It turns out that the more attention
I give to these positive feeling states
the more my brain creates circuitry
to support the experience of those states
in my body, mind, and life.
My mind has been focused on suffering
and now it is time for a new habit.
God, give me the strength
to focus on how I really want to feel.
I give the good medicine that heals.
My voice carries magic
that soothes, uplifts and restores.
My touch brings life and renewal.
I watch as tension melts away
and peace returns to those
who come seeking the healing I offer.
I instruct them to remain present.
I remind them that we only have this now.
I can articulate perfectly
how our brains are hardwired
to remember negative information,
and how there is so much hope
our brain’s capacity to be reshaped.
I marvel at this ability
to give my students what they need,
to instruct poses that strengthen,
balance, reshape and empower,
to guide their breathing,
slow their heart rates
and allow the present moment
to blossom like a flower within them.
But when it’s time for me
to take my own medicine—
well, let’s just say
that I’m a wonderful doctor
but a terrible patient.
When faced with imminent homelessness
and being met with obstacle after obstacle
to securing a home for myself and my kids—
what real choice is there?
I can choose to be present and experience peace,
or I can choose to focus on the future
and feel terror.
The choice seems so easy, doesn’t it?
Just stay present. Just choose peace.
But then there is the reality of being human,
having been trained to avoid the present moment
for most of my life.
Yes, even as a yoga teacher,
even with my daily meditation practice
(over seven years now of daily meditation)
I still find it extraordinarily difficult
just to remain present.
There are so many ways I’ve learned
to just not be here. To just not feel.
I see that my body has been terrified for a long time,
perhaps since childhood…
perhaps I carry the terror of ancestors
struggling to survive,
a terror encoded in my genes
that no amount of therapy could cure.
My task becomes a reconditioning
of this body-mind,
to retrain my nervous system to udnerstand
that in this moment, I am safe.
In this moment, all is well.
Until I am able to gain more footing
on this path of peace,
I’ll need to be content with the space
between peace and terror,
and reconcile the one who is afraid
with the one who soothes, reassures, calms and holds.
God, let me find the One within me
that knows just what to do and what to say
to always bring me back home to the ground of being,
this moment where PEACE IS within me,
despite the chaos the swirls around on the outside.
If I could take a step back long enough
and see that I never needed to worry
because everything always works out
(doesn’t it?) in the end…
And if I could stop, relax, take a deep breath,
p a u s e
Might I see that all the “problems” I perceived
were merely thoughts in my mind,
and that I was fully capable
of thinking other thoughts?
And might the freedom of this
bubble up as a great big laugh,
because all along,
I was the warden and the prisoner both,
and the one who witnessed,
and the space where all of these exist?
Yes, I might just laugh and laugh
and not even notice
how much of a fool
I’ve become in the eyes of everyone else.
I would welcome such foolishness.
I awoke in terror
in the middle of the night.
I tried to sleep,
but eventually got up.
It was 3am.
I sat, breathed,
forced myself to smile.
I read from my daily devotionals
(nine in all),
ate some breakfast,
went back to bed.
It was 5am.
Then my son woke me up.
It was 6:30am.
I asked him
to get himself some cereal.
At 7 years old,
he can do that
I tried to sleep.
I did, for a little while.
Then I got up. Again.
It was 8:42am.
I made it through final preparations
for teaching a yoga class
and leading a training.
The sitter came to watch my kids,
I drove to the studio
and found myself
in front of a room full of students.
It was 11:45 am.
I taught my class,
drove to another studio
and found myself
in front of a room full of teachers.
It was 2pm.
I led a four hour training,
drove back home,
took care of my kids,
got them showered,
settled down here at my desk.
It was 8:51pm.
Now I’m feeling crazy.
It’s 9:08 pm.
I have no idea where my mind is.
somewhere around 3am.
I asked Spirit for guidance
regarding the way
I want to experience
Breathe and smile real big, darling,
breathe and smile real big.
Take a breath, now,
long, slow and deep—
how do you feel?
Just one breath,
just one breath,
long, slow and deep—
You are peace.