As I sort through boxes of papers,
kids’ drawings, greeting cards,
old photos, clippings,
my drawings, lists upon lists
of ideas, plans, goals,
as I survey many more boxes to go through,
boxes of stuff…random bits…
appliances, cleaning products,
textiles of every kind,
doodads and thingamabobs,
it brings new meaning to the phrase
Going through it.
I, my friends, am really
Going through it.
I’m going through layers upon layers
of the life I shared with another
when we were married,
when we were a family of four.
He left and took what he wanted.
He left me responsible for the rest.
I am going through it.
It strikes me as odd and yet fitting,
that I would need to take my old life
with me to this new place
in order to see how my old life
doesn’t fit in here.
I had to feel this feeling of my old life not fitting
in order to go through it and release
what no longer serves,
what is too heavy,
too laced with old memories.
I didn’t feel safe letting go in the old house.
Somehow the old things protected me.
But I had to leave the house we shared;
it’s no longer mine, or his.
So I took all our stuff with me,
and crammed it into my new space,
a smaller space,
a much smaller space.
Boxes and bags and bins
and little pathways in between,
it has felt like a hoarder’s den
the last few days,
as I carted the last bits
from the old to the new.
I see now:
My old life is choking the new.
I had to feel this.
I had to feel this discomfort.
I had to feel this feeling
of drowning in my old life,
surrounded by what no longer works,
so that I could clear some space
to welcome the life that wants to be lived
when I’m willing to stand in the present moment,
in a willingness to feel what is alive, right now.
Stuff, stuff and more stuff!
There is no end to the stuff!
Stuff that was left behind
when he walked away from our life together,
and now I get to sort through all of it.
Years of the content I created as a yoga teacher,
in binders, in bins.
Bins of fabric and yarn.
Books, books and more books.
Clothes and shoes.
Random bits of this and that…
Plus the household stuff.
Is there no end?
I’m am so exhausted.
But there is still more stuff.
You can’t heal what you can’t feel…
and so my biggest task
has been just allowing the feelings to rise,
to be seen, acknowledged, embraced,
and finally felt.
For a long time I attempted to deny my feelings,
because they appeared too painful to accept,
and I was afraid of what might happen
if I allowed the tidal wave to crash over me.
It turns out that I was giving my attention
to my fear of the difficult feelings
rather than to the feelings themselves.
The fear made it all seem so much worse
that it really was.
Once I peeled back all my layers
of distraction, denial and defense
and exposed my tender heart to myself,
I saw that there was nothing to fear.
As the grief came up, the doubt,
the self-blame, the regret, the anger,
the loneliness, the abandonment,
the resistance and all the others
emerged as a procession,
one by one, to be fully received
and welcomed by me.
As I allowed these feelings to flow through,
I sensed underneath them my resilience,
my strength, and finally my hope
for new feelings to arrive
once I’ve made enough room for them
by letting the old feelings go…
I’m amazed I’ve been able to keep up this pace,
2-3 yoga classes a day for two months,
but I’m not just doing this for me,
I’m doing it for my kids and for my students too.
I’m doing it for the ripples of peace and goodwill
that flow out into the world
when I make just one person’s day a little brighter.
It’s amazing how I can find the strength to go on,
day after day, feeling tired, feeling wiped out,
feeling like I have nothing left at the end of the day,
and yet, each morning I wake up,
and I’m ready to do it all over again.
This feels like I’m being trained for something even bigger.
This feels like an opportunity to flex
my resilience muscles,
my endurance muscles,
my persistence muscles,
my faith muscles.
A year ago, I felt weak and destroyed,
devastated, betrayed, abandoned…
But now look…
Just look at how strong I am now.
Eight years of pausing,
sitting still, closing my eyes
and going within.
I remember well the day
eight years ago, when,
pregnant, feeling sick,
overwhelmed by my responsibilities
as wife and mother,
I called out to the void
I’m going crazy! I’m losing it!
Help me! What should I do?
And the Voice said
You must meditate.
And I thought,
I had a regular practice
before I met my husband,
but (and maybe you can relate)
self-care always fell to the bottom of the list
when I was in a relationship with someone else.
The Voice said
and I remembered that this was an option,
and I sat.
I started small, just five minutes a session,
but I quickly worked my way up
to thirty minutes a day.
Eight years and I haven’t missed a day.
Eight years…I have shown up for myself.
My ex said
You meditate too much
when he gave me the list of reasons
he was leaving our marriage.
That was two years ago,
and he’s gone now,
but I’m still meditating.
Eight years I’ve said to myself
I matter. This matters.
I’m going to keep showing up.
And I will, for eight more years,
and eight more and eight more after that.
I’ll show up every single day,
rain or shine,
in sickness or in health,
for richer or for poorer,
until death closes my body’s eyes
and opens the eyes of my soul.
Then, there will be no surprises,
because in meditation I have seen it all.
I’m feeling entertained.
What was meant as an insult
has provided endless laughter.
This means progress.
I was told that the body part upon which I sit
I was told to get off this particularly entitled body part
and get a job.
I have two things to say:
1. I have a job. Actually two jobs. Actually three.
I have been mothering for 9 years
and teaching yoga for 14
and it is a full time job being me,
it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it
and I’m the most qualified for it—
AND I AM DAMN GOOD AT WHAT I DO,
AND I WILL KEEP DOING IT, THANK YOU.
2. Yes, I am entitled,
and not just the body part on which I sit.
All of me is entitled.
All of me is entitled to:
(among other things, but the list is getting too long, so I’ll stop there. For now).
I am entitled to these things,
because this is what I give out.
Oh wait, there is a third thing I have to say:
3. YOU CAN’T HURT ME ANYMORE.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns,
just talk to the aforementioned entitled body part on which I sit.
I’m sure it will make itself very clear,
in one way or another.
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.