Oh, my sweets. We let so much garbage into the clean world village of our minds. It's gross, really, once you start really sweeping in the corners, lifting up the rugs, checking out what's underneath the beds, stashed in high cupboards... You find cobwebs stretched between rafters littered with hateful graffiti--*not good enough,* *failure,* *selfish,* *incapable,* *ugly,* and on and on.
And that's just the family-friendly language I've found up there. Anxiety is an acid and, my god, does it ever destroy from the inside-out. It is a bully and a tormentor, an artist in terror and a sculptor of panic. And anxiety is good, man. Good at hiding in corners, jumping out just after you've had the best day of your life, stalking you back to your warm, bright home, then sucking out that brightness like some rogue spirit.
Some days, it's all we can do (all I can do, anyway) to walk out of the house, despite my tools--my years and years of yoga, of meditation, of herbal...
Anyone can balance anything--a body, a checkbook, a schedule, a relationship.
But we don't *really* want to put in the time, the effort, the schematics, and the nitty-gritty discomfort it takes to find or (goddess forbid, topple) over that tipping point.
We might hurt ourselves, after all...
Well, let me tell you this: we're hurting ourselves already, trying to cram ourselves into days, lives, hours, jobs, relationships that don't fit. It may not be car-crash painful, but it's repetitive-action-forty-years-at-your-desk-or-on-your-feet kind of painful. It's wearing you down and you're too numb to feel it.
Or maybe you're not. Maybe you're just really, really good at ignoring pain, and eventually it becomes rote. Until (!!) someone or something pushes you (gently or no) OUT of balance. Suddenly you're forced into a new perspective and, holy cats, are you lucky if you get one of those opportunities. See it for what it is--an invitation, a hand up, a new skill, a Superman cape...
Man, one of the hardest things in this whole living-with-awareness thing is coming to grips with your own habits and motivations. Because let me tell you, even the most honest of us, even those of us with the worst ability to lie (and I'm one of them), are brilliant at lying to ourselves. We find so much comfort in these stories that we really, really, really believe them.
Until we can't. And that realization hurts--like pulling the world's stickiest band-aid off the world's hairiest limb. Sometimes it hurts so much you can't even rip it off in one cruel, but merciful, yank. You have to soak it and work at it, pulling it off little by little.
(Okay. Enough--too early in the a.m. for band-aid metaphors...).
But you get the idea. We're so nestled into these lies we've told ourselves over and over that we leave a lie-shaped indentations when we finally extricate ourselves from the damn things. And it sucks. It feels like a hangover and the flu and being hit by a slow-moving train all at...
I know it's hard to remain positive, optimistic, or compassionate in a world that can (still) support such hatred, such fear (it's all fear), and such politically popular (and popularized) segregation. Throw in the unknown reality of living in a climate that seems to be protesting along with us, and the question often becomes, why bother?
I get it. It's terrifying. It's also one of the reasons for the practice of yoga--now, this is probably another post altogether, but briefly--we balance and twist in yoga. We move our hearts forward, our breath forward, even as we look back, dispassionately but with focus and balance. We don't become wilfully ignorant of where we've been, but we honor it with our sustained breath and continued, if sometimes uncomfortable, presence.
But we move forward--our eyes to our horizon (or drishti, our point of steady focus). And as long as we're moving, this tribe--our people, our revolution--is going to gather. We're uniting on this sph...
I've always been a reluctant toucher and receiver of touch. I don't have a story or a trauma or a tangible reason for this, it's just always been true. And I always thought it was wrong--that is, something wrong with *me.* Other people liked being hugged, hugging. It just seemed so normal, so necessary to human connection, communication.
So, I became a Reiki practitioner, yoga teacher and herbalist, and I learned to touch people in an alter-ego way, if you will. And it helped--my personal reservation was completely removed and I found compassion in touch. Professionally. Personally, it was still, well, not organic.
Then I went to massage school--nothing like walking through the fire, after all... And, again, touching people continues to be an act of compassion, an organic, voluntary impulse. The most difficult, the most humbling experience is constantly allowing myself to be touched, a struggle. But. Less and less as time goes on.
Happy Earth Day, sweet herby-yogsters, sweet renegades of wildness, wilderness, foraging, and forging.
Go rogue. Get creative. We can't glue that priceless Ming vase back together, but we can make one hell of a functional piece of art. We can adapt. We can sit-in with our glue and our paints and our brushes, our creativity and our essential selves.
We can reclaim. We can't go back. We're not meant to go back.
We sit with pain, with knowledge, and let it build us from the inside-out. We breed compassion and empathy in our bones and we express it through our eyes, our words, our fingers, our colors, our kindness, our acts of grace.
I can't tell you how many books, teachers, classes, tonics, herbs, diets, meditations I've tried in order to find myself and my place in the world. I've been told again and again that we are born with that innate knowing, that seed containing a whole world of what we'll become, packaged with everything we could need for the journey.
I believe that. I do. But then I think I must be broken--why can't I find that stupid seed? Why won't its root just flipping grow already? Is mine defective? Or am I just a really, really bad gardener?
Or, is my seed a little weed (which actually appeals to me, no surprise), and here I am, just trying too bloody hard to cultivate it? Maybe. Or what if it's already full-grown and I'm doing what I'm supposed to?
Well. That's a possibility. But then, why aren't I happier? Freer? Lighter? I know I get that I'm in the way of all of that--believe me, I do. And I get glimpses between all the heavy-metal fencing I've put up around this poor wild garden I've...
You don't have to be one thing. You can't help your chemistry--what you're drawn to, what repels you. You can't squeeze an ill-fitting hat onto your noggin, no matter how you wear your hair. You just end up grumpy with nothing but a wicked headache to show for it.
So throw it away (okay--donate it; don't throw it away--that's just needlessly dramatic and wasteful...) and try on another. And another. Keep a shelf of hats in your closet. Hell, keep a closet of hats in your house.
Love how you look (or how you're able to hide--there are hats for that, too) and don't give a flying fig to anyone who tells you otherwise.
(Or, better yet, buy them a sweet Indiana Jones hat and tell them to seek their own adventure--you're already living yours).
No one can instruct you in the fine, messy, cumulative art of joy. You must hear the rhythm with your own ear, in your own heart. If you're like me (rhythm-challenged), then maybe it's just a beat--shifting: at times staccato, at times sustained.