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.
Sitting in ceremony this weekend,
I realized how very much my mind
still wants this moment to show up differently
and how much suffering
this wanting things to be different
stirs up in my life.
If I could only love and accept this moment as it is,
how would my experience be different?
Could I soften into this beauty?
Could I accept my own wholeness, my completeness?
Could I love this journey I’m on,
and learn to accept that uncertainty
is an integral part of the adventure?
I’m walking on the razor’s edge
between acceptance and resistance,
every moment, between peace and suffering.
I see how much choice I have,
and how much responsibility
to make the choice that will help and heal
instead of hurt and hinder.
As a mother, the choice becomes even more impactful.
My kids are watching me make meaning
out of all of these life experiences.
I’m teaching them every moment
how to love or how to fear this life.
God, please show me how to love.
God, show me how to love this life,
so that by the time my kids are my age,
they’ll know which choice to make.
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.
The abandoned one (A0)
and the yoga teacher (YT)
have a conversation:
AO: I can’t do this. I’m too hurt. I’m too scared.
YT: Just breathe. In this moment you are safe.
AO: I hate him. I am so angry at him
for doing this to me.
YT: Breathe. Slow down. You are safe.
AO: I will never be happy again.
YT: You can only be happy now.
AO: I am broken. No one will ever want me.
YT: You are inherently whole and complete,
just as you are. Feel this. Feel this breath.
AO: I am depressed and anxious. I want to die.
YT: This is temporary, like the weather.
You will live, and this will change.
AO: I am worthless. I am so ashamed of my choices.
YT: You are alive! How fortunate. Breathe into
the center of this hurt, this sadness. Give it room.
Feel it, and then let this feeling go.
AO: This is too much work. It isn’t fair.
YT: This moment. This breath. Feel your body.
Feel your heart beating. What a miracle!
AO: I’m about to be homeless. I’m terrified.
No one is going to rescue me. I don’t know what to do.
YT: Slow down. Breathe. You are going to be just fine.
There is a roof over your head right now.
Love this moment. This moment is all you have.
AO: I’m just so tired. I feel so beaten down, unwanted.
YT: Put your hands over your heart. Close your eyes.
Breathe deeply. You are infinite awareness.
AO: Why me? Why this? Why now? It isn’t fair.
YT: That’s only one part of your mind talking.
Listen to the part that is grateful for change.
Listen to the part that loves you.
Listen to the part that knows you are powerful.
AO: This is too much work.
YT: Yes. Struggling is a lot of work. Why not try surrender?
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.
I’m still working on simply accepting this moment.
It may be a life long practice,
because as I really pay attention to it,
I notice that there is very little about this moment
that is like anything I’ve ever experienced before.
In fact, this moment is completely different
from anything I’ve ever lived…
and I realize that my mind that wants familiarity
was just painting a picture of the routine
over what I was living in reality,
and calling forth routine perceptions and behaviors
in response to the picture my mind has painted.
Every second that ticks by is a miracle.
Am I available to experience it?
This moment is a huge gift.
My children are changing, I am changing,
the weather is changing,
our circumstances are changing,
everything is constantly in flux.
Maybe I remove the blindfold
and see that beyond the routine
there is a fieild of infinite possibility.
May I awaken to my true nature there.
Watching my mind
to make sure I don’t allow
the anxiety to take over.
And I thought watching kids was hard!
My mind takes more energy
than a newborn infant,
and worries me more than a teenager.
It needs constant nourishment
(at least newborns sometimes nap).
At any moment
it could grab the keys
and drive off with no word
about when it’s coming back home.
I’m wondering at what point
my mind will be mature enough
that I won’t need to call a sitter
when I want to leave it at home
for a few hours
so that I can have a break!