As I continue to remain perplexed, and my mind resists the fact that healing isn’t linear, and so I cannot identify the end point— it seems to me that the key to peace must be acceptance. I accept that my healing is non-linear I accept that healing from trauma can be very messy I accept that there are no clear start and finish lines. And my mind expects that everything will change now that I have found acceptance. I accept that acceptance changes nothing except the way I relate to this moment. I accept this moment. I accept this life.
If I can drop a little deeper below the surface of the mind that is always problem-solving and strategizing, I arrive at a place where all is well. Don’t get me wrong, the world is still the world, and there is still a Pandemic happening, there are still bills to be paid and an ex-husband to negotiate with and a house to clean and meals to prepare and laundry to be done. There is still a heart that yearns open for a beautiful partner to share love with. There is still the feeling of vulnerability that comes with such deep sharing, and the fear that I will never be met the way I long to be met. There is still the exhaustion one feels being the only adult in the house with two very active children who still don’t know how to pick up after themselves. Yes, all of these things still exist, as I am a human woman living on this earth. But if I can drop a little deeper below the surface of the mind that is always problem-solving and strategizing, I arrive at a place where all is well. It is such a beautiful place. And this is why I practice.
Hello friends. If it were a normal day, I’d be singing to my yoga students right now, during their relaxation at the end of class. But, Pandemic. Therefore, no public yoga. So instead of teaching, I’m home distracting myself with NaPoWriMo and poetry and words. Today’s prompt is about dreams. I can totally do dreams. I have obsessed about dream recall, dream interpretation, and lucid dreaming for a great portion of my life. So here you go, a poem about something I saw in a dream.
Into the Blue
I had just strolled out of a conference room and found myself walking in the old city of Briançon. Instead of the scenery I was familiar with, there was only vast blue sky stretching out in all directions from the old city, an ocean of sky…no ground to be seen below the city, only this feeling of space. I realized suddenly that I was dreaming, and I could do anything I wanted. I wanted to fly. I stepped onto the parapet and leapt off, began swimming in the sky ocean like a mermaid in ocean water. My body undulated and I moved gracefully through the sky. I never knew such freedom, the exhilaration of open sky, open space, and the power to choose my direction. 🌊💦🌊💦🌊💦🌊💦🌊💦🌊💦🌊💦🌊💦🌊💦🌊💦
I had this dream in late 2003. I was experiencing tremendous angst in my relationship with a man 17 years my senior. We lived in an apartment in Briançon and I felt deep ties to the town, the mountains, the country of France, but there was so much unresolved pain in my relationship and I knew something had to shift.
At the time of the dream I was back in the USA visiting my parents for the holidays. I had performed a space clearing ritual in my room the night before and prayed for guidance from the dream realm. This dream felt like a great gift to me. I woke up realizing I needed to end the relationship. I need to leave Briançon in order to move toward my destiny. Realizing this, I felt a great sense of relief and expectancy about the good things to come in the future.
Dear Person who used to be my friend and is now in the process of attempting to jeopardize my employment status at the yoga studio by bringing the quality of my teaching into question and telling the management that you are feeling uncomfortable with the subject matter I’m addressing in my classes: I’m so sorry things didn’t work out between us. You told me you were a colleague having been through yoga teacher training yourself and so I trusted that it was okay to go beyond the student/teacher boundary and explore the realm of friendship. Oops! I was wrong! I was wrong about you. I thought that you were a kind person, but when I started feeling anxious, drained and uncomfortable around you, I decided to back away. I backed out as gracefully as possible. But I guess you didn’t like that. I guess that, like other people I’ve known, you believe that if I’m not for you I’m against you. And now, for some reason, you are trying to take me down, and (like other people I’ve known) you are attempting to recruit other people to agree with you and join you and take me down with you. But here’s something you should know: I have been to the very center of hell many, many times and I have always come back. You can say what you want, you can attempt to take me down. You can even try to bring me to hell with you. You can attempt to create an entire posse of supporters to drag me down, to rake my name across the coals, to convince the world that I’m worthless as a teacher. If you try hard enough, you might even be successful in getting me ousted from my job. I may have to struggle a little more because of your childish vendetta. But you will not win. I will rise up from hell. I will find new work. I will thrive even more. I will always come back.
