Tag Archives: integrity

It Had to Happen

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I know now that it had to happen.
I’ve come to this realization before,
so bear with me, but you know how this works.
We keep circling and circling and circling back
to the same old stuff until one day we get it,
and we can finally set off on a new trajectory.
It had to happen.
I was comfortable, and comfort was making me complacent.
I knew deep down I was meant for more.
I longed to be met at my depth,
to be seen and held and loved by someone capable
of seeing my value and loving the woman that I was.
It wasn’t happening, and a part of me grieved deeply.
It wasn’t happening, and I resigned myself to a love
not quite deep enough to be congruent with my true nature.
I yearned for more, so deeply in my heart I yearned,
and a voice said that I was fooling myself,
that such a love wasn’t possible in this world.
I was determined to do the work inside myself,
to search for where I felt unmet and dissatisfied,
and discover how I could meet and satisfy myself.
Hence the meditation, the writing, the reading,
the sewing, the knitting, the kombucha making,
the therapy, the workshops, the trainings,
the research, the practice, the commitment to arete.
I secretly thought I was doing him a favor
putting up with his lack of depth, his lack of vision,
his inability to penetrate me fully to the core of my being,
to flower me open to bigger possibilities,
to take me open to God.
Well if this is it, I told myself,
then I may as well make the most of it.
So I kept going.
And then it happened.
He dumped me. ME.
Me, the mother of his children.
ME, his WIFE.
Me, his yoga teacher.
Me, his partner, his best friend.
He threw me away.
It had to happen.
It took a while, but I see this now.
At times I look jealously at intact families,
and I’m triggered by what was stolen from me.
But then my new mindset arrives and reminds me
It had to happen.
The comfort was making me complacent.
I had to be made extremely uncomfortable
to be forced out of this nest, this cocoon,
this cage of material wealth,
where my needs for food, clothing and shelter were met,
and the price I paid for it all was my authentic happiness.
I look back on who I was and I shudder.
I look forward to who I know I will be and I shiver.
I look within to the one I am now and I smile,
at peace with the fact that sooner or later,
it had to happen.



Teachable

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It occurred to me
that every second I spend
trying to get him
to give me the money
that is mine by law
is a second I divert my attention
from the mission
of creating my own money
by offering value to the world
doing the things I know how to do best.
I’m choosing to let go.
I was told not to hold my breath
so I’m breathing,
slowly and deeply
and with gratitude
that I can wake up to this moment
knowing nothing
and open to being taught.

Authenticity, Safety, and Purpose: Some Thoughts on the WHYs of This Blog

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Today I’ve spent a great deal of time in my head mulling over the virtue of being fully disclosed, vulnerable, and authentic as we reveal our humanity to one another, versus the way we’ve been conditioned to hide what we think will make others uncomfortable—so that we can pretend we’re okay, and just sweep things under the rug, and just get on with our lives. This blog has been a space where I’ve purposefully made myself vulnerable, 1)As a space to explore my feelings in what I considered to be relative anonymity, because, honestly, no one in my life has ever really given a crap about this blog, so no one I know personally has ever followed it, and 2)As a way to connect with other humans who are interested in exploring the depths of feeling and being along with me.

Recently, however, multiple people have cautioned me against disclosing too much, and now I’m grappling with the idea that I might have to succumb to this societal proclivity to play nice, whistle a cheerful tune, and lay low until the storms have blown over…or worse, I’ll have to just suck it up, push my difficult feelings down, and be on my own with them until the storms have blown over. In either case, I’ll not be able to express myself authentically as I have been doing, and that feels just plain wrong. I have come to look forward to this time of sharing, reaching out, and connecting with the humans in this space who are brave enough to stand with me in the truth of what it means to be fully, consciously alive.  I have come to value immensely the words of empathy and encouragement from those readers who have taken the time to comment and let me know that I’m not posting in a void, but there are actual, real people, reading my actual, real words, and my words mean something to them, evoke something in them…

