Tag Archives: self-awareness

This Life

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This life.
This tender, fragile, vulnerable life.
This perplexing, demanding, chaotic life.
This fulfilling
this disappointing
this crazy, ever-changing, remarkable,
normal, exceptional, precious life.
How my heart breaks for this life.
How my heart swells, bursts open,
bleeds for this life.
How I’ve had to be strong for this life.
How I am grateful, so grateful,
ever so grateful for this life.

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My heart is heavy tonight as I think of a dear friend’s partner who just last night succumbed to the story of his suffering and chose to bring an end to his time on this planet. I’ve been forthcoming about my own depression on this blog, imagining the peace that non-existence would bring. I feel so humbled and so shocked to hear that this brother took action on those same kinds of thoughts. In my darkest moments I’d always see my children’s faces and feel a deep conviction that I could not do that to them.

But this man had no children.

Recently my dear friend had wanted to reevaluate their relationship and had stepped back in order to redefine herself, her goals, values and priorities. I’m guessing that in the face of this change, he felt deeply lonely and believed it would always be this way. My heart breaks for him.

I remember that when my marriage ended I was flooded with feelings of worthlessness and shame. I kept wondering what I had done wrong, what was wrong with me. I kept asking what I could’ve done to avoid my husband leaving. I remember that feeling of loneliness and brokenheartedness, crying until I had no more tears, so much anger, the belief that the suffering would always be this intense. I remember the lonelieness and the pain of isolation.

But I was so fortunate. I had a therapist that I had been seeing for a while. I found my way into CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA) meetings. I had friends and family, and even though they didn’t always show up in the way that I wanted them to, they nonetheless provided support to get me through. And then there were countless beings out in my community, here on this blog, on FaceBook, on Instagram, on Insight Timer, in the yoga studio, teachers far and wide, mentors, guides and wise ones who provided words of encouragement, prayers, well-wishes to get me through the darkest moments.

I reached out so many times for help, and I got help, and still there were times that I just wanted it to be over. There were times that the pain was so intense that I didn’t want to have to live through any more of it.

So in a way I completely understand the reasoning behind this brother’s decision to just be done with it once and for all. I understand in a way that perhaps most people cannot possibly understand. And so I feel so shocked, so sobered, so humbled by this event. I want to be there for my friend. But there are no words that can make this better. Only breathing, one moment to the next, just taking care of basic things like eating a meal, taking a shower, trying to sleep, just one thing at a time.

Friends, hug your loved ones close. This life is so fleeting, so precious, and you may never know who is struggling on the edge of oblivion, trying to decide if they can keep going…

Listening To It

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I feel lost, alone, directionless, uncomfortable.
What is my purpose?
It says: You have no purpose.
But why I am I alive?
It says: There is no reason. You should end it.
But what about my children?
It says: They’d be better off without you.
And my yoga students?
It says: You’ve been lying to them all along.
It’s time they knew the truth.

But surely this will one day get better?
It says: Not for you. You will never be happy.
But what about nature? The sun? The forest?
The cycles of life?
It says: What about them? You’re still depressed.
You’ll always be depressed. Face it. End it.

But I can’t do that to them. To my friends. My family.
It says: Why not? They don’t care. Not really.
Not enough to help you or save you.

I know there are other voices in my head.
Why is It the loudest?

A Terrible Patient

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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
in neuroplasticity,
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.

Did I Offend You?

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Oh, don’t mind me,
I’m just over here trying to figure out
how to leverage my gifts, talents and abilities
so that I can create a financially sustainable livelihood
doing what I love.
Oh, I’m sorry, did I just offend you?
Does it bother you when I suggest
that it’s possible to spend time working
at something you love?
Do you think it’s impossible,
preposterous even,
to spend time working
in deeply satisfying ways,
bringing your unique talents to the world
in ways that will serve and inspire others?
Oh, you think I should just shut up and give in?
Does my mere presence upset you?
Do I remind you of something you once had,
but lost a long time ago?
Yeah, I do feel a need to figure this out.
No, I’m not okay with just shutting up
and getting any old job
to make ends meet.
I have two kids to raise,
and I need to show them what is possible
when you hold to a greater vision.
I don’t want them growing up thinking
that adulthood means you sell your soul to the system
so that you can scramble along
frantically attempting to acquire
society’s symbols of success,
meanwhile feeling dead inside.
Dead inside is no way to live.
Pardon me while I blaze a new trail.
No, I don’t know where I’m going,
I have no clue…
I’m making this path one step at a time.
Does my weirdness scare you?
Yeah, I want to be happy…call me crazy.
Not just with a drink in my hand
or a man by my side
or for a week of vacation once a year—
I want to be really, truly happy,
from the inside out.
Do you find my lack of adherence to social convention
absolutely galling?
Good.
I don’t care what you think about me anyway.

