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.
Haven’t I suffered enough,
Or do you want to break me even more?
I feel like I’m already mostly dead.
Do you want me to die all the way?
I am a ghost in a body struggling to live
and it feels like a burden to eat.
And yet I must feed this body,
because there are two children
relying on me to be here for them…
and they deserve a living, breathing mother
who can help smooth their way through
this rocky journey of life.
Is enduring this pain the sacrifice I must make?
Is this torture of terror, uncertainty and homelessness
the very thing that’s making me strong
and ready to change?
But how can I change
when I lack the energy
to meet my most basic of needs?
When it feels like a burden to be alive,
how do I choose to keep living?
A teacher shared with me recently
that we humans live in a great paradox
of which we are innately aware
but which is so overwhelming
that it is the root cause
of our misery and all the behaviors
that arise from our misery.
The paradox is this:
Our consciousness is infinite
and yet our bodies are finite.
The awareness in us is as vast as the universe
and yet our tiny physical beings are fragile, vulnerable.
This paradox, and the tension it creates
is too much for many of us to bear.
And so we numb.
We get addicted.
We look outside, to escape
the tension orginating from the center of our being.
I have faced this paradox over and over
as I have watched my life dissolve
before my very eyes.
Everything I knew has been obliterated.
The consciousness in me can be at peace with this.
My body is terrified, suffering from complex PTSD.
Every day I dance on a fine line
between hope and hopelessness,
love and fear,
existence and non-existence,
infinity and limitation.
I can tell you, it’s a lonely place to dance.
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?
The struggle now
is between terror and peace.
Some days I wake up and feel fine.
Some days I wake up in terror.
There’s no rhyme or reason.
I just want to find home.
I want to create stability.
I’ve begun sending feelers out
in different directions;
I want to open multiple income streams.
I know I have talents and abilities,
but they’ve been buried deep within
for so long, it’s a process to uncover them.
It takes time to monetize one’s talents…
But I don’t have much time.
My eviction date is set for July 15.
I need to find a home.
How do I find a home
when I don’t have any money?
The people I thought were my friends
have all disappeared.
I guess that divorce, depression and eviction
are too inconvenient for normal, stable people.
What has happened in my life
that in my time of greatest need,
I look around, and no one is there?*
*Just wanted to acknowledge that there are people here who have been generous in expressing their concern…so I didn’t want to come across as ungrateful for that.
A deep and pervading sense of futility strikes.
Why keep struggling?
You’ve been fighting for two years.
Where has it gotten you?
All this hard work…
what has it amounted to?
People say they wish they could help,
but there is no follow through.
I’m learning that I would rather people say, “Gosh, that sucks. I’m sorry” rather than “I can help.” Public service announcement: Do not offer to help a single mother on the verge of eviction and then realize later that there is nothing you can do to help her.
$-25.38 in my checking account
Hey mom, may I borrow $100
until I get paid tomorrow?
I’m sorry to have to ask
but I’ve been out of
my thyroid meds for five days and…
$74.62 in my checking account,
driving to the pharmacy
This too will pass.
$34.63 in my checking accout,
I have everything I need
to turn my life around.
Louise Hay said
Money is energy
and an exchange of resources.
How much I have
depends on how much
I believe I deserve.
If that’s true,
something in me thinks
I don’t deserve very much.
According to my checking account
I’m not worth much at all…
I feel like curling into a ball,
shrinking away from the world.
I force myself to eat lunch,
and then I sit down
to do some EFT Tapping.
Amid tears and terror,
I affirm that I always have enough money
to live my most authentic life.
Now, God, what now?
We think 74,000 thoughts every day.
Over 90% are recycled.
Of those thoughts,
the vast majority are negative.
After two years of living in terror,
I’m ready for some new thoughts.
Future is up in the air.
What will I do?
Where will I go?
Where will I live?
So easy to go back to victimhood,
and blame the one
who made these children with me.
Recovering from the lies and deceit,
the abandonment, betrayal and loss,
some days it’s enough
just to get out of bed
and take care of the kids.
And now I need to take care of myself,
provide for myself,
fill up the massive hole in my chest
that he left when he threw me away…
And it has been two years.
Healing isn’t linear…
it takes many twists and turns,
and there are many in-between moments
of not knowing what action to take.
Healing isn’t linear…
I just wish mine could be.
I want to sit at the feet
of a spiritual teacher and ask
How do you live in peace
when there is so much terror
in the world?
My mind swarms.
many recent close calls
in my personal sphere:
the cyclist who almost died,
my sister who escaped collision
by one car’s length,
one of my husband’s colleagues
held hostage by her violent fiancee
subjected to hours
of extreme fear,
the trauma now,
the healing that must be done
if she will ever trust again
I want to go sit at the feet
of a teacher and ask
How do you find the joy
with so much sadness?
And then I remember
I am my own teacher.
So I sit down,
and I breathe deeply,
and I answer my own questions.