Where do I go from here?  In light of the recent trolling, the sense of safety I experienced in the past has been dashed to pieces, and I’m being pushed to make decisions out of fear of legal consequences.  I’m full of questions and the answers aren’t forthcoming.  I was given the argument “But your blog is public,” as a reason for why I should never have felt safe disclosing my personal thoughts and feelings; I was always running the risk of someone I knew reading what I had written, a risk that hardly bothered me at all. I always thought to myself, “If someone I know reads what I’ve written, good then, they’ll know how I really feel.  They’ll know I’m human.”  To have the potential for unpleasant legal consequences thrown in my face in an attempt to deter me from honestly sharing my experience feeds into the belief that we shouldn’t be real with one another, being real is unacceptable, being real is criminal, telling the truth of our experience is undesirable, etc. AUGHH.  Or how about this one—we can only be real with certain people, safe people, and everyone else gets a persona, a fabrication of a false self that will do the trick of navigating social interactions while hiding the deeper truth that waits in all of us to be expressed.  

No wonder our society is rampant with addiction! We’re being told constantly that only some parts of us are wanted and acceptable. Only some parts are worthy of being shared.  All of the other parts get stuffed down, and while we’re pushing and pushing against them to keep them down, these unwanted, unacceptable, unlovable parts are pushing and pushing back at us to be expressed.  We use any number of addictive behaviors to numb those parts down so that they don’t give us so much grief, but they remain there beneath the surface, clamoring for attention and starting their push to escape once the anesthetic wears off.

I made a conscious choice long ago not to play the addiction game. Decades of journaling and seven years of therapy, over a year of twelve step meetings and lots of sharing on Facebook, Instagram, and here has given me a sense of absolute responsibility to show up as my full self, regardless.  This is my LIFE for God’s sake! Agreeing to back down now feels like a serious integrity breach, especially when, if you back away from the situation and look in, nothing that I’ve written is earth-shattering, nothing will sully anyone’s reputation…I’m just an ordinary woman writing about my ordinary life, and the fact that there are a few people out there who give a damn about it has been a beautiful bonus.  Give that up now, when most other outlets for self-expression have fallen away? NO!

I don’t know what’s next. I’m going to think some more about this and decide if YogaMom should go on an extended hiatus while I figure my shit out…and then I can come back as YogaMom 2.0…and focus more on healthy lifestyle crap instead of my mental/emotional crap. Ugh. Would that serve anyone, though? Would privately working through the ugly dark night of my soul and waiting until I got “better” to post again actually help anyone? I’m inclined to believe that our pain links us to one another and reminds us that in this crazy game of life no one is spared devastation and annihilation…and when Life wants you to transform, it will do it to you, regardless of how ready you are or not.  Sharing my story was a way for me to reach out and invite others to see that they are not alone in their own personal hell, but in fact, I am right there with them.  I’ve been operating within the vision that at some point I will get better, and anyone interested can follow along and watch as this happens, and that perhaps my journey will help others who are suffering to see that they can get through their devastation one day at a time, just like me.

Maybe, though, it’s time to just be honest with myself.  My posts may have helped nothing and no one.  They may have just been moments of self-indulgence, clear evidence that I don’t have enough maturity to process these difficult feelings on my own and therefore need to “over share.” I just don’t know. I probably need to back away a least a little bit to gain some clarity over what purpose my posts were truly serving.  If they are not bringing value to the lives of others, then it’s probably time for them to stop…

Time to Forgive

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And then there comes a time
when the hurt and the pain
are too much to bear
and the burden is just so great
that something must change.
And that something is my perception.
When I change the way  I look out on the world,
my inner world changes.
I see how my thoughts give rise to reality
and how my anger isn’t helping me.
I see that attempting to shame him
for my discomfort
is only doing to him
what I thought he was doing to me—
using me to tell a victim story.
I am not a victim.
I am the fortunate recipient of the life spark,
and I will carry it for as long as I am meant to.
I think I’ve said this before
(and recently)
But it’s time to forgive.
It really is.

A Chance to Walk My Talk

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A couple of posts back I mentioned how changing the way I drive–slowing down significantly–has caused pretty significant shifts in other aspects of my life.  I talked about how slowing down has helped me to feel like I’m much more authentic as a yoga teacher; how deeply inconsistent it was for me to ask my students to be present, to slow down, to not get fixated on the past or future, and yet not be able to demonstrate such awareness in my life off of the mat.

