Ego, you go

walls and doors

Makka Masjid, Old City, Hyderabad

Dedicated to the AT in my life.  

That’s me standing in an ancient mosque against an old, tall wall that has weathered the test of time. The walls were so tall that I couldn’t fit all of it in the photograph. The photograph was taken to indicate the size of the door against the gargantuan size of the walls, and for a good measure, I threw myself in to make it more pronounced. I look tiny in the whole setup– infinitesimally tiny.

I am but a speck in the whole cosmos, aren’t I? Carl Sagan said, “You are worth about 3 dollars worth in chemicals,” and this quote took me back to a conversation with my guru. (He’d frown and convulse if he read the attribution of the term guru to him since he doesn’t attribute any importance to himself.) He is a sentient being.

To explain the subject of this post, I need to go back into an earlier conversation that he and I shared. We were discussing a matter that was of importance to the two of us. In sharing what I had to say, I also knew he would share his perspectives on what was under discussion. So even before he could say anything at all, I said to him, “Please don’t give me advice on this matter. It is what it is.” He, of course, said nothing in return and only offered to listen–a skill and an art that he’s perfected. I hope to someday inherit that gift from him.

On a later day, after the conversation had transpired, he asked me, “Where do you think that came from? When you said, “Don’t give me advice.” After some thought, I realized I hadn’t the faintest idea where that statement came from.

So he asked me to consider the possibility of the ego. A possibility that perhaps my reaction stemmed from nurturing an ego that wanted to guard itself against something. I sat down with the question (I seem to like sitting down with questions) and began measuring my ego. Is it the size of a mustard seed or the size of an egg or the size of a soccer ball or a size I can’t imagine? The answers began emerging (JK has an interesting read about asking questions and seeking answers) about the size of my ego.

I have situational ego; my ego alters. It could be small if a store manager doesn’t heed my call for help; medium-sized if my parents offend me in some fashion, and of cosmic proportions when I’m questioned about something.  Each time I react, the ego steps in, takes over and I become that much more distant from myself.

Yoda said,

“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm.”

In this case, size does matter. The bigger the ego, the further I stand from knowing myself.

Why?

Because the ego has a story all its own. It wants to tell everyone else ‘its’ story. You remain behind a scaffold watching yourself .

If I need to find my story, one that is authentic, then I need to step away from an ego-driven story. Here’s where for once the size does not matter. Whether big or small, in ridding myself of the ego, I rid myself of the need to be pretentious or phony. In accepting a spirit-driven goal, rather than an ego-driven one, I know I find life to be fulfilling.

Just in using “I,” I see the next set of conversations  brewing between AT and I. Who is this “I”? he will ask. My response, “I am coming, guru ji!”

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Body Positivity

Have you ever fought a battle?
Have you left feeling incredibly triumphant?
And while you were at it, did you remember to pick-up your trophy?
No?
Go back and pick it up!
Historically, the winning tribe always collected their trophies as the kingdom’s treasury, women, cattle, or the kingdom itself. War trophies were tangible representations of victory and valuable personal souvenirs.
Trophies were reminders of battles fought and won. Reminding warriors courage and grit, and what it took for an entire army of people to come together and overthrow a powerful regime. There is power in that collective recollection.
People want meaning in their lives—a sense of touching the means to something greater than one’s self—and a sense of relevance that comes not only from static trophies and accomplishments but from life itself as it occurs.
But what trophies do we pick up when we haven’t fought with pistols, cannon balls, firearms or flying saucers?
I suppose you know where I’m going with this…
Today’s post is about body positivity.
Say what?
What does body positivity have to do with collecting war trophies?
It does!
I’m writing today because I am fed-up, yes, fed-up with commercials that sell booty-call butts, washboard abs, and toned physiques. The ads obliterate the existence of real people with real lives, hopes, and aspirations.
Weight loss as a buzzword rings empty. The only thing one ends up losing is the reality of who we are.
Yes, I am a big proponent of wellness, but one that is mindful. Here is my body a good 2.5 years before I hit 40.
image2
It requires a tremendous amount of work.
I gained weight intentionally. I sustained it during my pregnancy.
I sustained it while I nurtured my baby. Two years in all. I looked and felt different because I wanted to. Then began the work.
Mind and body included. Proof of the pudding is right here for you to see.
I love it for all that it is. I love the scars and marks. These are my trophies—of having lived a life. Period.
Yes. Damn right!
There is not a moment of shame for all the scars I carry. It is a reminder of everything that was, is and yet to come. When I look at my son, I am reminded of my personal growth towards motherhood, the bond that my husband and I nourish and have sustained through the years, and the blissful moments of unbridled joy and learning that life continuously gives me.
Yes, a toned physique is desirable for the right reasons. But does it have to come at the cost of making you feel you aren’t good enough until you do?
I love working out for the benefits it offers overall. I don’t workout because I aspire to look like someone other than me. I exercise because I want to be the best I can be.
It should always be about loving the body you are in, looking in the mirror and embracing the naked truth about who you are and loving it. I believe wellness should always be about taking-on those hidden fears headlong.
Wellness is a complete circle–mind and body.
Wellness isn’t about physical toughness. It isn’t just about lifting weights heavier than you. Wellness is also about mental toughness to lift everything that comes your way, weights included.
I am compelled to write this post today because a lot of young people aspire for bodies outside of themselves. The naked truth all along is to just love the one you are in.
Here is where body positivity comes in.
It isn’t about weight loss or fat loss. It isn’t about attaining a toned physique. Kaila Quins says, “Fat loss goals are about intentionally changing your body weight (in the context of weight loss).”
Labeling a fat loss program as “body positive” doesn’t make it one. It simply makes it a weight loss plan. If it is called that, then we are only reinforcing stereotypical notions of what a woman or a man’s body should aspire for.
But it also doesn’t mean not exercising or not eating right.
Body positivity is an acceptance of your body the way it is and then working towards getting it to the best place it can get. It is also about doing it in your own time and in your own space. One that is safe, welcoming and supportive.
Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Fight your battles, shred those myths and bring your trophies back.