Tag Archives: guilt

Let Yourself Heal


I’ve had this lingering cold since September,
finally went to the doctor yesterday;
she wants me to squirt stuff up my nose,
gargle with salt water, and rest.
I’m tired of feeling draggy,
tired of living surrounded by boxes,
tired of being tired.
So today, I rested.
And it’s nuts what the voices in my head tell me.
Don’t be lazy.
It’s not so bad.
Look at your house! It’s deplorable.
You should be ashamed of yourself!

My overworking made me sick.
And now I’m trying to get better…
but somehow I’m not allowed
to do the things that will help me get better?
Another voice speaks.
Discern the voice of truth.
Listen a little more deeply.
Hear the song of being.
Let yourself heal.

Promise You’ll Love Me


Who do I have to be for you
so that you’ll stop blaming me
and criticizing me for everything
that you perceive is wrong with this picture?
How do I have to act?
What do I have to say?
How do you need me to dress?
To speak?
To write?
What, precisely, do I need to prove?
What task must I perform?
How much money do I need to make?
What do I do too much?
What do I do too little?
How should I style my hair?
Should I wear make-up?
What should I eat?
How much should I weigh?
How many friends should I have?
How often should I contact them?
What kind of car should I drive?
Where should I live?
How should I spend my time?
When should I rest?
When should I work?
Can you give me a list?
Will you promise me
that if can get it right—
you’ll love me?

I Can Learn Something


I can feel the pressure building inside of me,
pressure to get things done, get things organized,
be better, do more, know more,
pressure to have a plan,
pressure to answer others’ questions…
It’s the dark time of the year,
and the darkness is bringing me down.
I don’t want this pressure.
I want to hide.
God, help me change my mind.
Help me welcome the pressure.
Let me see this discomfort as a yoga posture
life has given me to master.
If I can breathe through it,
I can learn something from it.

Only Love, Acceptance and Time


Woke up sick…
and now
I’m wondering how to be well,
even when I feel like this.
I have my kids,
it’s summer vacation.
Of course
I would’ve preferred
to be a fun energetic mom,
you don’t always get what you want.
Can I drop the guilt at the increased TV time for them,
so that I can have increased rest time for me?
I guess I’m going to have to.
Guilt won’t make me well.
Only love, acceptance and time will.

No More Waiting


I was waiting for an apology from him,
an expression of guilt and remorse;
it hasn’t come yet,
and it probably never will.
I was waiting for him to do the right thing,
to acknowledge his role,
to make things right,
but it sure doesn’t look that this will happen either.
I was hoping he’d awaken,
hoping he’d zoom out and look in
and see how his behavior
has been egregiously unfair—
he hasn’t awakened, and my hope
is turning to hopelessness.
The moral is,
focusing on the other
and hoping they will change
(when they don’t want to and aren’t capable)
will only lead to sadness, frustration and despair.
I’ve decided that I’m not going to wait anymore.
I’m going to move forward in autonomy,
thanking him for my freedom.

An Exploration of My Yucky Mood


Eh. A yucky mood today.  Maybe it’s because I still haven’t caught up on sleep since the move.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t been engaging in all of the positive adult interaction that a caregiver of children needs to feel sane. Maybe I just miss my tiny meditation room that I had at my old house the last three years…my cocoon room, my womb room.  I would close the door, turn on my little space heater, drop a few drops of beautiful essential oils in the diffuser, open up my journal, and write in peace. And warmth.  Now I’m in the thoroughfare of the house, it’s drafty, I feel displaced, and my inner child is having a tantrum.  What, she says, What happened to my room? Why was my room taken away?  This is not fair!  Why did you move me to a place where I can’t have my own space? Not fair, not fair, not fair! Yep. Inner child. Tantrum.

And then when my actual kids have tantrums, it’s like everyone is joining in, even the cat, joining in this fiesta of temper and reactivity. I need a vacation to a quiet place all by myself. And about ten deep tissue massages to smooth away the knots that have stubbornly refused to leave my body since the move.

There is guilt for complaining. Guilt because in comparison to many, my tale of woe is a joke. I have food, shelter, a family that loves me. There is no threat of bombs keeping me cowering indoors with my children, hoping that we’ll survive another day.  I have a job that I absolutely love.  I have a computer and fingers that type words. I have no right to complain.  And yet…

And yet, these feeling of disappointment, of unrest, of grief are real.  They are as real as my journal holding the words I managed to find to describe them.  Guilt is just another reason to stay stuck in this place of sorrow.  I think I need to let myself feel what I’m feeling, and maybe at some point I can move on.

