Comfortable in My Own Skin.

The best gift sobriety has given me is the ability to be ME. Whatever that is at the moment. And it is ALWAYS changing as I live, learn and grow. A daily process. A few weeks ago, I was looking at my “professional” bio online and it made me laugh so hard. I’ll spare you the complete bio, but the sentence “Shannon started her yoga journey in 2013 and instantly fell in love with the way it nurtured her body, mind and spirit” really jumped out at me. Anyone who knows anything about me KNOWS that I did NOT instantly fall in love with yoga. I hated it so much. Every time I got on my mat I cried. I had no idea why and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. In the beginning, there were often times when I stayed in child’s pose for the entire class. Because yoga sucked so bad. I was sure everyone thought I was a freak as much as I thought that about myself. I hated yoga for a long time. The only reason I kept going back was because it was a wholesome way to spend an hour that kept me from drinking and because I had that therapist who was sure it would be good for me. Slowly I began to come around and hate yoga less and less. “Instantly fell in love with yoga” is just not true. I am sure I thought that’s what the world wanted to hear and who I thought I was supposed to be. I’ll eventually get around to changing that part. I doubt I’ll edit the bio to say that I fucking hated yoga, but you never know.

I am getting quite comfortable in my skin as of late and it’s something that is still new to me. I’m not always there, but it feels amazing when I am. Opening Rebel Soul Yoga and creating a space that is exactly what I need for my own healing has been a HUGE part of that process. I am constantly amazed by the amount of people who show up on their own journeys with their hearts open every day. People who are getting exactly what they need and pouring their love into the place. That space is FULL of love and healing energy for sure. I am comfortable being myself in that space. I don’t worry if people like me. It’s OK if they don’t. I am not for everyone. I get to show up, every day and be exactly who I am. Awkward. Hilarious. Overly excited about things. Unfiltered. Weird. Whatever.  It’s all good because it’s all ME.

This little blog right here has quite possibly been the BIGGEST catalyst in making me comfortable in my skin. I started writing here as a way to share my recovery journey. That recovery journey has turned into a journey of healing and to wholeness. I had no idea how much my words would touch people and how many people would relate to me. I live in a small town and it seems that everyone knows me. It always blows my mind when someone stops and introduces themselves to me and tells me they read everything I write. I probably shouldn’t be surprised since I do share everything on social media, but I still am. And every time it happens, it feels as if I am standing in front of said stranger completely naked and completely vulnerable. Because this person knows so much about me. WOW. It’s very humbling and overwhelming. I struggle for a moment and then I find my breath. I say thank you because I appreciate every single person who takes the time to read my words. I appreciate every single person who goes out of their way to tell me how they can relate to my words or how my words have helped them in some way. Being vulnerable is a beautiful thing.  I am learning to embrace vulnerability and allow it to strengthen me. Blogging has helped me to find my voice in so many ways.

Recently I have found something else that is helping me find my voice. Kirtan! I was first introduced to this during my yoga teacher training and just like everything that is new to me, I resisted it and thought it was weird. Today I am in love with this beautiful form of Bhakti Yoga. Chanting. Singing. Praying. It’s absolutely beautiful and I have turned into the girl who rides around in her car singing all the sacred songs. Loudly.  It fills my soul.  (I doubt the days of gangster rap are completely behind me.)  Sunday morning I went to the beach for my morning meditation practice. I sat in silence for 30 minutes. I had my blue tooth speaker with me and thought it would be nice to sing a little while I was there. So I did. People walked by while I sat on the beach singing in Sanskrit swaying and moving to the music. I might have looked (and sounded) weird to the people on the beach, but I honestly did not care. Nobody stopped to talk to me, which I absolutely loved. I might have discovered the best way ever to keep the creepers away AND I enjoyed every minute of my time. Completely comfortable in my skin and also completely aware that it’s still a very new way for me to feel. It felt like joy. It felt like freedom. One day, maybe I’ll be there all the time. For now, I’ll take the moments as they come with a heart full of gratitude. Little by little, all of the pieces are falling into place. And by “falling into place” I really mean coming together for me because I’ve been working my ass off, on myself, for myself.

