Just when I thought all was lost,
just when I felt defeated
and it looked like all my efforts were in vain,
Grace sweeps in and shows me
that all is well, and to just keep going.
When I’ve been looking through eyes
that cannot see clearly,
it’s time for a new way of seeing.
I cannot anticipate the magic of my future
looking through the lens of my past experiences.
My conditioned mind screams in terror;
it wants to know and understand and be in control.
Grace says, “Shhhh, shhhhhh, just breathe. Get still.”
When I listen to Grace, all is well.
I should keep listening to Grace.
If I am not the mean voice inside my head,
who am I ?
Am I any less the mean voice than the loving one?
And just who gets to determine who I am?
A houseful of belongings,
no motivation to figure out where they’re going,
and the clock ticks away unrelentingly.
This house is not my own.
Then again, neither is this body.
I rented this form from Planet Earth
and to her it shall return.
What will I do with this borrowed time,
as each day draws me closer to my death?
I dreamed of self-realization…
for the longest time I thought
each day would unlock a little more of the mystery.
But in the wake of this rude transition
from married to single
from wealthy to impoverished
from homeowner to homeless,
what does this self-realization journey matter?
Will God come and save me if I’m living in a box?
I need to take action,
and my will is gone.
My creative spark is snuffed out.
Or maybe these words provide a glimmer?
Someone had to write them.
Who is she?
I guess it isn’t all gone…
If I stay in the now,
everything is ok.
If I allow myself to regress to the past
or project into the future
I am filled with regret and shame
or anxiety and hopelessness.
Clearly the sane choice
is to stay in the now.
How do I do this?
I breathe, and I feel my breath.
I really look at my children
as they read, or play, or eat,
or argue with one another.
I notice my hands batting
at the insect that buzzes near my ears
as I walk in the humid forest,
earth floor damp,
ferns glowing emerald green
in the golden dusk light,
the beauty of it all.
Oh my mind,
I beg you.
Stay present. Stay with me.
Stay here now.
The abandoned one (A0)
and the yoga teacher (YT)
have a conversation:
AO: I can’t do this. I’m too hurt. I’m too scared.
YT: Just breathe. In this moment you are safe.
AO: I hate him. I am so angry at him
for doing this to me.
YT: Breathe. Slow down. You are safe.
AO: I will never be happy again.
YT: You can only be happy now.
AO: I am broken. No one will ever want me.
YT: You are inherently whole and complete,
just as you are. Feel this. Feel this breath.
AO: I am depressed and anxious. I want to die.
YT: This is temporary, like the weather.
You will live, and this will change.
AO: I am worthless. I am so ashamed of my choices.
YT: You are alive! How fortunate. Breathe into
the center of this hurt, this sadness. Give it room.
Feel it, and then let this feeling go.
AO: This is too much work. It isn’t fair.
YT: This moment. This breath. Feel your body.
Feel your heart beating. What a miracle!
AO: I’m about to be homeless. I’m terrified.
No one is going to rescue me. I don’t know what to do.
YT: Slow down. Breathe. You are going to be just fine.
There is a roof over your head right now.
Love this moment. This moment is all you have.
AO: I’m just so tired. I feel so beaten down, unwanted.
YT: Put your hands over your heart. Close your eyes.
Breathe deeply. You are infinite awareness.
AO: Why me? Why this? Why now? It isn’t fair.
YT: That’s only one part of your mind talking.
Listen to the part that is grateful for change.
Listen to the part that loves you.
Listen to the part that knows you are powerful.
AO: This is too much work.
YT: Yes. Struggling is a lot of work. Why not try surrender?
When faced with imminent homelessness
and being met with obstacle after obstacle
to securing a home for myself and my kids—
what real choice is there?
I can choose to be present and experience peace,
or I can choose to focus on the future
and feel terror.
The choice seems so easy, doesn’t it?
Just stay present. Just choose peace.
But then there is the reality of being human,
having been trained to avoid the present moment
for most of my life.
Yes, even as a yoga teacher,
even with my daily meditation practice
(over seven years now of daily meditation)
I still find it extraordinarily difficult
just to remain present.
There are so many ways I’ve learned
to just not be here. To just not feel.
I see that my body has been terrified for a long time,
perhaps since childhood…
perhaps I carry the terror of ancestors
struggling to survive,
a terror encoded in my genes
that no amount of therapy could cure.
My task becomes a reconditioning
of this body-mind,
to retrain my nervous system to udnerstand
that in this moment, I am safe.
In this moment, all is well.
Until I am able to gain more footing
on this path of peace,
I’ll need to be content with the space
between peace and terror,
and reconcile the one who is afraid
with the one who soothes, reassures, calms and holds.
God, let me find the One within me
that knows just what to do and what to say
to always bring me back home to the ground of being,
this moment where PEACE IS within me,
despite the chaos the swirls around on the outside.
Watching my mind
to make sure I don’t allow
the anxiety to take over.
And I thought watching kids was hard!
My mind takes more energy
than a newborn infant,
and worries me more than a teenager.
It needs constant nourishment
(at least newborns sometimes nap).
At any moment
it could grab the keys
and drive off with no word
about when it’s coming back home.
I’m wondering at what point
my mind will be mature enough
that I won’t need to call a sitter
when I want to leave it at home
for a few hours
so that I can have a break!
I taught all my yoga classes
(seven in three days)
and I am exhausted.
I had dinner in Westminster
with my cousin and her family,
gave my father a card and a hug.
Back home the loneliness sets in.
My kids are with their dad and his girlfriend,
and I keep seeing
families playing together,
wondering how my life got to this,
where I’m working myself to exhaustion
just to make ends meet,
homeless in less than a month,
angry at the injustice,
lonely without my kids.
I want this to change.
I am willing to change.
But I need help to see beyond my pain.