After experiencing the greater sense of wholeness, of being at home in my own skin, that emerged from coming to terms with my integrity breach and finally doing what I was asking my students to do, I naturally felt motivated to continue on that path of deepening integrity and search for other changes I could implement in my life today to live in greater alignment with my values.

And you know how it works with this universe, right?  You notice you are impatient and decide one day that you should develop patience.  Do you walk through a doorway and suddenly have the patience of a saint? NAH.  The universe sends you lots of experiences in which to practice your patience.  You get stuck in traffic.  Your child spills an entire pitcher of juice on the floor.  Your colleague stubbornly refuses to try a more streamlined approach to completing a project even though you’ve done it before and managed to get it done more efficiently.  Your spouse comes home from work tired, and sends misplaced frustration your way…

I suppose I asked for it.  I wanted to live the yoga I was teaching, so the universe is giving me lots of chances to practice, right here in my daily life.  Take what happened this evening, for example. I had forgotten that my regular sitter was out of town, and realized that I had no sitter coming just an hour and a half before my class started.  I was a massive ball of stress, stomach in knots, adrenalin flooding my system.  I tried subbing out the class, hoping  that someone would see my email and take pity on me.  There were no responses, so I called the studio manager, who gave me several phone numbers and encouraged me to relax but act quickly.

Three phone calls later, and still no one was available.  I could feel the anxiety rising–no sub, so sitter–I was stuck.  Luckily the roommate of one of my other sitters was available, and she made her way to our house as soon as she could.

I paced around until she got there, and believe me, I was grateful that she came…but now I was leaving the house just twenty minutes before my class would begin, and it was rush hour in Baltimore City.

When the sitter arrived and I got behind the wheel to drive to the studio I remembered that rushing doesn’t get me to my destination any sooner.  I have had  a chance the last few weeks to watch speeders rush ahead only to pull up right behind them and wait together at the same red light.  So I vowed right then and there to not speed.  To not think about when I was going to arrive, to not resent other drivers for getting in “the way.”

The ball of stress was very present in my belly and was threatening to eat me alive; although I knew that the studio manager would cover me for a few minutes until I arrived, I was fixated on all sorts of “what ifs.”  It was all very uncomfortable, and I was nearly out of my mind with panic.  But as I continued to drive slowly, determined to not add to the stress, something shifted.  Something in me had the awareness to notice that when I let myself pay attention to my mind, I could feel the stress intensify.  When I paid attention to my breath, I found myself relaxing.

All of a sudden I remembered that being stressed about this situation was a choice, and I could choose to slow down and reach for my more peaceful self.  It occurred to me as I practiced round after round of deep breathing in the car ride to the studio that I was allowing the teachings of yoga to trickle into my real life challenges.  They don’t exist in a vacuum.  We need to apply them and practice them consistently if we are to experience any real and lasting benefit from them

It was a chance to walk my talk, to live in the way I’m asking my students to live:  to be aware, to let go of the past and the future, to be patient, to be gentle with oneself.  As I noticed a distracting thought, I remembered to breathe.  When I was still a few blocks away from the studio stuck in traffic and the clock struck six, I didn’t allow my anxious self to admonish and belittle the rest of my self for being late.

It’s hard to pull the mind back from the brink of anxiety and impatience, but like with any practice it gets easier over time.  Instead of being mad at the universe for presenting me with a situation riddled with stress, I could choose to look at my life from a bigger perspective and encourage a more spacious vision to emerge.

Yes!  I did it. I slowed down, breathed, and accepted the fact that I would mostly likely arrive late.  I felt immense gratitude for the manager who taught my students for ten minutes until I was able to reach them. I remembered to breathe deeply, and to trust that this evening was unfolding exactly as it should.  Because I wasn’t in a huge rush, I arrived at the studio in a surprisingly calm frame of mind.  I steadied myself as I entered the room and silently thanked the manager for helping my students in my absence.  I was carrying my real life yoga into the yoga room, and it just felt right.

It all works out in the end, does it not?

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Don’t waste your time worrying about uncontrollable circumstances–
Trust!
Trust in this wide open universe.

Trust that this is all unfolding as it should.
Just breathe, friend, open your eyes–
This life waits for you right where you are.
This life waits for you to remember who you are.

Breathe, breathe, and breathe again.
Yes!
All is well now.