I love the word badass. It’s fun to say. It makes me feel like one just by saying it. It slips between barely parted lips, full of rasp and swagger.
Anne Kunnecke, one of my favorite coaches, has a whole year-long program called EFBA = Epic Fucking Bad Ass. Her two-part recipe for being a badass: (1) Tell the Truth (2) Don’t Give Up.
Yeah. That sounds about right.
I think it’s important to define our terms.
Tell the truth. Sounds pretty simple, right?
It is. And it isn’t.
The mind can be a big help in storing and recalling information (and a bunch of other things) but more and more I’m convinced that the answer to what is true in every moment is always found in the body.
We’ve all experienced that moment when we tell our truth and others say NO, that’s not right, or we get punished for it–love or attention is taken away. No one wants to feel out in the cold. So we adjust, to feel safe.
We don’t notice we’re doing it. It happens slowly and over time. The details vary from person to person but the push-back has do with a variety of things–family culture, what’s acceptable, how conscious and realized and present everyone is which is often, not very. Nobody’s a bad guy. We’re raised by imperfect beings who were raised by imperfect beings who were raised by imperfect beings, etc., etc., You get the idea.
On some level, we get the message that our truth is not okay and so we move from living in our bodies to living in our minds. Not in every area, but often (oddly) in some of the most important areas of our lives.
Take me. Once upon a time, I graduated from a 2-year acting conservatory and moved to New York City to become an actress but mostly I waitressed and felt nervous and overwhelmed about auditioning and putting myself out there. I couldn’t figure out how to move past it so I sidestepped the whole thing.
Flash forward a couple of decades to when I more deliberately cracked open the door to this part of myself. One way has been taking classes in improv. At first it was scary and fun. Then came real schedule limitations that created significant interruptions. When I returned, I thought it would continue to be fun and maybe a bit less scary. That’s not what happened.
I got hit with a wall of nervousness.
I didn’t like it.
I don’t want to be nervous. I don’t want to be in my head, feeling stuck and self-conscious, lost in judgment and comparison. It’s an awful feeling.
But is it? Is it an awful feeling? Or is it an awful thinking?
Here’s how it goes: I’m in the class. It’s okay, even fun, and then it’s not. My nervousness appears (out of nowhere) and I don’t like it. I want to be not nervous. I want to feel at ease, in the moment, able to listen and respond with spontaneity. Or, I want to be okay with not knowing, with all the mistakes that come with learning (because my mind is completely on board with that concept).
I’m entirely in my head now, in the middle of class, in my nervousness that I don’t like and it’s snowballing. I’m feeling trapped, less than, not enough. Actually, I’m not really feeling anything! I’ve somewhat successfully cut myself off from my body and am full of icky, unhelpful thoughts about myself. I’m everywhere except right there with the truth of my body in that moment.
If I were to drop into the sensations, I would notice my fast beating heart, the tension in my mouth, heat in my face, constriction in my throat, and what does that boil down to, really? Energy swirling here and balled up there.
That’s not bad. That simply IS.
When I connect to it rather than try to hide it or manipulate it or push it away, IT WILL MOVE. It will shift and become something different, moment to moment. And as it does, I am connected to my vitality which is the seat of my originality, spontaneity, and creativity.
And that is always enough. In fact, you can’t get any more ENOUGH than that.
The truth of the body will set you free. The STORY in your mind will keep you in chains.
Now, this particular class is not working for me. I’m not sure why and it doesn’t matter. I quit it.
But I’m not giving up.
Because I’m a badass.
And so are you.
We’ve all heard that the only way out is through, but we don’t have to slam into the same part of the wall over and over again like a deranged action hero. We can step back, regroup, and make our way to another part of the wall where there’s a bit of give, a lose brick or two, a nearby tree to give us a view.
So, what about you? What wall are you up against? What hissing thoughts are distracting you from the truth that is always present in your perfect, beautiful, and wise body?
Be in the Inspiration Reclamation Business