To Tell or Not To Tell?
Now that I'm single and on the dating scene, this is a new and big question for me.
My friends know about my diagnosis. They don't care. They love me unconditionally. Obviously my family knows. My yoga students know. In fact, I begin each public class sharing how I came to become a yoga teacher: My doctor, a traditional Tibetan physician, recommended that I do gentle yoga to help with my healing of a chronic incurable neurological disease. I did, fell in love with it, and here I am, seven years later, teaching and sharing it with others, helping them heal whatever's going on in their lives - physical/emotional/spiritual - or simply creating space for them to get to know themselves better or fall deeper in love with themselves (while getting an incredibly strong and fit body).
If you met me now, there's no way you'd ever guess that I was diagnosed with MS. I'm actually one of the healthiest people I know, partly due to the diagnosis. I have a great diet, do daily yoga & walks in nature, have a regular meditation practice, detox with bi-weekly salt baths, get plenty of rest, take a bunch of vitamins and supplements, make sure to have bucket loads of fun and laughter, and, a good dose of dancing and partying as often as possible!
BUT, what about Facebook? What happens when I 'friend' a guy on FB and he does his pre-date profile stalking and comes across my blog, visits my website and learns about my diagnosis? It's much more than just a thing I live with. As a result of my experiences, my path has brought me to this place where it's a big part of my life: working with the National MS Society as their 2010 Northern Cal. Ambassador, training yoga teachers to teach people with MS safely, writing a book for people with MS, leading the two NMSS Annual Bay Area Fundraisers, magazine articles etc etc.
Everyone gets sick sometimes. Maybe you have a permanent injury, or a weak immune system and get colds all the time - would you be fearful that someone wouldn't date you because of it? Some people have mental or emotional imbalances, from small things to being a little anxious to full on chronic disorders like bi-polar. I've got a neurological disease that 'could' potentially lead to some big symptoms and that means I need to watch how I live my life. But don't we all have to do that? Especially once we reach our 30s (and even more so when we've had kids).
The only thing humans can all be sure of, is that we're going to die.
Directly relating to that, one of the biggest things I've learned from my journey with MS, is that every second of every day is precious. I kinda feel that that's something I bring to the table that's cool, and why people enjoy being with me.
So...Question: Why am I worrying about posting this part of me online?
I think a lot of it is because things get confused online. Things are misinterpreted. People make judgments. When you're with someone in person, you can choose what to tell them, how much information to give, read their expression, feel the moment, decide how much to share, answer their questions and make them feel secure about the situation. When it's online, it's there in black and white. It's out of your control for them to do with what they like.
My friend and I were chatting today and talked about how her husband, a total cool hottie, would NEVER leave her if she was sick, or in fact, ever. Period. What we all know is, that if you're meant to be with someone, you'll be together. 'For richer and poorer, in sickness and in health...' Obviously I learned the hard way that that's not always true, so there's a part of me that's a little dubious about falling in love again.
So basically, posting this stuff online, is about letting go of control. It's about being honest, open, loving and trusting. And, for me, it's easier to live life being up front. I can't be dealing with tip toeing around a situation or lying about stuff. Life's too short.
Maybe some guy won't want to date me cos of the diagnosis, but maybe the same guy wouldn't be interested in dating a yoga teacher anyway, or he has something against British accents? We all have our list of what works for us. I know I'm not interested in dating some overweight, republican, gun toting, KKK, computer nerd who lives on McDonalds and thinks that beating his wife is acceptable.
As my friend told me today, it's time to 'own' this part of my life in the dating arena, and on FB. Anyone can walk into the yoga studio I teach at and pick up a flyer with my face and bio, and will read it there and then. So, time to own it on this crazy virtual social network, FB. We'll see how it goes! Wish me luck...
We all have our stories, we all have our journey and our experiences. Question is how do we integrate them into our daily lives so that we live openly and from our hearts. Do you compartmentalize? Do you pretend? Do you hide from the truth? What are you afraid of?
Take a piece of paper and pen, and sit quietly for a moment reflecting on these questions.
Before you write, give yourself a few moments to connect with your inner soul/God/Buddha/whatever you believe in. Take several long, slow, deep breaths and and say a prayer of gratitude for your life, right here, right now, today. After a few minutes of quiet reflection, write down what it is you are hiding from/afraid of (if nothing comes up, just stay doing some yummy deep breathing!)
Stay with that feeling for a minute or two, then close your eyes again, go inside and, reconnect with your inner being again and ask him/her/it to take those feelings away. You can even picture them being wrapped up in a little box, tied with a pretty ribbon and taken away into the abyss of the Universe.
If you practice yoga, I invite you to get your mat out and practice 7-13x Surya Namskara A series. On each inhalation, breath the words 'I Love Me' or another loving affirmation deeply into your belly. On the exhalation, release whatever you are carrying that doesn't serve you. If you haven't thought of anything in particular, just release a feeling such as 'worry', 'tension', 'fear' or 'stress'.
If you do not know Sun Salutations, please follow the directions for a seated meditation instead.
Sitting quietly on a chair, place your feet firmly on the ground. Feel your sit bones deeply sinking into the chair, lift your spine towards the sky by raising the center of the chest up, dropping the shoulders down the back, chin parallel to the floor. Relax the muscles on the face, open the mouth a little to release the jaw.
Take several long slow deep breaths through your nose, breathing the words 'I Love Me' deep down into your belly. After several long slow inhalations, add on by exhaling any negative words thoughts that come to mind. Continue for 3-5 minutes and end by saying a prayer of thanks for this exercise and clearing.
The Light In Me, Honors The Light In You.
See you on FB.