Heal the Child

The moment when you realize you named your business after your inner 16 year old rebel girl. Yeah. That moment happened for me a few months ago.  I have always been aware that there was a part of me that was eager to jump out in front and handle things for me. An angry girl that is reactive and maybe more than slightly pissed. A Rebel Soul. She needs love. Now I know WHY she is there. I am going to take this back a bit. In the last blog I mentioned how I don’t like to talk about the REAL things with my therapist. I prefer to share my joy and happiness. You can read it here.  After I wrote that, I knew I had things that I needed to share. I began having terrible dreams, all involving some kind of trauma to my throat. A clear indication that I needed to communicate, but either couldn’t or wouldn’t. I emailed that blog to my therapist. Wouldn’t you know that the next time I walked in she wasn’t so quick to let me breeze through. Which is great, because I needed that push. Almost as soon as our session started, she asked me to close my eyes and then focus on my breath as I entered a meditative state. She took me through a guided meditation where we invited my own inner children into a conference room. I invited them all to sit at a table with me. It seemed weird and I felt vulnerable, but I kept an open mind and went with it. A few little Shannons came into the room and just wanted to play. They didn’t want to talk and they were genuinely happy and playful little children. Then an older child came into the room. A 12 year old me. She stood near the wall, barely inside the room. She didn’t want to be there. She was fearful and didn’t want to come to the table. My therapist asked if there was someone I could invite in that would make the little girl more comfortable. This is where shit got real. I wasn’t prepared for any of this. Little 12 year old me asked an older version to come join us. She was about 16. A rebel girl who came right in and sat down at the table. She was pissed and didn’t want to be there. She didn’t want to talk to the 12 year old and she didn’t feel like she should even have to be there. If you have never done any inner child healing work, this is probably extremely weird for you. I get it. I am doing the work and it was weird for me too. In the space of that conference room, where I was supposed to be the adult talking to those children, I got pulled into the role of 12 year old me. It sucked so bad. She was in a lot of pain. A lot of things happened to her that should never happen to a child. Sitting on that couch that day EVERY BIT of it came back and my entire body hurt. Physically. Some memories came up and came pouring out of me. Things that I have never said out loud or written about. It was the most uncomfortable experience I have had on that couch.   But, we made it through. Over the next few days, I began to make sense of it all. My process is slow, but oh so thorough. That 12 year old me wanted the older child in the room because she is her voice and her protector. That rebel girl who will tell anyone to fuck right on off is the voice that the younger girl didn’t have. She can say no to anyone at anytime. The rebel girl is pissed that she even has to be there because she thinks none of this should have ever happened to the younger girl in the first place. She’s absolutely right, but here we are anyway. WOW. Mind Blown. Really. I was 12 years old when I started getting high. I smoked pot, huffed cleaning products and took any pill I could get my hands on. Escaping my reality. I completely ignored that little girl. I pushed her to the side and pushed through. My heart hurts for her. She needs love and compassion. She feels very broken and unlovable. She is terrified of everything, but my God is she tough. Every unhealthy coping mechanism she ever picked up was a survival tool and not only did she survive, she is thriving today. It took her a long time, but she grew up and she is figuring all of this out. She is not unlovable and she is not broken. She has a voice now. She is healing. My therapist and I talked about how I can work with these “inner children” and get to know their wants and needs. She believes that once I connect to them and learn how to nurture them and meet their needs, that feeling of “something is missing” will start to dissolve and I will feel whole. I spent a lot of time disconnecting from and ignoring these parts.  Reconnecting takes time. I’m getting there. It’s a process like everything else. I am loving myself through the process because that’s what ALL the parts of me need.