Living from the Inside Out

I look in the mirror. I meet my gaze. A soft hum of criticism begins in my brain. Then John Lennon’s poignant song, “Look at Me,” comes into my mind:

Look at me—
Look at me—oh, my love
Oh, my love
Here I am.
Who am I supposed to be?
Who am I supposed to be?
Look at me, oh, please look at me, my love.
Here I am, oh, my love.
Who am I? Nobody knows but me. Nobody knows but me.
Oh, my love. Oh, my love.

John’s encouragement to see beneath the wrinkles and imperfections to the spark of self, the jewel of soul, is relevant and compelling. It’s a tragedy of our culture that our self-esteem and self-connection can be so determined by external forces. We’re bombarded with images of fashion, of youthful bodies, of “perfection”—airbrushed and then presented to us as reality.

Not much encouragement or modeling is available for living from the inside out, for the very yogic perspective that John invites us into in his song. To meet our authentic selves where we are, to inhabit this body in this moment, is the doorway to health, ease, and transformation.

We’re deterred from our journey of self-connection and self-acceptance when we become fixed on unreal standards set by external forces. John Lennon encourages us to look deeper, to remember the soul, the self that lives right there. He, like the yogis, asks us to live from the inside out.

Wrapped in whatever body you’ve been given, in this moment, lives your soul and your blessings. Judging ourselves by external standards and trying to become what we are not are heartless and health-less propositions. Nobody wins.

Paradoxically, in order for change to happen, you need to be exactly where you are. The question of “Who am I?” must begin right here and right now. Those of us who work with weight-related issues take on body image with ferocity, declaring, We will change! And yet, relaxing into our bodies as they are is the first step toward real change.

Here I am. Look at me.

All we really want is the blessing of our own company. Practice offering yourself that.

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Aruni Nan Futuronsky is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, life coach, and Legacy Faculty member for Kripalu R&R and Kripalu programs.

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