I ended up in a twelve step meeting a couple of months after my husband decided he no longer wanted to be married anymore. I was devastated; having trouble eating and sleeping, feeling isolated because I had lost a lot of friends in the separation. The coach I was working with suggested a meeting, and found one for me in town. The first meeting I inwardly criticized the room, thought it needed to be redecorated. The second meeting I realized everyone in my life is codependent. The third meeting I started to believe that the program might help me if I worked it. Two and a half years later, I know my program has saved my life. I have found a sponsor and am working the steps slowly but surely… getting ready to do a fourth step soon. When I was ready to give up on life, this program showed up to demonstrate that grace is active in my life, and I am truly grateful.
Just letting this moment be enough and exploring the idea of contentment, realizing there are no missing pieces— finally, the freedom she had been seeking revealed itself eaily and naturally, as if it had always been there. Then she realized that it really HAD always been there. The moment she chose to pay more attention to her inner experience than to the judgments of others she recognized the sweet truth of it all.
Forgiveness cannot be forced. When my family fell apart I tried to rush to forgiveness, thinking that it would speed up the healing process. But I was just engaging in spiritual bypassing— using my spirituality to circumvent the messy trenches of deep grief and traumatic loss. I prayed to God to show me the way, hoping I could fly over the dark valley and avoid what lurked there in the shadows of my deepest, darkest memories. I read books and listened to speakers, I attended meetings, I thought I knew what I was doing, but I was really attempting to avoid the inevitable. Finally I discovered that what I really needed was to allow myself to feel. I had to go through the grieving process. I had to face the loss of the life I knew, I had to take each day one at a time. Some days the pain was so intense I didn’t think I could live through it. People would tell me It won’t be like this forever; I didn’t believe them. Over time, as I remained clear and focused on my goal to find a place for me and my kids, I noticed the fog was lifting; I felt more like myself with each passing day. Looking back I see that it was my effort to heal that blocked the healing. It was my belief that things should be a certain way that kept me from embracing things as they were. And now I’m still working on forgiveness, but at least I have the sense now to allow that grace to come, naturally, when the time is right and my heart is ripe for such sweetness…
I’m not feeling good and I just want to distract myself. For the first time in months I watch some Netflix. It occurs to me how similar this is to drinking or shopping or any other numbing out behavior: when the show is over, the feelings are still there. This is why they say You gotta feel it to heal it. But when will I be ready to feel?
Slowing down, taking time… Body run down says Stop. Rest. I listen. I rest as much as I can in between classes. It would be so easy to blame. To go back into victim mode and complain about the upheaval. But that’s not congruent with who I am. Who I am is strong. Who I am is loving. Who I am is resourceful, creative, inspired. Who I am is kind. So instead of looking out and blaming, I look in and ask, What can be done now? My body says Rest. I listen. I rest.
For a long time it felt like something was missing. I had been a Mrs. for so long, and now he was gone. There was an empty place in my bed, a hole in my heart, an vacant seat at the table, a void of presence in my life. But slowly, slowly, as time went on, I faced the one inside me who believed I couldn’t make it on my own. I worked hard. Day after day, I recommitted to my healing. I began to enjoy the company I kept in the quiet moments of solitude when I wasn’t working or mothering. It’s Saturday night and I’m alone. The highlight of my evening was a long soak in the tub. I love this moment. I love that nothing is missing. I love that I can feel my wholeness now. I love that I stayed alive for my healing.*
*If you’re reading this with a broken heart, having gone through a loss of a relationship or the loss of a loved one or the loss of something by which you formed your identity, please hang in there. It gets better. There were so many moments during my separation and divorce that the pain was so intense that I really thought I wanted to die. Thankfully I had Twelve Step Meetings, therapy and a few really good friends who helped me stay on this planet. On the other side of that terrible trial, I can look back and see what a gift it was. I am stronger now, and more capable of loving authentically. I have a clearer sense of who I am, and a much better idea of where I want to go and what I need to do to get there. There is hope, friend…hang in there.