This is part three in my series on Giving and Forgiving…
Forgiving yourself even when you can’t let go.
In Part 1 of this series on Giving and Forgiving, I began with how my laughing epiphany helped me make the connection between giving and accepting freely. Please stop by to read the background for this post. In Part 2 of this series, I make the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in giving gifts and discuss how giving and object is a representation of the feelings you feel about someone else.
*There is a trigger warning on this post for mentions of child abuse and survivor guilt*
Where did my Yoga posts go? I’ve been writing some about meditation and mindfulness, which are a part of Yoga, but where are the rest of the 8-limbs in my life? Why has my daily personal asana practice disappeared? Why am I not going to the studio daily like I was?
I’ve felt like I’ve been missing a significant part of my life. It has been more difficult to balance and stay centered with things that I used to skip by without a problem. Yoga takes the edge off of everything for me. It’s something I need on a regular basis, but I’ve been avoiding writing about it and practicing it regularly. I’m centered and prepared to do the work of healing and parenting with a sense of playfulness and joy when I have a daily Yoga practice.
Yet, the physical practices of Yoga, such as asanas, or poses, have consisted mostly of restoratives and relaxation poses. I have been shying away from poses that open, expand, or give me a workout. I have been resistant to taking classes with my favorite teachers because they are often the ones who are best at helping me locate and work my edge that day.
I’ve been wondering about this resistance. Then I came across this quote and it started clicking together for me:
“There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.” — Rumer Godden
I’ve been spending all of my time exploring the mental, emotional, and spiritual rooms in my house. I’ve been tending them and learning about them on my path to healing. But, the physical room has been neglected. I have literally been hiding from my body by concentrating with my mind.
I stopped riding my bike, walking, running and hiking regularly because I was avoiding sensations in my body. I still did these things when I had my family with me because I could focus solely on them and forget about myself.
I can track back to when this began. It started last spring when the memories of abuse started to resurface. The more memories I uncovered, the more I retreated from connection with my body.
I have always heard people talk about abuse and the pain it caused them, both at the time and later. I didn’t understand that there was an element of pleasure mixed with the pain. I can’t admit to any pleasure my body felt because that would be saying that I wasn’t abused. If I liked it, it was consensual.
As if an 11 year old girl could have a consensual relationship with a sadistic orthodontist.
But, my head has yet to let go of the fact that in that warped, manipulated emotional and physical torture, my body responded in ways I didn’t understand. And once I did understand, I think they helped to further repress the memories of horror.
I have read about the hold that the abuser has on the victim and how they are often convinced that it is a loving relationship. In my relationship with my abuser, he made me think his causing me pain was helping him. I remember him telling me repeatedly that if it weren’t for me, he would be in pain himself.
I rode my bike to my appointments for years. I could have skipped out on them. No one would have known or cared at home. But, I went back over and over again because I was the only one who could take care of him. And I took pleasure in the pain. Even while I yelled or cried out because it hurt me, I felt physical pleasure.
The feelings of guilt and of being a disgusting person that my body could respond in this way and I didn’t do anything to stop it overwhelm me to this day. I feel dirty in a way that will never wash off no matter how hard I try to wash or cut it out of me.
This is what I am doing. I’m giving that 11 year old girl a gift. The gift of an adult who forgives her. The gift of an adult who knows her in a way that no one else can and will never leave her. The gift of forgiving her for not having enough power to stop it. The gift to forgive my body, which was her body, and no one else’s-not even his.
 The 8-limbs of Yoga and using them in daily life will be in an upcoming post
It is the spirit of exchange that moves someone to give freely. It is interesting to think about the gift of forgiveness for ourselves and others. This can be an especially challenging thing during the holidays.I’ll explore forgiveness, guilt, as well as giving our truth (including the idea of Santa Claus in future posts in this series)
Questions from Part 3: Do you visit the four rooms of your house? Are there any areas you need to offer the key of self-forgiveness before you unlock them?
Remember, anonymous comments are always welcome. I’d love to hear from you.
Questions from Part 1: Have you ever been charged for receiving a gift? Do you have expectations when you give to someone else?
Questions from Part 2: Do you feel that giving and receiving freely is important or is a gift a gift? What do you think about the concept that giving objects are a representation of the feelings inside?
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- Deck the Halls with Psychoanal Gifts (touchstonez.com)
- The Spirit of Giving and Forgiving (touchstonez.com)
- Guest Post: The Key to Everything (touchstonez.com)
- When the Chitta Hits the Fan (touchstonez.com)
- Giving from the Heart (vibrantwanderings.com)
- Family Traditions: To Santa or Not to Santa (naturalparentsnetwork.com)
- What’s Not Ok? (A Self-Forgiveness Post) (itsokblog.com)
- Yama, Niyama and the Red Pajama Mama (naturalparentsnetwork.com)
- Further proof that children are socially cooperative creatures (hobomama.com)
- More on the Culture of More(angelbabyjazzymama.blogspot.com)