Am I ok?
How much of what we struggle with is genuinely hard, and how much feels hard because part of us believes we’re not ok?
Recently, a friend highly respected in her field, moved in with her partner and decided to turn her attention to a new creative project. Despite doing what she loves, she told me how hard she’s finding it to no longer have financial independence and no longer find herself quite so much in the centre of things.
I reminded her that a few years ago she was longing to share her financial burden with someone else, longing for a less fast-paced, high-pressure life.
As we reflected together, she realised that the real issues were not the ones she thought they were. The real issues were feelings of not being ok, of having no value, of feeling unsafe. She realised that without the daily validation of being admired and considered successful, this story of not being ok - which had driven her so hard to achieve all her life - had become more exposed in its rawness.
I wonder, how much of our drive to succeed comes from a fear of not being ok?
The story of not being ok doesn’t only push us, it also holds us back. An everyday example of this came a few days later while watching my son teach my mother to play chess. I asked her why she hadn’t learnt it long ago from my father (a passionate chess player) and she replied, “At that time I would never have allowed myself to do something I wasn’t already good at.”
I wonder, how many of our decisions not to show up, step forward or try something new come from a fear of not being ok?
The pushing and pulling of this story of not being ok doesn’t tend to relax for long even when we are successful, loved and praised. The goalposts simply shift. There’s always further to go. There’s always someone better.
One reason this voice of not-enough is never placated is because it asks the question “Am I ok?” with an if.
“Am I ok if…? Am I ok if I’m at the top of my field? Am I ok if I’m admired for my skill or beauty or success? Am I ok if I get everything right? Am I ok if everyone loves me?”
Whenever there’s an if, there’s also the possibility of not being ok. And with that possibility comes the anxiety of pushing harder to be better, or hiding better to be safer.
Instead of the if, what the young voice inside us really longs for are the words, “Yes, my love, you are absolutely ok. Completely, unconditionally, ok.”
Feel the deep breath of relief which comes with this message.
Every part of us waits to be held in the warm embrace of “Yes, my love, you are absolutely ok. Completely, unconditionally, ok.”
So when the tension of pushing or pulling rises within us, it can help to pause with curiosity and care. To listen and feel with such kindness that the vulnerability behind these stories begins to reveal itself. The desire to be validated, when held in the knowing that its innocent tenderness is absolutely ok, relaxes its grasping. The harsh inner narrative berating a mistake, when held in the knowing that its fear is absolutely ok, releases its protective stance.
As we make a safe space for all these young parts to know that their tears and frustrations are absolutely ok, their relief permeates our whole system. It spreads like a luminous warmth into our muscles and organs. It influences our breathing and our nervous system. It informs how we feel and how we show up in the world.
I often wonder: how would we be in the world if we all really, truly knew that we were ok? How many things would we try, just for fun? How easily would we say yes to something that excited us? How easily would we say no to something that didn’t? How readily would we celebrate others’ successes and support their struggles? How generous and playful would we be? How relaxed? How joyful? How creative? How free?
Because the truth is that yes, my love, you are absolutely ok.
Completely, unconditionally, ok.
(Read below for upcoming workshops and retreats where we connect to a field of sacredness through the body, breath, heart and consciousness itself. And in doing so we come to remember that we are, indeed, completely, unconditionally ok.)
The next workshop at Love Supreme Projects is Saturday April 29th from 1.30-4.30pm: Already Whole.
I will have just returned from a retreat in the high Andes with the wisdom keepers (Altomisayoq/Inkas) of that land, so I am excited to share this energy with you.
With a long, slow yoga and meditation practice, we will connect to a field of sacredness through the body, breath, heart and consciousness itself. We will experience directly that we’re not alone and inseparably connected to the web of Love. We will experience that we are already whole.
More information here.
Feedback from previous workshops: "You have a remarkable ability to create an environment where huge shifts can happen." ~ "It was pure magic. I couldn’t believe that 3 hours had passed when the session finished, I felt like we had entered a different reality" ~ "Brought me back to life" ~ "I love the guided meditation with yoga mix. I felt so deeply nourished, grounded, open and in Love" ~ "Exquisite, loving, life affirming, resetting" ~ "Extraordinary and brilliant!" ~ "Thank you for the magic, I can still feel it this morning in the air we are breathing together" ~ "So much more than I hoped for"
The next retreats are May 20-26 in Devon, and October 9-15 in France.
Join us for a magical dive into deep homecoming, remembrance and return for 5 full days of yoga, meditation, ceremony, contemplation, intimacy and celebration in the extraordinary retreat centres of Sharpham House and Le Moulin de Chaves. This is where real transformation happens. Retreats feed and nourish us for the rest of the year. More information here (a limited number of assisted places are available on request; my hope is that no one is ever turned away for lack of funds).
Feedback from retreats: “Thank you for the beautiful gift of this retreat. Words can't translate what this week has been for me” ~ “I’m bursting with love and joy and gratitude. I feel so blessed to have been there” ~ And for an in depth description of her experience, read the wonderful Eleanor Mills from Noon describe her retreat last November here.
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Beautifully expressed Ayala! Such a timely voice offering another possibility to the current pervasive global message that “we’re not ok”. Thank you dear sister.
I love this! It’s so easy to be sucked into that place of “I’m not ok because I haven’t done/don’t have x,y,z etc. etc.”. And yet, you then stand in the park & see the beautiful trees & sky & spring flowers & take a breath, & think how can all of this not be enough! What a crazy dance it all is!