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Not Even a Million Kisses

Photo by Lyn

Today I ran into a woman that I thought I should be. She was nice and thin, first of all, and pretty-- no, beautiful in a very simple and understated way. She was wearing a stylish black shawl, and jeans, and she walked gracefully, almost like she glided. She was calm and peaceful, pushing her impeccably clean baby stroller with her perfectly quiet, soothed baby. Hell, I was soothed by her. Then there was her second little one, who followed her in tow, just at the nod of her head. Everything about her felt quiet, and released, and grounded. It was a cold morning, but everything about her seemed warm. She exuded warmth.

So began my entire story about this perfect, unsuspecting, stranger, who appears here for you, just as her essence played itself over and over in my thoughts all day long--each run bringing familiar pangs of weariness, as something inside myself made sure to repeat the encounter, to make sure I knew the distance between us.

And this amounts to feelings of fatness, feelings of frumpiness--jeans too tight, my sporty zip-up vest feeling too over worn, even for our casual Oregon town; feelings of fatigue, tired of running to catch up to her, and all the other hers that have come before her.

So, all day I walked a little bit more weighed down in my body, with the story that if only I were more like this perfect stranger, I would feel more like myself--I would be seen more as I want to be seen--and more importantly, I would know love like I want to be loved.

Ugh, the wisdom. You know it is coming, even if tonight a little reluctantly: So, this woman, who I have projected an entire story upon in seconds, just by walking past her, unknowingly shows me a part of myself that needs healing. Although I don't quite feel like thanking the universe for this one, I feel thankful for the awareness, that this pain has a purpose--and as always, I look forward to the unraveling which will take me to new places, with new insights--even if this one feels tiresome, and mostly stale.

All the more reason to journey on.

And I do feel ready to go deeper. I begin to understand that I can't suppress parts of myself that I don't want to face, and expect to find wholeness.

I look for courage. I seem to want to take this one on all on my own--as if for my most difficult work, I really can't trust Source. As if Source is just there for the easy lessons...

This evening I went (okay, dragged myself) to yoga, and I couldn't avoid myself in the mirror. I looked and looked, and tried to see myself differently, but I could only see myself as incomplete, and unlovable, hidden behind a body that screams out of control, and looooooooserrrr! That says, I don't take pride in myself, that the exercise that I've been doing, so regularly, clearly isn't enough.

I noticed my eyes cast low avoiding any visual contact with any of the mostly perfectly sculpted others.

Then I close my eyes.

Please, I said, I am showing up here. I am showing up here at a place that I know feels good for my body and my spirit; a place that has brought me much peace. Please help me find it NOW! Okay now? What about now? Not now? How about now? Anyone there?

Through the entire practice my mind is critical. I feel an inner tube of blubber catching around my waist as I bend this way and that. I see a man over in the corner, who must be nice, but who would clearly never be able to actually see me through my fat.

Eyes closed again.

And then deep into the practice of yoga, I notice that there has been a space in my thoughts, a tiny, tiny moment of quiet. I let myself notice it, notice what it felt like, as my mind revs up again.

But somehow this tiny space has opened something. The hold of my mind over me has lessened. Little by little, I feel myself care less and less. I let my body relax, not so worried about holding it all in (just in case I can actually pretend that people might not notice my girth if I suck it in enough).

And the clarity: Not even a million tender kisses, by that imaginary someone, even if he could see me past my pack of extra pounds, will ever be enough to convince me of his love.

No, I will say. It isn't okay. You can't really love me like this. You can't expect me to believe that you actually could.

And what I will really be saying is this: I can't love me like this. And because I can't love me like this, I can't let you love me like this.

He may do all he can, even fly an airplane banner in the sky that says, I love you just the way you are!--but until I heal my mind, I will never be able to believe him or anyone--and until I turn my mind inside out, and finally begin to see that my beauty has nothing to do with what I look like, what conditioned ideas I have lurking, I will miss all the beauty along the way. Instead I will see lack, imperfection, and pain. I will miss the miracle, stuck in a beauty contest in my head that I never signed up for--that I don't even want to be in.

My mind needs healing. It is my mind that pushes love and acceptance away because of my perception of my imperfections. It is my mind that projects stories of grace on to those who look a certain way, and stories of pity on to those who suffer under their bulge, like me.

So, in this moment, I surrender and let spirit guide me into a new way of seeing myself in this world. I let it inch me closer in every moment to a new awareness, to a new place of focus.

I focus on how well my body got me to yoga tonight, how well it listened and followed the instructions. I focus on how the breath moved through me, and how my body flowed in and out of shapes, even with my extra padding in the way.

I focus on the relief I experienced from my thoughts as I let the energy disperse through my body and out through my exhales. I focus on the tiny bit of space that helped me to let go a little, and a little bit more; that let me move back into plough, with legs splayed, and gravity showing me no mercy as all that wasn't nailed down tight sagged down towards my chin. I focus on how I let it.

I focus on that feeling of peace that spoke of healing, and deep, unconditional, and everlasting love, that begins with my relationship with myself; that said nothing at all about me not being enough, or being worthy, or about me needing to be like her, or closer to the finish line.

Rather, it says it wants to show me this love, and asks nothing in return. It says it can't wait to show me all the splendid ways I will discover it, as I open to the possibility that it is mine for the taking, and how surprised I will be to find that, yes, it was there all along.


  1. whew. This is just vibrating and buzzing with life. It woke everything in me--even at such an early hour. Better than coffee even.

    You touched upon so much here. You accessed deep deep feelings inside yourself and brought them to life on the page in a very powerful and profound way.

    Seriously amazing.

  2. Julia's comments express it so perfectly.

    You are speaking for everyone out there in some way or another.

    Your openness and honesty about the suffering via the mind is helping heal the world. Thank you.

  3. Blessed Brooke. Thank you for this profoundly well-written, "nail on the head", and from the heart insight that connects.

  4. This elegant woman, who accrossed your path, is also in yourself, dear Brooke.If not, you wouldn't have payed attention to her.


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