Taking a breath now.  Hoping to write a poem that will help me make sense of all of this.

The Everything


Lost my temper today…
I was jumping up and down so hard
that when I went down in the basement
there was some thick wood dust
on my craft supplies
directly beneath where I had been stomping.

My kids heard me yelling and ran…
They were scared of me,
and then I was ashamed.
“Now I’m angry and guilty…great,” I told myself.

I took some deep breaths and moved on.
If we view emotions like the waves of the ocean,
they crash and recede,
crash and recede.
They crest and seem impressive one moment,
they become a flat nothing in the next.

Here I sit musing over all the waves that
flowed through me today.
Instead of fixating on the waves,
I’d like to notice the immensity of the ocean
that contains and holds it all:
the water, the waves, the fish,
the light of the sun and the moon,
the hot and the cold,
the day and the night,
the salt, the air,
the everything.

Early to Bed


Getting the cherubim to bed early
after our action-packed day
was the only way to preserve my sanity

the kids were falling apart and I was losing it.
therefore, BED TIME came early at our house.

Now it’s quiet.
Now I will take a big breath and…

a sigh of relief.

I will hopefully rediscover the good in me
the guilt runs strong with this one
I lost my temper many times this afternoon
and it doesn’t matter how many times I kept it,
how many times I flowed with forbearance
or moved with magnanimity–

the way my emotional system works,
losing my temper just once means
I have failed to be the mother I think I should be
having lost it multiple times–
I am worse than a failure.


who will step in to mother the child in me who is tired?
who will hold and cradle this little one
who wants to be understood, who wants to be safe?
my inner child threw tantrums today
outraged at the work she was being asked to do

maybe I need to put her to bed early too.



So, I was wild and crazy and took myself and the kids to the NCR trail today.  I put my bike on the rack, dusted off our helmets, made a picnic lunch, checked and double checked to make sure we had enough water, enough diapers, changes of clothes, and we managed to make it out for a bike ride.  I hitched up the bike trailer for the two kids to ride in, put their helmets on them, strapped them into the trailer seats, gave them each a bag of raisins and crackers to placate them enough to give me peace for about five minutes of ride time, and off we went.

In the past, the kids are slapping at each other and knocking their helmets together after only a few minutes.  I cannot blame them, it’s close quarters in the trailer and young children are not made to be sitting still for long.  So having learned my lesson from my past experiences, today I determined that it would be wise to plan on quick bouts of riding in between some moments of freedom for the little ‘uns to get out and stretch their legs.

My plan worked.  Five minutes in, we stopped off at a bridge, and I got them out of the trailer so they could have a look at the water.  My daughter naturally then wanted to chuck rocks into the water, a favorite childhood pastime, so we hunted around in the already picked over gravel to find rocks worthy of chucking.  There was a high chain link fence lining both sides of the bridge, presumably to prevent unplanned aquatic adventures among the younger travelers, so each time they were ready to throw I had to hold the kids up high enough to give their rocks a good trajectory into the water.  My son was squealing and chuckling every time I lifted him up; my daughter said she could do it on her own, but after a few failed attempts, she had me hold her up too.  About twenty stones were chucked before it was time to get back in the trailer and ride to our picnic spot.

Another five minutes on the trail, and we pulled over to a spot with a bench that was partially shaded by a well-placed tree.  Sandwiches, crab chips, and dried mango slices made a delicious picnic…doesn’t everything taste better when you’re outside?  There was a monarch butterfly flitting around some lovely little purple flowers, and my daughter spoke to it in a conversational tone.

“Hiii!  Hiiii butterfly!  I know you just want to be understood!”  Okay, she’s four.  Where did that come from?  I’m glad she understands the needs of butterflies.  Warms my heart.

Pretty soon an older gentlemen appeared on the trail with two fishing poles, watched my kids starting to go down the steps toward the river, and warned me to not let them go down there.  I chased after them, thinking that there would at least be a riverbank or something at the bottom of the steps, and discovered that no, the water was clear up to the landing right at the bottom. And, there was poison ivy poking out of the railing, which, um…NO THANK YOU. So I collected them back to me, and we marched upwards to the trail.  I told the gentleman that there sure was lot of poison ivy down there, and he replied, “It’s not the poison ivy I’m worried about, that water is much deeper than it looks.  With last night’s rain, everything is flooded.”

