality that any of my friends can attest to; even those who follow me on Twitter know them. I’ve always thought of myself as an open book because I share funny, self-deprecating anecdotes about my life–sometimes with virtual strangers.

But what about the things I have never shared with anyone?

I never feel “normal”.

Sometimes when I’m adjusted in a yoga pose, it’s the only time someone has touched me all day. It can reduce me to tears.

I think the way I treated my sister when we were younger has contributed to her struggles, and could impact our relationship permanently. I worry we will never get past our past.

I am still haunted by a breach of trust that happened 15 years ago. It devastated me, and it affects my ability to trust everyone.

Every now and then I hibernate–lock the door, turn off my phone, and spend 2 days completely by myself at home. When friends ask about my weekend, I give vague answers so they don’t know that I did nothing, saw no one.

I struggle every single day with what I eat. It’s usually too much or too little based on my perception of my weight or my emotional state that day. It’s consuming, exhausting and often very isolating. It’s disordered.

I have an eating disorder.

As I work towards living with a more open heart, it feels crucial that I finally say these things out loud–to myself and to other people. And to own them by putting my name to them. These pieces that aren’t pretty, but are a part of me.

And it’s time I start dealing with them.

**Note from Jen. The author has told me to tell you her name. Katie. It’s Katie. Now, that’s courage. That was a very big deal for her. No last name yet, but I applaud her! We welcome your comments at the bottom. Please let Katie know that she is not alone! And feel free to share the things that you want to get off your chest. With nothing but love xojen

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