Winter's Reflective Power

I spent a summer telling everyone I talked to for more than 5 minutes that I had met the man I was going to marry.

As a teenager, I engaged in social rebellion and went around saying I would never get married, never work in an office, and never have kids.

Well, I ended up working in an office for a few years, and I had the opportunity to learn a lot about discipline and navigating complex social hierarchies, but there was a mutual decision that it was time for me to go.

I think it was watching Kill Bill volumes 1 & 2 that caused me to re-think the whole ‘no marriage thing.’ Or maybe it was just realizing that it was actually possible to have a good marriage from either an example or some philosophical book, or some combination.

Or maybe it was just my biological clock. Can’t say I really got any instruction on that thing other than a 20-yr-old aspiring high school history teacher explaining to my 20-year-old self that I’d better watch out for that sucker. Naturally, I scoffed, and naturally, I spent the next 8 years being very grateful *someone* had warned me.

Talk about a powerful subconscious motivator that is rooted so deep and intertwined with so much that its hard to ever fully know to what degree that influences decision-making.

 

So, at some point on the roller coaster of loving someone I intended to marry, I realized it was time to get off.

And, that realization made the rush of the highs and lows of the next few rounds all the more poignant. But eventually, I disembarked. I avowed, “there is nothing other than friendship in my heart for you.”

Well, he continues to not take too kindly to this. When someone says they want to spend their life with you, and then they don’t, it’s a hell of a thing, whatever stage in the process it happens.

 

Well, I’d never told someone I wanted to marry them before. I had never really believed I was that kind of person, even though I find marriage to be one of the most sacred, Godly tasks a human being can choose to undertake. I had a lot to think about, spurred by the devastating realization that I had contributed to the pain of someone whom I cherish.

 

It’s been well over a year now since I got clear in my heart that I couldn’t love this man in that way.

And the seeds of that lesson keep growing and rooting and bearing fruit. The garden of my inner landscape has richer soil, more beautiful verdant flowers, a delightful wild playfulness to the freshness of the breeze.

All born of tragedy.

Tragedy coupled with a willingness to do the inner work. To steady my mind and quiet my heart so that I could uproot the monkey mind and the hive mind and my ego to see what God wanted to grow.

 

I think everyone has at least a couple decisions from their past that they struggle to live with, as I have struggled to live with myself over this love I misnamed and dishonored. We all spend a lot of time running from those moments, pushing them away, stuffing them down, alternating with self-flagellation.

 

It’s taken me over a year, almost a year and half now, to fully feel the pain of my actions, that I may forgive myself and enjoy the new beauties in my garden.

Probably the most difficult challenge is wrestling with the fear of making the same mistake. That kind of fear unchecked just drives you over and over into repetitions, so that you can learn to relate to fear.

 

The number of tools available to cope with this degree of pain are myriad. We are so, so lucky to be alive in this time. There are all kinds of options and paths toward releasing the hell of our histories.

Do you have the courage to every day take that small step toward your garden? Even when you don’t believe its doing any good, do you still take that step every morning, evening, or afternoon?

Celebrating The Fruits of the Old Year

Arriving a few minutes before the New Year yoga class, I found myself in a nearly full yoga room. I took the open spot, front and center.

Naturally, with a class that isn’t in the normal weekly routine, and is full to the brim, class did not start on time, so I had ample opportunity to ‘find my seat’ and do a little work to prepare my mind for class.

She doesn’t seem confident up there. What’s up with that? Is she the teacher or not?

 

Her smile was beautiful, sweet and welcoming. The right kind of smile for a yin-style yoga class.

 But something was off. I sat with these thoughts as the class settled down and finished its various preparations of readiness. Was it me? Was I being unduly resentful and challenging, just because I’d never worked with this lady before, and so was caught in the vice of a lack of trust in her abilities and a high sense of hope and expectation for this special yoga class to be specially rewarding?

Or was she nervous and uncertain? Was it the natural nerves of a new class, or something deeper seated that my lack of trust was genuinely honing in on?

 Sitting with these thoughts as she went through her opening statements, I decided it didn’t matter either way. I was here, she was here, and class was beginning. I let my resistance hang out in the back of my mind as I began to tune my awareness, letting her cues and instructions guide my awareness into my breath.

 

I walked away, completely refreshed, with multiple new insights into my yoga practice that I was excited to incorporate into my home practice the very next day.

 As I thought further about the experience, I realized how the blessings of yoga had permeated my mind’s relationship to reality.

I didn’t need to suppress, fight, or judge my initial resistance. I didn’t need to draw any conclusions, was she going to be good, bad, or neutral? I engaged with the thoughts enough to understand them, and then chose to disengage when the breathing techniques began for the class.

As a midwestern oldest daughter, my mind has been doing battle with itself since as long as I can remember. The dictates of social decorum had won such a large swathe of ground in my being that I was completely disconnected from what I really thought and felt about everyone and every thing well into my 20s.

 What a lovely way to enter the year, a simple and organic insight into the fruits of the year before in my inner reality.



May the fruits of your labor to know and be your self be sweet and nourishing in the year ahead.

May your dedication hold fast through the donkey work, through the dusty, grungy trudge up the mountain.

May your steadiness of resolve hold fast through the exhilarating high of reaching the top of the mountain, so that your climb down the other side is filled with spontaneous spottings of beauty, and clear-eyed mindfulness of the approach of the various unknowns.

May your tribe grow in trust and truthfulness, as new depths open up to be explored inside yourself, may there be loved ones to witness, and to share the spontaneous touch of love.