Yikes.  I added May I never have to jump into a muddy river to save my child from drowning to my list of things I never want to have to do as a parent.  Other items on the list include: May I never have to give them the Heimlich maneuver, May I never have to catch their throw up in public, May I never ever be caught again without a change of clothes and a poop accident on my hands…

After a time my son was being a little too adventurous and I could feel myself tensing up…river on one side, parking lot on the other, and it occurred to me that stopping while we were ahead would be yet another good plan.  So we packed everything up and headed back to where we had parked our car.  We had ridden about two miles.

In the olden days before husband and children, I would ride 40 miles on the trail within a matter of hours, no problem.  I would feel the wind buzzing past my ears, I’d have my hydration pack strapped to my back, and I’d be peddling like–as my dad likes to say–a bat outta hell.  The freedom of whizzing through the forest, watching the scenery change, passing people jogging or strolling along, nodding to fellow cyclists, smiling and saying hello to any friendly person.  Yep, 40 miles, no problem.

But things are different now.  I’m a mom, and there is no way my kids are going to sit mutely and let me ride like the wind for hours on end.  And I don’t want them to sit mutely.  I know that they want to live too.  They want to run and play and enjoy being free to whoop and dance and squeal and bounce…and I want them to know that their freedom matters to me.  So just four miles today, and it was a good day, because I balanced my desire to ride with my desire to skillfully meet my children’s needs.

Back at the car I gave the kids drinks that I had kept in a cooler and let them run around the grassy knoll bordering the parking lot before we began our drive back home.  Trailer packed up and in the trunk, bike hitched to the rack, both kids in their car seats, yeah, I got this.  I haven’t lost my temper once!  I’m on a roll!

But then we got home, and they were tired, and I was tired, and jeez…things deteriorated rapidly.  I don’t have to get into it.  I’m sure many of you can imagine what went down between the time we got home and the time I got them bathed, fed, and in bed.  The poem above says it all…I started off the day feeling like I was a pretty awesome mom, and that feeling continued into the afternoon, but then I finished the day wishing that I could keep my temper in check for the whole day, not just half of it.

Ah well, one day at a time, one step at a time, one thought at a time.  It’s not even 8pm, and I’m posting!  I’ll meditate, and then early to bed for me too.



Make the Shadow Dance


I’m feeling crummy, so I’m going to attempt keep this brief, although brevity isn’t one of my strong points, especially when I feel a need to vent.  This has been a long day full of obstacles, and now I am exhausted.   Of course what I call obstacles, others may call opportunities, but because of the way I feel, they certainly seemed like obstacles to me.  It’s funny, predictable really, how physical illness makes every challenge seem heavy, insurmountable.

My husband has had a nagging cough for nearly two weeks now, and he kept me up with it for multiple nights in a row.  In the middle of the night last night, I ended up dragging myself upstairs to the guest room hoping for some sleep, but you know how it is when you wake up enough to change your locale in the middle of the night, now your whole system has been aroused, and it fights going back to sleep.  Needless to say, I was doubtful when I woke up this morning that I would feel together enough to teach a stellar yoga class.  Because of my lack of energy, I decided it would be wise to teach a gentler, slower-paced class, a more restorative type class, instead of a crack the whip and show no mercy vinyasa class.  I felt pretty good planning to teach a more mellow sequence, and was optimistic when I left the house in spite of the lack of sleep and feeling nauseous.

But then I arrived at the studio and there was no receptionist to check students in.  And I had a bunch of new students arrive, which meant that I needed to get them registered, and I needed to take people’s payment, and I needed to reconcile the number of students in the room with the number of names signed in–when usually during this time I’m in the room meeting and greeting students, making sure everyone has their props, making sure the room is comfortable, getting mentally ready to lead everyone through some (hopefully) transformative asana and breath work.  Having to fulfill both the roles of receptionist and teacher  all at once left me feeling a bit flustered–and as luck would have it–on this particular day, there were more students than I had had in several weeks, which meant that by the time I had everyone checked in, it was three minutes past the time class was supposed to start, and now I had to rush around helping the new students get their props.   Whew.

I apologized for beginning late, asked if we could go five minutes over, and thanked everyone for bearing with me.  The class actually went quite smoothly; there were a few bumps here and there, but what else could I really expect? At one point I actually joked about how I was sleep deprived because my husband had kept me up with his coughing–and I again thanked the students for bearing with me.  Letting them know that I was having a human moment helped me to feel more connected with my students, and more accepting of the inevitable rough spots in my dialogue.  I really do think I did pretty well considering.  After class multiple students–even the new ones–came up and thanked me and reassured me that it was a great class.  I’m so grateful for their kindness and understanding and for their appreciation.  It somehow made it all okay.

