Our brains are hardwired
for love, connection and belonging.
In the absence of these,
our system goes into
fight or flight.
I have been chronically isolated
for two years now.
Besides my children,
I have had no regular contact
with caring people.
I have been in fight or flight
for two years.
When your brain is in
fight or flight,
your human ability
to think and problem solve
by your reptilian impulse
to survive what is threatening you.
I have been operating
from my survival response
for two years now.
When you are in
fight or flight
for extended periods of time,
your system shuts down.
This is the burnout stage of stress.
I am burned out, traumatized
isolated, and terrified.
How am I supposed
to recreate my life in this state?
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.
Kids woke me up at night.
Lost my temper. Yelled.
Too angry to sleep.
Tossed and turned all night.
Morning came. Groggy.
Meditation was a joke.
Worried my teaching would be compromised.
Taught two yoga classes anyway.
Grocery store, card declined,
scrambling to scrape up money;
a girlfriend lent me the rest of what I needed.
(Had to drive to her house to borrow a card
and drive it back again.)
Turned it around,
read the kids a story.
Snuggled my son.
He said he loved me.
Then he said he loved his dad.
The he said he loved the other woman.
He said her name as we were snuggling.
The kids went to their rooms. To bed.
I lost it again.
I was slamming and screaming
This isn’t fair!
I don’t deserve this.
Slamming and screaming.
Don’t traumatize the children.
I asked my husband to get the kids.
I told him I needed to get help.
He came and got them.
My daughter cried;
she didn’t want to leave.
I tried to reassure her that I’m going to be ok.
I was trying to reassure myself too.
Spoke with two recovery friends.
Feeling a little better.
Trying to rest now.
Wish me luck.
I subbed out my morning class
I subbed out my evening class
I subbed out tomorrow morning’s class too.
The yoga teacher needs to stay home
and remember she is still a student.
Somehow my yoga is simply being with my body
in this state of illness, exhaustion.
I need to really feel and notice what has happened.
The worry and the stress wore away at me
and here I am.
If I won’t learn the lesson this time,
it will just keep repeating itself until I do.
I want to learn.
I am ready to learn.
And then it hit me—
not like a ton of bricks
like an angel giving me a little love slap—
I really don’t have anything to stress about.
I have food
I have shelter
My children are safe and healthy
I have a family who loves me
and friends too
I am able-bodied, able-minded
with so many resources available to me
to craft a life in alignment
with my deepest soul desires.
What in the HELL am I stressing about,
I put myself in hell and have wallowed in it,
only because things didn’t go the way
I thought they would.
Welcome to REAL LIFE, Lorien.
I’m ready to get over my damn self.
No more stress.
And like that, peace returns to my heart.
One could argue it never left,
but try to explain that
to a weary soul at 2:30 am
full of fear, heart bruised by loss.
But the dark night passed,
and the sun rose,
and the day marched on,
and I got done what needed to be done.
I was blessed by sleep and connection,
beloveds appearing with smiles,
open minds, open hearts,
and the desire to really, truly help.
Yes, the peace never left but in my mind.
It sure is wonderful to discover
peace was there all along.
When it seems like the ground
is crumbling away beneath your feet
and you have nowhere left to stand,
take a deep breath.
All is well.
The mind that thinks it knows what’s best
cannot grasp the enormity of this Universe.
Trying to problem solve
when we are caught
in a loop of neurotic thinking
Take a deep breath.
All is well.