As I go through this extremely uncomfortable period of imminent homelessness, I’ve had multiple people get pretty huffy with me, instructing me to take a job even if I don’t like the job. They seem to be insulted by my conviction that I can figure out a way to make money AND be happy while doing it…so insulted, in fact, that they seem to want to discourage me from even attempting to figure out an alternative to what they’ve suggested.

As I become more accustomed to living with uncertainty, I’m starting to see people’s resistance to my vision as a sign that I’m really getting somewhere. At the same time, I’m wanting encouragement and support, not criticism and judgment. It’s lonely over here, blazing a new trail throught the wilderness of my chaotic circumstances.

I don’t want people telling me I’m being unreasonable. I could reason with them that my kids are watching every move I make and they are learning from all of my choices.. When they’re older and they describe me, I’d love to hear them say, “Yeah, my mom took her crappy circumstances and turned them into an opportunity to grow, change and evolve. She taught me that I could accomplish great things by believing in myself and loving my dreams. She showed me that I was free to become anything I wanted to be. Her example helped me to own my own power to create a life in alignment with my truest self.”

The alternative would break my heart: “Yeah, my mom worked so hard. She barely ever saw us and was tired and angry all the time. She sacrificed so much for us. I wish we could’ve spent more time together…”

Ah well, only time will tell how this current difficulty will be resolved. My task seems to be cultivating a sense of okayness around all the chaos and uncertainty and going with the flow of life. If it were easy and fun, everyone would be doing it. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. It may as well be me…

Option A

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I spoke with a man today
who specializes in the psychology
of humans being evicted from their homes.
He gave me some sound advice:
This is a low point;
you can only go up from here.
Money is no big deal;
you can always make more of it.
As long as you and your children are healthy,
everything is going to be just fine.
Don’t focus on two years from now,
just deal with whatever problems arise today.
You’ll get through this
and someday this will just be a memory.
It’s awful, but it’s temporary.

He shared that he had lost his house
during the recession over ten years ago.
It helped to know
that he was coming from experience
instead of blind sympathy.
My task now is training my brain to know
that I am safe in this moment,
and conditioning my nervous system
to respond with relaxation
in the face of challenge—
or at least to have a positive mindset
about the challenges.
It feels like a superhuman feat
to trust, to have faith, to breathe,
to choose my mindset…
But the alternative is despair.
I’ll go with Option A.

Ready to Heal

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Healing can come quickly if we’re willing.
When we take those first tentative steps,
the Universe rallies to our support.
It doesn’t take much…
Just a word, a breath, a glance,
just a hint of a desire for change,
and the great big ball starts rolling.
Sometimes it feels like nothing has happened.
The shifts are so exquisitely subtle
that no one notices they have happened.
But many such shifts over time
add up incrementally
until you look back and see
that transformation has taken place.
Let my new prayer be
I am willing.
Let me trust completely
in the power that brought me here.
Let me open myself to the endless love
of the Divine expressed everywhere.
I am ready to heal.

My Mind Is My Friend

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Not sure how or why,
but something shifted,
and today I feel better.
Was it grace? Luck?
The alignment
of the stars in the sky?
I went to be early
but was awakened at 1 am
by my neighbors’
loud conversation outside.
I’ve learned not to fight
sleeplessness,
but to do something
productive with my time.
I got up, sat for an hour,
and ideas began to arrive.
New thoughts.
Inspiration.
How different.
How refreshing!
I went back to sleep
and awoke groggy,
but nonetheless
something was different.
It’s as if a giant reset button
had been pressed…
And today my mind is my friend.