In my life there have been way too many times that I have found myself in a situation wondering how did I get myself here? Some of these situations have been quite devastating over the years and yet, I knew that in the moment I had said yes but then why did I find myself later feeling like I shouldn’t have, not feeling comfortable, feeling like I wanted to run away from whatever it was that I previously had said yes to.
At the beginning of the year, I had put finding a Tango instructor into my goals for the year. So, after attending a beginners tantra puja when one of the men sent an email offering a free tango lesson, I thought that the universe had conspired to find me my instructor with little effort on my part. Instead, the universe had conspired to teach me a lesson about when I say yes.
The day of the lesson came, and I was ecstatic that a dance I loved so much and had not done in 15 years was coming back so quickly. At the end of the lesson, I was so excited and made an appointment for the next lesson. Additionally, I had found out that this person was a certified Lomi Lomi massage therapist. He offered to set up a massage after my next lesson.
Now, I have been throwing everything but the kitchen sink at a nerve impingement for the last 10 months including regular massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic so I thought sure, let’s give Lomi Lomi a try.
It dawned on me that day as I was driving home that he had not told me how I would pay him or how much for the next lesson or the massage for that matter. I remembered thinking at the time that I would just sort it out at the beginning of the next lesson. “How bad could it be?” I remember thinking.
When that lesson came, as I changed my shoes I asked about paying him. I explained that I only wanted to operate from “anyi” (the quechua term for perfect reciprocity) in anything that I do. He said he didn’t need the money and was happy to just have a dance partner. I asked about the massage, and he said that he derived pleasure from my pleasure and that I could massage him. He then swept me up into dancing and I remember thinking “wait, what?” But we were off to the dance.
I am going to spare you the blow-by-blow details but just suffice it to say that I am not a massage therapist, nor did I want to be in a situation with someone I barely knew that felt like contrived intimacy that was assumed to be “okay” because we had met in a tantra workshop.
I didn’t even feel like I had explicitly said “yes” to this, but my actions were saying yes, those well-worn patterns born out of hearing my grandmother’s words growing up.
“Don’t cause a problem, go along to get along, don’t be a cog in the wheel.”
I remember standing there with my hands rubbing a total stranger’s back thinking “how did I get here?” It was at that moment that I noticed something in my body, it was tight, in my solar plexus, it was forcing me into shallow breathing. It was such a pronounced feeling that I wondered if it was my body trying to tell me something.
I began to replay the times over the years when I have said yes and regretted it and if my memory was reliable (which it isn’t always) but my sense was that this feeling was always there in those moments.
After getting myself out of the current situation and now needing to find a new Tango instructor, I, more importantly, set about diving into this issue. When was my body telling me one thing and my mouth was instead playing a well-worn program that was instilled by someone else?
Could I determine that the language of my body was more reliable at protecting me from saying yes when I was really a no?
Could I make sure that when I did say yes, that that “yes” was really coming from me and not some programmed set of expectations that didn’t even feel like mine?
While my theoretical test period is still relatively small for the past month, I have been watching out for that feeling in my solar plexus and every time it feels tight, I am assuming that my body is trying to guide me away from something.
Just recently, I was reviewing my 2022 goals as I do each month and choosing my areas of focus for this month, as I did this, I noticed the things where the tightness showed up, if it did, I left these items off my focus list for this month assuming my body was indicating where my focus should be. If I was relaxed and it felt good as I thought about doing that particular item, I included it. When I finished, I had a short list of a few items that I am excited to focus on this month.
This last month has shown me that this feeling in my body is a reliable predictor of what is good for me and what isn’t. It is the language of my body speaking to me. It is not the language of an old program or even a set of old expectations, the seeds of which were planted by well-meaning parents or grandparents.
Using the language of my body, I can now know when I am a “yes” to something, this is much more reliable to ensure that I am not going to regret it or find myself in a situation that I don’t want to be in.
Questions to take with you
- Who is saying yes for you?
- Do you ever find yourself in a situation wondering how you got there?
- Do you understand the language of your body?
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