There are several mantras that follow me through life. One of the most present is “welcome awareness”. I began my study of Pilates under Body Awareness training and I think that was the first place I had ever spent much time pondering the word awareness. In Pilates, as in Yoga, you must first be aware of the body and how it looks and feels to understand how these practices will help and how to modify and adjust them to offer the most benefit.
During my Pilates teacher training, we had to stand in front of the group in as little clothes as we were comfortable sporting and let the class critique our bodies. It was then that I learned how asymmetrical my body is. I hated this at first observation, but when I realized that my body has become this way because of life and movement and activity, it became easier for me to swallow.
I have learned to listen to my body and heed all of its warnings and invitations. This has led me to fewer injuries and less pain and more love and appreciation for the gift of a healthy body. Fortunately for me, I have come to understand that my vessel is also a symbol for the person riding inside. Everything I learn about the body seems to be a metaphor for the mind and spirit and my eyes are wide open to learning these lessons, as well.
Just like my body, there is asymmetry in what lies inside. Lately I have become keenly aware of those two little Cindy’s sitting on my shoulders. Mine aren’t an angel and a devil, like in the cartoons. Mine are a strong, capable woman and a spineless, weak little girl. Not to sound all split personality here, but I definitely feel conflicted and inconsistent sometimes and knowing that there are these sides of me is helping me to create more confidence and peace.
Maybe it’s because I’m left handed, but I totally dig the woman on my left and I pretty much detest the chic on my right. And just like Donald Duck, they are both in my ears trying to get me to go their way. Thankfully, this awareness of these two is offering me a space for change. I know they both live on my shoulders, but I can take the advice of the Awesome Able Woman and begin to ignore the Feeble She-Wimp.
Life’s exercises are much harder for me than the ones I do on my mat, but this gratitude for the awareness of ME fills my cup and pushes me to seek change. As Pema Chodron says, “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” Getting to know myself is a glorious, painful, amazing journey and I am grateful for each and every person who shines a mirror on me.