I always try and look for the beauty in everything and everyone. I love looking people in the eye. I think it is the greatest compliment you can pay someone to acknowledge that you see them, and aren't just looking at them. Strangely, though, I notice that I do not accord the same respect to myself. It is with criticism and hardness that I view my own self, and rarely do I have the guts to look myself straight in the eyes. I suspect that this is not a phenomenom solely invented by me. I know that we are trained now to strive for an ideal, and less or more than that results in a harsh personal conversation.
I have been doing yoga this past week. Hot yoga. I find that yoga is the perfect balance for me to find peace in mind and body. But the yoga studio has mirrors. BIG mirrors. Big, shiny, recently cleaned to a spotless state with Windex mirrors. I am standing in tree pose, and as usual I choose to gaze ahead and pick a focal point on my tummy in the mirror. My large and rapidly growing with each second round and jiggly tummy. My eyes fill with horror as I create the amazing growing person right before my eyes. The horror! I look sneakily around at the other class participants to see if they have noticed that I am now twice the size that I started the class at. My concentration (already in peril) is now shot and I break the pose, stepping out. I glance at myself in the mirror, phew!! Temporarily restored to merely squishy, and jiggly, a state I can handle.
How ridiculous, that merely looking at one's tummy can cause someone to pick apart, criticize and blow out of proportion each little imperfection, each tiny flaw, instead of seeing what was good in the mirror.
We flow into my favourite pose - Dancer's Pose - and I set my gaze ahead. Somehow I was aligned to look directly into my own eyes, and I realized with fascination, that they are blue. And bright. And that I could look into them and see things. I can see the smile creases around my eyes (aka wrinkles). I can see 30 something (ha - I'm not spilling my real age) years of life and love reflected there. And when I widen my gaze, I see the best Dancers pose I have ever done. Chest lifted proudly, back leg kicking strongly back and reaching towards my head. Balance leg strong, firm, and rooted in to the mat. Superb! So for the rest of the class I made sure to look straight ahead and confront myself, just as I am. Sweaty. Imperfect. And freaking amazing. After all, this body puts up with me every day. The least I can do is love it.