Last week I was in class with Ellen Kaye and she was talking about how practicing within community, being within community provides one with the opportunity to be held accountable for things that in solitude might not occur. Her point was clearly made as she brought us into Utkatasana (chair pose), offered a series of refinement cues that brought us deeper into a more muscularly refined version of the pose, and then asked how many of us would still be in chair pose if we were practicing at home.
The answer: Not too many of us.
Although I trusted in the argument, and felt she’d illustrated her point beautifully, I couldn’t help but notice a bit of internal resistance. It wasn’t until after leaving the class that I began to realize that my resistance was directed at the unexpressed assumptions that were wrapped up in this ask for public accountability.
The first assumption was that in order to be held accountable by one’s community, one must be willing to be seen by one’s community. While many of us find this an easy enough task to complete as one is succeeding in one’s strivings, this task of being fully seen becomes more challenging as one struggles or feels incapable of completing one’s pursuits (i.e. failing).
This awareness – i.e. that one must be willing to be fully seen to be held accountable by one’s community – inherently reveled another underlying truth. That is, in order to be held or even seen by one’s community, one must have a certain level of trust that who one is – on an intrinsic, basic level – is a worthy, lovable, and likable person. One who can be included within a particular environment.
To have this type of trust, this type of faith, in one’s inner courage requires that one have already answered the unasked, but ever present question of “Am I enough?” For whether we are willing to admit or acknowledge it, this question, for many of us, influences our every thought, action, word, or deed. “Am I enough? Can you still love me like this? Are my flaws too much? Are my weaknesses too great?” On one level or another, these questions are constantly being asked by some part of our egos, whose main job is to make sure that we are liked, loved, and can feel supported in our strivings.
The question I have for you, the question I am working to ask myself, is can I muster the courage to show up fully in community and be accountable for holding with care all the things I like about myself as carefully and as tenderly as I hold the things I do not like about myself? Can I be fully seen, by myself and others, in this moment of time – without the perceived need to do or say something different? Can I trust that who I am, and who I am not, is good enough – worthy enough – to be loved just as she is? That what I have to offer, or not, is perfect for this moment? Can I give myself permission to love me and what is, right now, regardless of whatever else is going on?
Before continuing on your day, I would like to invite you to set an intention for yourself of where you can begin to take more accountability for loving yourself more fully. After all, if we can’t love ourselves as the perfectly imperfect beings that we are, how do we expect to extend that love to others?