This could be the most memorable Independence Day celebration ever. Because I’m getting deadly serious about smoking out bullies in my life. Which means I don’t accept invitations where I’m susceptible to others’ judgements. (This is already a given.)
But I’m not stopping there. The biggest bullies are the ones that can easily take over my mind with self-judgement and doubt. Declaring independence on them is a one-woman project. I can quietly notice the tickertape news that scrolls through my mind and find the beliefs that would be bullying me.
If I’m having a day where I’m believing the tape, the bully can get started when I get dressed. I look at myself in summer clothes, focusing in on the body parts that I find least acceptable. I judge them. Tell myself I shouldn’t keep feeding them, at the very moment I’m going out to do just that. To tempt and judge myself with (lots) of barbecue feasting.This is a set-up for Bully to have a hayday.
But I have already discovered a wonderful thing.. My bully is inflatable. I greet people with hugs and mingle with my community and she gets smaller. Sometimes she’s pretty small or even takes naps. What a sweet time. Because for that time I’m simply not believing everything I think. About the world. About me. My body. My hair. My little lines and sags.
I just returned from leading a five-day retreat at a natural hot springs where there are very few mirrors and lots of opportunity to be in various stages of dress (and undress) without actually SEEING your body. What a revelation to notice the judgements of how we look in our bodies drop away.
We were able to experience what we FEEL in our bodies, in the red hot moment, when we’re not bullying them with our thinking. Even then bullies were still showing up right and left.
My foot shouldn’t hurt. My knees won’t carry me. Her tush is bigger than mine, even when I’m not looking at mine.
My bully just keeps up the running color commentary no matter what. But what I notice is that I can blow her up when I believe all the bullying inner patter. Or I can deflate her when I bring my mind back to what’s in front of me: someone to hug, a flower to smell, a deep breath.
Returning to the present moment is like sticking a pin in the bully. Gone.
So take that, Inflatable Bully. This is my Independence Day.
What’s yours? Where are you finding Independence this holiday?