But then, there were multiple delays as I tried to get back home to my kids, more frustration thrown into the mix. The kids were being watched by one of my long time students who showed great mercy last week and answered my cry for help, agreed to come watch the kids when no one else was available.  Whew, she’s a life saver.  One of her daughters was in town, and I didn’t want to keep her from their visit, but of course one delay after another cropped up on my journey home, and I ended up feeling guilty for eating into their time.

And then, feeling sick, I plopped myself and the kids in front of the TV after lunch, because I just didn’t have the energy to take them out on this amazingly beautiful May day. More guilt. The kids should be outside playing.  You should gather up your energy and take them outside and let them breathe some fresh air. Yep, guilt.

I’m feeling more ill with each passing minute; I’m not sure if I have a stomach bug or not, but I just want to lie down and I still want to meditate at least for a few minutes before I turn in.  So I’ll wrap this post up with the recognition that I have a long way to go before I can bask in some genuine self-acceptance.  The undercurrent of this whole day is one of not being good enough, and guilt for that.  It seems healing is called for on multiple levels, some much deeper than this physical body that isn’t feeling so great at present.

And so, for my poem of the day, something about guilt, something about healing.


We cannot escape our shadow,
so why not make it dance?

If we see the shadow,
it only means we’re standing close to the light.

If we turn to face the light,
and set down all of the perceived burdens–
guilt, fear, shame, blame, anger, dissatisfaction–

What would emerge in the space left behind?

If I dropped the story,
“I am not good enough”
Who then would I be?

Have I identified with this story for so long
that I am afraid to see who I am without it?

Let me drop the story along with the burdens
and wave my arms and laugh at the sky
and let my tears fall
and for one moment of freedom,
realize, it’s all okay.

Freezing Rain


There was a freezing rain advisory in effect this morning until noon. It has been cold here the last few days, and the ground has been frozen, so any precipitation was expected to freeze on contact. I got myself worked up about having to drive in unsafe road conditions, and interrupted my meditation to text two of my yoga teacher colleagues to ask for help. The first one was teaching the class before mine so I asked him to let me know what his drive was like. The second one lives near the yoga studio, so I asked her if she could sub for me if the roads were treacherous.

My husband made fun of me when I told him how worked up I was getting. “Marylanders,” he said, shaking his head.  I actually got bent out of shape with his teasing. The PMS hormones were still having their way with me and I’m not good at taking jokes at that point.

“The roads are not too bad, but be careful,” my one colleague told me. The other told me she’d be willing to teach, just let her know. Not too bad? What does that mean? I hate driving in ice. I hate sharing the road with people who don’t know how to safely navigate in wintry weather. My anxiety continued to rise until I was in quite a state as I was getting ready to leave. I even screamed maniacally at the hubby when he attempted to argue with me about something that I found inconsequential. I wanted a moment to get ready and asked him to let me be. When he stood there, telling me that he couldn’t believe I was reacting in that way, I just kind of lost it and reacted even worse. “GET OUT OF MY FACE!” I told him.

I left the house feeling pumped full of adrenaline, and had to take some really slow, deep breaths to talk myself out of my anxiety storm. I felt really guilty for blowing up at my husband. Ashamed that I didn’t have more self-control. Remorseful for letting it get to that point.

It turns out that the roads were fine.

I hoped that none of my yoga students would be scared away by the forecasted weather. As I pulled into the studio parking pad way earlier than normal, I wondered if I could fit my own practice in before my students arrived. The room was nice and warm. I rolled out my mat and sang a couple of kirtan songs to the empty room. I felt soothed by my own voice, glad to be there early, having that moment to mentally prepare for teaching.

Twenty-one students showed up, ready to move and breathe. Twenty-one wonderful, willing, open human beings, so eager to learn and explore. I love my job. I’m so grateful for my students.

I left the studio feeling calm and centered. I called Cliff to check in; he sounded fine, the kids were fine, down for nap. Everything was back to normal. The events of this morning stood as a reminder that I still have so much work to do to master my mind and its fluctuations, its temper tantrums, its reactivity.

I wondered if I would ever get to the point that I wouldn’t explode with anger when faced with life’s daily challenges. Will I ever be that patient, and aware, and centered?

The weather will change, and hopefully so will I. Someday the clouds will part and reveal the clear blue sky. Maybe my moods are like this changing weather. I can’t really choose sunshine or rain, but I can choose how I experience them.  Perhaps my work isn’t to eliminate the anger and the anxiety, but to hold space for them, to let them come, and then to let them go. Just like drops of rain falling on the windshield on a cold January morning, I can watch them rolling down, down, and away.