Written by: Gracie, Facebook manager and contributing writer at Unpolished Journey
I wish I could blindfold the world. I wish for just one day, I could speak to your soul and not your concealer. I want to see your spirit, not your eyebrow pencil. I want to connect with the light inside you not the lip color painted on your mouth.
I promise I am not going to write an anti-makeup essay disguised as a spirituality blog post. I simply want to use makeup as just one example of the many ways I often escape my spiritual journey. It’s not the makeup’s fault, though. It’s not the fault of the fashion or the new outfit. It’s not the fault of the six pack or the thigh gap. The fault is in the entire focus on the body as a show piece instead of a suitcase. I see the body as a suitcase for the soul. The body is a vessel not vouge.
I have been struggling a lot lately with how my body looks in recovery. These recent few years in recovery have been the longest I have existed in an adult woman’s body and let me tell you, it does not feel like I have arrived. I do not wake up and feel flawless regardless of how many times I blast Beyonce as my alarm. I do not look for every chance I can to rock my bikini and I still find myself flipping through filter after filter to fix my figure and my self-esteem. I have been feeling this lack of body confidence more and more recently and I began to feel that my worries, fears, and criticisms were drowning out any strength and wisdom that might come from my soul.
After a particularly hard week last week, everything came to a halt on last wednesday night. I was at my very last class of yoga teacher training. The 200 hour teacher training graduation took place on Wednesday night and I walked into the yoga studio of wall to wall mirrors. I wanted to hide and I wanted to crawl out of my body at the same time and preferably both. Our instructors informed all of the newly certified teachers to lay down our mats and settle into child’s pose. In child’s pose, the instructors asked each student to close their eyes and feel around the top of our mats for a surprise. I wiggled my fingers up to the top of my mat and felt a small piece of cloth that I began to realize was a thick, stretchy headband. The instructors told us to pull the headbands down over our eyes and that they were going to lead us through an hour long, blindfolded practice. I think I was the only one in the room who was over the moon with elation. I gave my Higher Power a quick mental high five and praised the universe for disposing of the mirrors for at least an hour.
I was unprepared for the 60 minute journey I was about to take.
When I couldn’t see, I had to feel.
I felt my shaky legs struggle for balance. I felt my body dance with the soft, flowing music. I felt my fingerpads sink into my mat. I felt my chest swell and empty with my deep inhales and exhales.
And then, I felt my spirit begin to talk to me.
I felt all of the fears that had been masquerading as dissatisfaction with my body. I felt the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of being alone, the fear of not being enough. I felt the hurt of heartbreak, the hurt of being used, the hurt of taking the road less traveled, the hurt of having to ask for help. I felt the pain my eyes had been convincing me was caused by the circumference of my thighs and the roundness of my face.
When I was blindfolded I was forced to listen to my soul. My soul reminded me that I am a light. My soul reminded me that I am joy. My soul reminded me that I am unique. My soul reminded me that I am worthy and deserving. My soul reminded me that I am an overcomer. It is funny to me that the instructors had us begin the class in child’s pose, because I often look at pictures of my younger self and instantly see my soul. I see that untamed, mischievous grin. I see those genuine, unconditionally affectionate eyes. I see what my eyes used to see – I see my soul.
Some days I wish I could untrain my eyes to see all of the things they see now. I wish I could travel back in time to tell little Gracie to close her eyes before she starts to compare, despair and shrink. I wish I could tell little Gracie to put on a blindfold and just TAKE UP SPACE. Take up SO much space, because little Gracie, your soul is much too expansive to ever fit into any physical body.
Spirituality is truly my saving Grace. Spirituality is the unconditional love that guides and gives me strength to live to my fullest potential, my fullest purpose, my most meaningful life. My connection to my higher power and the energy of all of the souls around me is what makes my life worth living and it is therefore my reason for recovery.