Yesterday I was lying on my yoga mat at the end of very sweaty, difficult but oh-so-needed hot yoga class.
I’m laying there on my mat, on my back, in the final pose- the corpse pose…lying supine, palms facing the ceiling, legs relaxed, everything relaxed. Breathing hard, feeling the blood literally rush though my veins…hearing the thud, thud, thud of my heart pounding, sweat pouring from every pore.
Technically, you’re only supposed to think of your breath in this final pose. You’re supposed to concentrate on the sensation of breathing and when other thoughts crowd in, you acknowledge them and wave the thought on its way.
Yesterday though was different- as I lay there completely spent, with 50 other bodies breathing around me…I felt elated. Absolutely elated. And while the yoga class was good, it wasn’t enough to cause such joy. What made me so happy was the recognition of understanding the movement in my body as I lay there completely still. Heck, I knew for the first time HOW my lungs were accessing the oxygen. I knew the mechanisms my heart was using to get enough blood and oxygen to my weary limbs. I could feel the life in my body. For the first time I understood exactly what my body was doing. Just laying there…breathing, sweating, heart pounding.
Oh, the feeling-so good. I felt so powerful understanding how I was living, really living, in that moment.
In my program at school there is a lot of negativity. A lot. I find this exhausting, draining and life sucking. While of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, the culture of the larger group is impacted by a heaviness, a feeling of discontent.
In a recent discussion with some classmates, I realized that I needed to say, out loud that I don’t hate our program. Here’s the thing: I don’t even dislike it. At all. Are there things I would change? Yes. Is it perfect? No. Am I expecting everyone to share the same sentiment as me? Of course not.
The problem however, was when I realized that I felt something…fear, concern, or something when I thought of publicly saying that I in fact, LIKE the program. I realized that I was worried I would be judged. Judged as not being “radical” enough, as being a “med-wifery student”, as being co-opted into the “science” culture. And how silly this sounds as I type this all out, but I really was afraid. Afraid that I would hurt people’s feelings by respectfully disagreeing with them.
As I sat in the room, conversation building, the conviction to say something grew and grew. A small epiphany gave me all the nudging I needed.. I am 27 years old. I have been at 3 different universities. I have been in 3 different post secondary programs. I have worked, learned and studied…so why the hell was I doubting my own opinion? Why was I worried what others might think? I know who I am. I know why I want to be a midwife. My opinion is as valid and as right as everyone else. It was my choice to let my voice be drowned out- or to have fear let me believe that my voice would be drowned out.
And just like that, the stronghold broke and I stopped caring. Like I mentioned before, this doesn’t mean that I don’t respect other people’s opinions. In fact, it’s the very opposite. I was caring about other people’s opinions too much. I was letting others’ ideas mean more to me than my own.
And that’s wrong.
I remembered who I am.
I am someone who finds absolute joy in understanding how my heart works, how my lungs keep me alive. This knowledge has been so invaluable to me…it spills out of my mouth and bores my friends. I dont’ enjoy crazy exams that cause stress beyond understanding- but I love what I am learning. I love it.
I can’t wait to share information with women about how their bodies are working, changing, growing. I cant’ wait to see what they’ll teach me. It won’t be perfect. Just like right now isn’t perfect. But I know there will be glimmers of joy, light and beautiful, life-giving knowledge. And while I know I too will be changing, growing, learning I hope not to lose my voice again. Not to hide my opinion out of fear.
So now I am going to go back to studying, knowing full well that my exam this week will feel a little bit too hard and a little unfair. What I do know, and what I can control is my attitude, my work habits and how I choose to see this time…good, stretching, full.