Who are you, really?
Some days run in loops, endless laundry cycles. I feel that I may measure out my life in sippy cups. No matter the stage of life, sometimes it can drone on until you wonder who you are anymore. Sometimes you have to step away to be able to see deeper inside yourself. We can walk deep spiritless ruts into our identities: “single,” “straight,” “married,” “man,” “mother,” “lawyer,” writer,” “preacher.” Sometimes we can so become one identity or another that we lose our actual selves.
This is why I decided to go to yoga. That, and my body is threatening to crap out on me. I go to yoga because it’s one of the few places where I see my simple self, how it is God sees me, not solely the mother, the friend, or the wife. There’s everything beautiful about those other roles, but they aren’t my true identity. I believe ultimately that when God looks on me, He sees Christ. It’s hard to walk in Him, when you don’t believe you can.
My yoga story begins with my girlfriend Casee who recently got her certification as an instructor, and when it first began, she came over to hang out. We prayed together and got to talking. Before I knew it she had me in the floor helping me out with my crazy hips, and then she landed in the floor next to me. We were learning to align ourselves and practicing simply how to lie down. After a while I realized that she and I had been lying there face to face talking real up close like two little sisters with no sense of personal space. There’s a purity metaphor in the intimacy of close siblings that can’t be found anywhere else. We met years ago in Spanish class, and we always only ever speak in metaphor. We have a deep essence together of what potheads love in smokey circle time, only without the smoke or weed. Casee is one of my best friends. We’ll get grey-headed together; I’m sure of it.
Last week I got a little one-on-one session with her. We laid our mats together, and she led it just for me, for the way I’m shaped. She used all the yoga words and explained all the kundalini definitions. She spoke of divine union, we sisters there together understanding the whole thing through the lens of Christ. A better way to put it is that when we’re together, it’s all Christ. It’s always about Christ, everything, history, physics, and others’ pursuits to know divinity. Two years ago I wouldn’t have been comfortable with this, but now I’ve been wooed into God more and more by how I’ve watched Him woo her.
At the end of class there is always a time I usually just call the chill-out time, which is actually why anyone should ever want to go to yoga. You get to lie down and take deep meditative breaths, and somehow you get to call it exercise. This time with Casee, though, she led me in savasana, the death or corpse pose. After 40 minutes of what felt like a fairly rigorous balancing act with a sprinkling of cardio, I got to lie down under a blanket in the discipline of complete stillness. She had read scripture over me, since it was just the two of us, something from Isaiah 40. Referring back to it, she directed me to sink into the floor, release of tension and also a full awareness of my body and the energy within.
As I began to feel like one big immovable bag of sand, she quickly pointed a question straight to my heart, only to be answered there, and strangely the answer was very very clear. “What is the greatest desire of your heart?” And without hesitation I thought “to please Him. I want to please God.”
Before that makes me sound so mighty and sweet, know that my life long, I have begged of Him,”Please make me good.” It’s my most little girl prayer, and it’s the most desperate thought I have. So much of it is absolutely rooted in an intense near hopeless feeling that I’ll never make the cut. I’ll never be good enough. Often I’ll think I’ve shoved my beggary down deep, but when I had stopped to meditate that night and put my body aside, I realized just how close to the top of my mind is the thought that God barely puts up with me. I only ever stand before him because He merely tolerates me.
I’m not sure how, but then Casee led the thought, not even knowing my answer. She said to switch the desire, to tell myself the desire as if it is something true, and yes I understand how kookie this sounds. For me to turn the desire of my heart into a positive statement was for me to think to myself, “I am pleasing to God.” Over and over again, I repeated this phrase to myself as Casee spoke over my entire body going from part to part. My mouth is pleasing to God. My nose. My eyes are pleasing. My hands. My thighs are pleasing. My fingers. My feet.
I went over my body and saw myself completely and utterly belonging. In the laid out posture of death, tears brimming, I was in Him and of Him, and I knew beyond a shadow that I am pleasing to my God.
This is my real identity. All other roles should come under and flow out of this knowledge.
Call your hot shower a sanctuary if you must. Learn to take a walk around to the unvisited side of the house. Where do you give yourself the space to know who you really are?