A while back, my daughter friendship-evangelized me into the yoga world, and once I was converted to the wonders of yoga, I became an enthusiastic evangelist myself.
My favorite teacher is Adriene, of Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. She's cute, she's sweet, she wears normal clothes, and says non-stressy things like "Find what feels good," as opposed to the studio teacher who wanted me to stand on my head the first day I was there. "You don't trust your body," she accused me. I gave her my stink eye and came home to Adriene.
I always feel better, even after just a few minutes with Adriene's voice coaching me along to "Breathe lots of love in, breathe lots of love out."
My counseling clients know that I hard-core preach the benefits of yoga, research-proven to help alleviate even the toughest anxiety. (If you haven't read The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, or at least listened to his interview at the OnBeing podcast, you're missing out on the research behind the yoga revolution.)
For clients who aren't quite willing to take the plunge, it often becomes a joke between us to see how long into the session it takes me to suggest that yoga, might, maybe, possibly, be a helpful thing to just try this week? Just a sweet little, low-to-the-ground anxiety-cure practice? Just a little alternate nostril breathing, pretty please, because three minutes of this will make positive brain changes?
So. I love Adriene, and Friday morning, the Yoga with Adriene roadshow came through Dallas. It was a red-letter day, y'all.
It was wonderful to be in a room with hundreds of people breathing lots of love in and lots of love out. I had lots of good, teary moments, creating lots of emotional space inside myself.
My friend Shelly came along, and it was fun to practice with a friend, and then we stood in line for ages to talk to Adriene, and then we went for lunch in a super trendy industrial-concrete-floor-meets-cozy-upholstered-furniture sort of place.
It was a lovely, lovely day.
The only bump in the road was when I went to buy a t-shirt from the merch table.
And the t-shirt says "Self Love."
I don't know if this is just me, but somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that it's not a good thing to love myself.
It's good if God loves me.
It's nice if other people love me.
But if I love me?
So goes the story in my head, anyway.
I've learned to treat the story in my head with a certain amount of suspicion, because a lot of my head-stories are pure, vicious fiction. Horror genre stuff, some of them.
So I bought the shirt, because I wasn't willing to trust my head-story without further examination.
Plus, you only get to go to the Yoga With Adriene roadshow once in a lifetime, and after all the free hours of yoga on YouTube, I felt like I owed Adriene the price of a shirt. Or 100.
I wore the Self Love shirt all day Friday and all day Saturday.
I thought a lot about self love while wearing the shirt that says Self Love.
I thought about how powerful my love is.
I know that my love is a power for good in my husband's life.
I know that my love is a power for good in my childrens' lives.
I know that my love is a power for good in my friends' lives.
I know that my love is a power for good in my client's lives.
Eventually, I asked myself:
Why can't my love be a power for good in my own life, too?
You know what?
And it will.
I don't have to ration this love, divert it away from myself, starve myself of my own affection, or in any other way deprive myself of this power for good that is my love.
I'm discarding that old story about how self love is bad.
I'm going to let myself have as much love as I want.
As much love as I need.
I'm going to give myself just as much love as I give to all the other people I love.
And then let's just see what happens, shall we?
For all these great gifts of yoga, Lord, I am truly grateful.