Can someone please tell me just what is enough? What is a big enough house, or how much is enough food to be able to live in health? And why are there those living with very little who manage to be happy, and then there are those who live in excess who are miserable? And then there are those who simply don’t have enough and they live in despair, and there are those with a surplus who are celebrating their good fortune… And then there is everyone in-between, fluctuating with gratitude and trust, allowing, resisting, judging, surrendering. And then, and I’m still wondering about this— there are people who don’t have access to clean drinking water, while I take luxurious baths with candles, and epsom salt and essential oils, and I really can’t understand why this disparity exists…. It’s a good thing we humans are so resilient. Otherwise all this variety could really make us lose our minds.
I’m getting excited about possibility… I don’t want things to go back to “normal,” that is, what we considered normal before. Existing inside of that mindset, I ask myself What would I want my new normal to look like? First of all, I’m well-rested Second, I’m well-nourished Third, I feel connected to people who love me. Fourth, I’m earning good income doing what I love! I’m willing to leave behind the exhaustion, the starvation, the isolation, the struggle to make ends meet. And so, existing in this place of possibility, how do I establish my new normal? One step at a time. Just one step at a time.
Being ok with change takes practice, so don’t be hard on yourself for not taking this well. We are hardwired to gravitate toward familiarity— it’s how we all survived this long, so in a deep, instinctive way, we all yearn to get back to “normal.” And yet… we were made for these times. This is what we have been preparing for. So, beloveds, take a deep breath, be extra kind, gentle and loving with yourself, hold all your hurting parts with tenderness. Change is hard and sometimes life sucks, but you aren’t alone. We will get through this together.
It’s up to me. I choose how I go through this. I choose my response. The old habit may be to panic, catastrophize and focus on what could go wrong, but this habit isn’t helpful. It isn’t life-affirming, or empowering. It doesn’t enable me to offer my gifts to the world. Why not breathe? Why not practice gratitude for what could be an incredible opportunity for awakening, for transformation? Why not envision a realm of infinite possibility? Let’s collectively create a brand new habit called: awakening to our blessings, envisioning possiblity, offering our gifts in service to the greatest good!
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 have a daily relationship with Jesus, through prayer, meditation and contemplation. It wasn’t always this way. I was brought up to be scientific, skeptical, suspicious of anything the least bit religious, but through the twists and turns of life I ended up in church one day, heart broken open, shedding years of grief, tears cascading from my eyes. I sought through prayer and meditation conscious contact with God, and miracles began to take place in my life. I know that God works through me now, through my hands, my voice and my heart. I take an active role in my spiritual unfolding; I am not a spectator here. I know that my life will be full of hills and valleys, and I am ok with this, because I know my place with the one who watches over me always, guiding me back home to peace.
This house. This magical house. In January of this year my house was sold at foreclosure auction; my name wasn’t on the title or the deed, and there was nothing I could do to stop the sale. I was terrified. Not long after the sale I was told I had to move, and I didn’t know where to go. I just knew I wanted to keep my kids in their school. I tripled the number of yoga classes I was teaching, sent feelers out, and prayed more than I ever have. In July, a miracle. Friends of friends had a rental home in my kids’ school district and their renters wanted to break the lease early! We met, I brought my financial documents, and proved I was able to pay rent. And just like that, my kids and I had a place to move into! I left behind the betrayal and grief of my past and turned toward new possibilities, a new phase of my life. I am grateful for the miracles of community, strength and faith. Every night when I tuck my kids into bed, I thank God for this house. This magical house.
She walked alone in the woods today, the wind following her with its whispers. She climbed up the steep slope, finding spots of bare earth to plant her feet in a slippery sea of fallen leaves. She found her favorite stone outcropping, sat and closed her eyes. Breathing slowly and deeply she received a vision of great warmth and delight, a future that waits for her willingness to let the past go. The cold began to seep in and she carefully picked her way here and there along the downward slope, superimposing the future vision upon the present matrix, thinking thoughts of integration.
Loosening the ties that bind me to an old, outdated mode of being, learning to breathe deeply and slowly and really see how unique this present moment is, seeing how life has always provided me what I need, and trusting that it always will, it all becomes so simple. Life isn’t meant to be figured out, dissected, overburdened with assigned meaning— but one breath, one step, one moment, one day at a time, life is meant to be lived.
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…