Yoga made me cry.

As I was standing in the last tadasana of my practice with hands at heart center, it hit me how actually close to my heart I had become. In the third floor ‘bonus room’ of our new beautiful house, with windows open and sweat (or humidity) dripping off my body, I realized that more unity had been cultivated between my mind and body in the past several months than I realized. This realization brought on tears that I didn’t expect.

I hadn’t even finished my coffee yet.

When one’s body doesn’t perform or operate as it should, it’s frustrating. I would even say that it can be damaging to one’s psyche. I’m no psychologist or clergyperson, but I can imagine that without unity between one’s body, mind, and soul, the body is no longer revered as a ‘temple’. What I believe is that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit  but I’ve been defiling my temple for a long time.

When I think of not loving my body, I first think of hating how I look in the mirror, scoffing at the number on the scale, or eating copious amounts of whatever food will bring me comfort. But — always, always, always — these seemingly superficial manifestations of the lack of self-love stem from a deep-seated disunity among mind, body, and soul.

I’ve medicated with food, with alcohol, with running, with CICO (calories in, calories out). And all these things help a little bit, whether it’s by dulling the pain, creating more pain, or giving a sense of accomplishment. Ultimately, however, I have to find a balance and heal myself from the inside out in a way that’s sustainable in the long run.

This isn’t about healing my body so that I can carry a child. Friends, that ship has sailed and is half way around the world by now. What I’m discovering is that my mind-body connection, my temple, has to be healed for me. And then, from there, I can fulfill my purpose in life. I can then pour into my marriage, into my students, into relationships with colleagues and bosses and neighbors and fellow congregants.

So, how do I fix a broken temple? How do I rebuild? Truly it’s not built in a day. It took weeks, months, years of deterioration to destroy what God created as good — my body, mind and soul — and therefore it’ll take time to rebuild.

I’m not saying I have to cry and show emotion like I did in my yoga practice in order to rebuild my temple. But for me, that’s how I roll (I’ve mentioned before how much like Kristen Bell I am), and that’s how I know something’s working. Something’s hitting a nerve.

In yoga (and I’m an amateur so hear me out), your body can never be far from your mind. Even in savasana, you feel the ‘earth’ beneath you and are aware of the air, the noises, the breath.

What I absolutely love about the end of yoga practice is that no matter how aligned or how klutzy I was, I just spent time with my body in a positive environment seeking new challenges and bringing things into alignment. I come from death back into life, and it’s a new chance to honor my temple so that I can do the work meant for me since the beginning of time.

>Wanted: Conflict Manager

>I’m glad I went to small group tonight. We discussed a lot of issues pertaining to trust, relationships, and resolving conflict. In third grade, we had a program at our school called “conflict managers” where we were coached in how to effectively resolve conflict and other kids would come to us with their problems. If they only knew how I really tried to resolve conflict…

I used to be a dirty fighter… verbal garbage spewing, red face fuming, cuss words flying, bygone issues of the past being brought back to life… and then I met Aaron. And he refused to yell. Interesting that we both grew up with yelling being part of conflict but he hated it and I embraced it. I didn’t embrace it for long because he has always refused to yell back at me. So I stopped yelling because it wasn’t doing any good. Not that it does anyway, but there’s a very sick satisfaction in getting the other person to yell back. He would just walk away, and that’d piss me off even more.
He forced me to be patient during an argument (or “discussion” as they are commonly called in our house). He expected me to calmly (what?!!) relate to him details of what I felt or thought the way I did about something. I was afraid he would leave. One time during an argument when I was yelling my head off (surprise, surprise), he said he was going for a walk. I made a human barrier in front of the door and told him that to get out the door, he’d have to get past me first. I’m not sure if he chuckled, but I would have if I were him.
This was in the first year of marriage, and probably the first six months. I learned quickly that if I were going to get a point across, I didn’t have to yell it. He would actually listen and acknowledge what I had to say. He wouldn’t yell back or actually leave… there would be no silent treatments. And we would actually resolve all issues before going to sleep, even if that meant waiting hours while I moved to the very very edge of the bed without falling off, pretending like I was still mad. 
We’ve always worked out our conflicts this way: not letting the sun go down on our anger.
Even into the second year of marriage, our arguments would go like this.
Elizabeth: [sigh]
Aaron: What’s wrong? or Whatcha thinkin’?
Elizabeth: Nothing.
Aaron: Are you sure? You seem like there’s something wrong.
Elizabeth: Yes, I’m fine.
      silence. ribbit. ribbit. crickets….
Elizabeth: Well, it’s just that…. [monologue]

And then the argument might escalate from there. Often I would assume he would have a much more negative response than he did. It was always so anticlimactic, too, because I imagined he would react like me:  yelling and scaring all small children within a 50-foot radius. 
But he never has. Sure, he’s raised his voice when I’ve been present, but that’s only so he can hear himself over the harsh din of my emotional outcry.
Oh. I almost forgot to mention the funniest thing I do during an argument. I try to hide as long as I can in my corner of the ring. Aaron likes to say “I love you” and hug me and grab a hold of my hand or something while I’m angry with him. He’s doing it because he really does love me and wants me to know it, and also I think secretly because he knows it ticks me off. Once I hear those words or get close to him, all bets are off. I might as well raise my white flag of surrender… sigh. Men and their magic. 
So partly this post was to show you how ridiculous it is to fight like that… just say what needs to be said and talk like adults. And partly it is to mark the three years we’ve been married (this coming Monday). We’ve made a lot of progress in that short amount of time.
And how could I forget, the best part is what we get to do after an argument or fight………. Go get ice cream! [Duh!]