Lessons from my Toes

When I’m stressed, I pick at my toes.  I scratch off my polish.  I tear at my nails.  I just beat them up.  And lately, I’ve been pretty stressed so my poor little phalanges look pretty rough.  For the most part, I don’t really think about it, especially in wintertime when I’m constantly wearing socks.  That’s until I go to yoga class.  Then I find myself getting embarrassed.

I’ve been going to the same classes for over a year now.  I’ve developed several friendships there.  I’m not sure if they ever notice my toes, but I really notice them there, especially during all the forward folds when my feet are literally in front of my face.  Today was incredibly embarrassing as we were working on proper form and alignment.  Our instructor, who’s also a friend, was checking out our foot placement and correcting us when necessary.  I found myself completely distracted by my ugly feet.

But then during a seated twist, she told the class something that she says often, “You are where you are.”  She was telling folks to not push further into a stretch and to be mindful of where their limitations are.  After all, you can really injure yourself when you try to force your body into something it’s not ready for.  But that got me thinking - I’m surrounded by people who love me.  My toes look this way because I’m stressed.  I am where I am.  If I pretend that I’m not stressed is to force myself into a place that I’m not.  I would be hiding my true self.  To expose your flaws and weakness is to be open, and when you are open, you able to receive and give more love.  I am where I am. I will be okay with that.