Oh, how we disillusion ourselves. We all do it.
“I’m okay” is a phrase we almost robotically recite from a very young age. Or, there’s the fairly recent and my all time favorite (actually, I find it loathsome down to my very core)— “It’s all good.”
We tell ourselves certain realities are normal.
It’s normal until you find yourself trembling and sweaty, pulled over on the side of a highway, hyperventilating with tunnel vision. Your peripheral vision is gone and all you can see is what is right in front of you. Honesty has infiltrated your body, blinding you from everything else except what is right in front of you.
The mind lies. It’s a liar, the worst kind of liar.
The mind tells the kind of lies that beautify even the ugliest scenes—a bloody body that lay on the beach unable to move. The mind is a liar.
I was the victim of a murder attempt in the early ’90s. A vicious fight that I told myself was indicative of the passion that existed between us. Passion is good, right? We all crave that rapid heartbeat and breathless feeling. He loved me. He was good to me. He had a history of hurting the women that he loved.
I was different. Lie! I was set apart from his past. Lie! He would never and could never hurt me. Lie!
The car he was driving, with me as the passenger, careened off of a bridge and doctors told me that I might be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life; my mind still lied to me: “He lost control because he loves me so much.”
After spinal fusion surgery and being bound to a thick back brace for six months, I told myself I was strong.
“I’m fine. It’s over. I’ll emerge stronger than ever now. I’ll be okay. I’m over it. I found someone new. Now, I know what love is.” All lies.
Yes, the mind is a liar, but our bodies, our bodies… they are the truth tellers. Our bodies never lie.
So, here I am on the side of the road, trembling, sweaty, heart racing with tunnel vision. My body has run out of lies; it’s made me blind, except for what is right before me. Truth.
We cannot ignore what is right in front of us for very long. We can place it in our peripheral vision, but the lies are there. Waiting.
Our bodies know it. That feeling in our gut tells us, even a subtle rumbling says, “You’re a liar.”
That is what anxiety does. My body called me out on my lies. My body called me to present. I couldn’t see anything but what was right in front of me. I was unable to catch my breath; the rhythm of my heart would no longer cooperate with the lies of my mind.
My body forced me to step into truth. I had to live in reality. At the behest of my body, I had to atone for my lies. That is where my deepest fear was revealed to me.
What would shift if I lived in my own darkness, rolled around and comforted myself with it? Faced it? Accepted its truth?
I am marked now. I am scarred. It’s on my face, above my right eye, forever a reminder to see my pain. I need to see my shadows. Life has happened to me and those loose wires may never quite reconnect. I may always seek safety in other people. What if this reality makes me unlovable? There it was, my deepest fear, right before me on the side of the road.
I knew that I had to fight like hell to uncover my own sense of safety, but first the lies must stop.
I stopped trying to be “okay.” It wasn’t “all good.” I allowed myself to fall apart. I let it in the darkness; the shadows enveloped me everywhere I went. I learned to let them out to play. I broke down. It took years to put the pieces of my lies back together and recreate a puzzle of truth, a puzzle where the image may always be askew, with something out of line.
Physical manifestations of pain will always bring us back to truth. We innately want to live in truth. Our true power lies in the truth of ourselves. Only when we accept truth, and accept the darkness inside of us, can we live in a state of grace. What we resist persists. There is no strength in lies. It takes time to face ourselves. Inner awareness is ever present and at the core of our spiritual growth.
Our emotions drive our behavior. We build these destructive habits because we may hold the belief that if we allow our flaws, our weak spots with holes into the light of truth for all to see, we will be unlovable or worse, isolated in our pain. We may feel set apart from the normal, healthy crowd. It is ingrained in us from a very young age that we will be shunned if we are different or broken somehow. We all share an invisible pain, pain that we hide deep in the recesses of our hearts. Our stories are all different, but we all have a story to tell.
Our bodies live in truth. Everything that we need is available to us when we step into the light.
“Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn…”
~ Florence and The Machine
Nicole is a mother of two, a NYC public school teacher, writer, and aspiring yogi. When Nicole was 18, she broke her back in two places. Doctors couldn’t be certain she would ever walk again. After a successful surgery and some difficult years, Nicole went on to lead a full life. She is a certified Level II Reiki practitioner and actively pursues mind-body development. Her gratitude for the second chance she has been given, as well as, her knowledge of the power in mind-body connection is something she’s mindful of everyday. Nicole consistently practices Bikram yoga and has never felt better. Her articles have appeared in MindBodyGreen and she writes the Peace, Love & Practice blog on DoYouYoga.com.
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- Assistant Ed: Karla Rodas
- Ed: Brianna Bemel