At around 6:26am last Thursday morning, I was sweating and running around a small gym with about ten other women. The music was pumping, and it was my turn to kick a rectangular punching bag-like thing my teacher was holding. No one was looking at us, everyone had other things to do, like squats with weights and kicking punching bags and stuff. My teacher looked at me and nodded, saying, "kick it". She was showing me she was ready, and telling me what to do. I kicked the bag. Not super-hard, but kind of hard, and immediately it seemed like I did something wrong; she kind of moved out of the way or made some movement that slightly confused me. "Sorry!" I quickly offered. Then, she paused. "Don't say sorry." I smiled and nodded, hearing her, but not hearing her. "Look at me," she commanded. She locked her eyes on mine, and once she really had my attention, she repeated slowly, "Don't Say Sorry." I'm capitalizing these words because that was how it felt. Tears actually welled up in my eyes, but I quickly did as I was told, and kicked. And kicked, and kicked. After a few minutes of some relatively powerful kicks, she smiled, "Now you're not sorry!" Class resumed, and I now had a new awareness. How often do I say sorry?
I couldn't believe what happened in the next fifteen minutes. We had to go grab mats, and another woman and I almost walked into each other, and I said, "Sorry!" (The other woman said nothing, I don't think she even noticed that we almost collided.) We went to put the mats away later, and I had to squeeze by someone, and again I hear myself, "Sorry!" Walking to my car, another woman was going in reverse, kind of near me, and I sprinted to the side, giving her room. Backing out of my parking spot, I pulled out before my neighbor, and in my car, all alone, I actually said, "Sorry!" Out loud!! In my car, by myself!!
I could not believe myself. I looked at the clock. It was 6:47 in the morning, and I had already apologized four or five times. For nothing. Not one of those behaviors were problematic or bothersome to anyone in any way. As I drove home, I asked myself: "What am I so sorry for?" And then I realized. I was sorry for all kinds of things. Sorry I am "fat". Sorry I am "ugly". (I'm not fat or ugly.) Sorry I am not a WASP. Sorry I am not rich. Sorry I am not poor. Sorry my car is messy. Sorry I am driving instead of biking. Sorry I take up space. Sorry I EXIST!?! WTF??
The thing is, finding this "sorry problem" is actually very exciting. Like I tell clients, if you don't know what is happening in the unconscious, it will continue to run the show. So, realizing that I am apologizing for my existence, on a regular basis, directs me toward the healing I need to do.
I shared this story with a friend, and he said, "You're not standing in your power." He's right. And I am not realizing my worth. I am seeing myself as less valuable, less important, worse, somehow, than the other person. And because of that, I am not expressing myself in a confident, powerful way. I view myself as getting in the way of the other person, who has the inherent right-of-way.
My unconscious beliefs about myself and the world are popping out in those instances - like at the gym - they are shockingly obvious glimpses of my "stuff". But the truth is those beliefs are informing my every move, every thought, every perception and creation, even when I am not noticing them. They are literally part of my energetic fabric.
What if I released those non-truth-based beliefs? How powerful could I be as a Human, a Wife, a Mother, a Friend, Therapist, a Healer? The ironic thing is that the work I do with clients is this exact work: releasing unconscious beliefs and healing our inner children. So, this intense experience at the gym has given me a beautiful lead toward my next step on my path of healing. And for this, I am not sorry! I am grateful. And I am definitely going to give my kickboxing teacher a heartfelt holiday card and gift this year.