In a morning meditation, I envisioned a crocodile as fear. The crocodile gripped the light of me. Its hold was not vicious, but it was firm and limiting; my light restricted. When I looked at the crocodile, I realized that it was not bad or mean or evil. It had been the lines to my life’s coloring book, setting boundaries, until my boundless self could be appreciated. My gaze prompted the crocodile to release its grip. I thanked it for a job well done with a kiss on its closed chompers. I didn’t need it anymore, so it swam away. As the reptile of fear serpentined to the oceanic horizon, I saw my soul’s light shine brighter than ever before with endless possibilities.
This vision appeared the week Marianne Williamson’s famous quote resurfaced in my mind.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson
This got me to thinking about some of my playing-it-small fear based behaviors. I’ve spent my life cautiously navigating croc infested waters while in the clutches of societal and self imposed fears dulling my shine. The vision illustrates the lesson of me seeing these aquatic vice grips not as negatives but as teachers, teaching me deep gratitude for limitless possibilities. Freedom is ne’er as sweet as for those whom have been imprisoned.
One huge constrictor has been a negative body image. For the sake of a few centimeters, I’ve recently become aware that I have sucked in my stomach most all of my life. From a young age I bought into the “thin is in” approach to happiness. Even when I was scary thin adhering to a calorie restricted diet with my hair falling out in clumps, I sucked in my stomach.
Except, it was a myth. I wasn’t happier. I was starving. Starving for nourishment and acceptance. My recently found study and practice of Qigong teaches me that the lower dantian, the tummy area, is the energy storage center. My life-long tummy restriction limited my energy. Now breathing my tummy in and out while focusing on the energy of the lower dantian brings me great joy.
A negative body image seems superficial but touches on deeper feelings involving worth. For me it wasn’t just a physical sucking-in, but an emotional one too. I spent a lifetime sucking in my emotions, giving them grave discredit. At the risk of spreading the “Let It Go” earworm, I spent most of my life being Elsa.
“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.” – Frozen
My tears are real. My laughter (okay, cackle) is real. We are all meant to feel. We are all meant to shine. When you’ve learned the lessons of your crocodiles, they too swim away!