Sometimes you find two photos that show the arc of an entire story.
On the left is me at 5 years old, owning the dance floor at my uncle’s wedding. Arms flailing, hips rocking, red patent leather shoes doing…something with the beat. On the right is me at 12. It’s 1990, so I’m wearing pegged jeans, a fuchsia mock turtle neck, and a Swatch watch.
I’m also sporting a look that says I’d like to please just disappear into a hole in the forest floor.
As I approached high school, I tamped down my exuberance and started practicing smallness. I stopped swinging my arms wildly and snort laughing. It wasn’t so much a choice as a creeping posture. Head down, shoulders stooped. I performed impressive contortions to avoid that most terrible of stamps, that I was too much. Or worse, that I was full of myself.
Turns out I had it just a little bit entirely backwards.
To walk through the garden in late summer is to see what it actually means to be full of yourself. Sunflowers pointing their heads to the sun, milkweed leaves thick with caterpillars, peaches so heavy and sweet that the branches snap under the weight. Look at me, they say, I am feeling myself. I am so full of me.
One of the great gifts of getting older is when old distortions finally rub off to reveal the truth underneath: To live fully, you’ll need to fill up with what you are. This isn’t about perfectionism or comparison, just embrace.
We could call it occupancy or embodiment, but I love full because it turns that old insult right on its head and reclaims it. It replaces a shouldn’t with a yes. In the work I do, in the transformations clients show me daily, there is nothing as luscious or laudable as seeing someone full of who they are.
How I wish I could wrap my arms around my own young shoulders and say, with much soft tenderness, “This idea that you shouldn’t be full of yourself is 100% bonkers. Girl, let me save you some time and suffering: Be full. Fill up with yourself.”
The arc of this story is, of course, unfolding. But these days when I step out on the dance floor, that wild flailing dancer child comes right along with me. I still may be off beat, but I am full in the movement, and it feels wonderful.
Some exciting updates at Root Therapy:
- Session packages. Until November 1st, I’m offering session packages online at the current session rate (prices will increase on November 1st). These don’t expire, and you’re welcome to use them at any future date. As always, please contact me if you’d like to schedule.
- Tending the Self. In this 5-week series, we’ll use breath, movement, creativity, sound and rest to translate some of the Root Therapy session work to creating more ease in our daily lives. Participants will leave with new tools for caring for their own nervous systems. Classes start October 1st and meet weekly from 11am – 12:30pm. Learn more.
- And! Many folks have enquired about the next Embodied Writing series, which I’m delighted to offer beginning October 17th. Details and registration.