A moment in time this week and a strange thought came over me. For just a moment everything stopped and became very still and the only constant was my breathe. This moment came right after a thought that I had about my parents. And my close friends. My children. My partner. When everyone I love is gone and if I’m left standing, all of the stories and opinions of who I am go quiet or become forgotten. Everything that Ive done, good or bad becomes something of the past, forgotten, and doesn’t matter anymore. Who am I? It was an intense moment and i felt my heart race. Starkness. A movement inside my heart. I felt an intense stillness on a very deep level. And then as I began to move into the next moment, this passed, and I began to feel peacefulness, like, on the other side of anxiety. This is why I practice. For these rich glimpses into full on awareness. They come deeply with deliberate meditation but occasionally in a moment, we get a peak in everyday life. This is why I have my everlasting faith. The dance continues. Web and flow.
When I was watching a documentary recently on Jeffrey Epstein and found myself so intrigued by the crimes that have been exposed recently. One after another. How the uber wealthy have been able to impose abuse beyond measure at the expense of the vulnerable. Good things are happening when people begin to know on a deep level that if something doesn’t feel right, we are worthy enough to speak against it. Powerful. But how closely should we attach ourselves to our stories and even our abuse. A woman on the documentary spoke of how he had ruined her life. It is so important that we avoid allowing what happens to us to be who we are and what we become. That we can most certainly rise above the things that have happened to us.
In my life I have witnessed so much destruction caused by addiction, abuse, trauma, suffering. All of these things are intricately intertwined with each other and passed from generation to generation, from family to family. It’s so tribal and ancestral. I have seen a best friend from high school destroy herself from alcohol, because of physical abuse of an alcoholic father in the home. Ive seen countless millennials annihilate themselves from neglect due to materialism or addicted parents due to trauma. Unfortunately there are things that we do not know until we know.
At my most painful and transitional times of my life, I have had a serious addiction to alcohol. I am grateful everyday to be off of that hamster wheel. But even now, as important as sobriety is to me, I am quite careful of attaching too much of my identity to my past addictions, no matter how strong they were. Of course, in a room full of recovery people, there is no shame in the admittance of being an alcoholic. I am above no-one and my addiction was as fierce as anyone else’s in its own way. I do not like associating with a drug that caused such pain and suffering to myself and those around me, including my own children. I am proud to be in recovery. But I find that the more attached that I was to my story, the harder it was in the beginning to get sober. Sometimes letting go of all of it, can lead us to the light. Not to say this is an overnight lesson. By far, but glimpses of consciousness and stillness can take us far. Realization that we aren’t who we thought we were in the first place. These moments are crucial at the beginning of any path to recovery.
Every one of us can think of a moment that a relationship was ended, a job was lost, words were said in moments that we can never take back. And this is only the beginning of attachment to our strongly held opinions and belief systems. There are videos on the internet of friendships across species being made. Ducklings being fostered by cat mamas, children having pets that are chickens or cows. There is an underlying law that can not be manipulated and destroyed. When the world becomes led with love, we can not go back. People can learn from nature. We are here to care about each other and to tend to each other. Creating a village that everyone is equally important, and everyone is able to shine their gifts and to serve and to contribute. Today, problems stem from commitment to misunderstanding, miscommunication, manipulation of words, and petty tyrannies. Aren’t we just tired of it all? And the deeper and more identified with who we think we are, the deeper that we find dissension inside.
Many years ago I was honored to be able to see the Dalai Lama speak in Oxford, Ohio. I remember him speaking of how important it was for us to love each other and to learn from each other. Why would we want to live in a world without diversity? Even the structures of our schools are so far right that we have lost art, creativity, music. We have suppressed children that are artistic and airy by medicating them as if something is wrong with them. Because they can’t sit still? It is absurd. In Ayurveda, our children that are anxious and fidgety and artistic by nature are Vata, and should be treated as such. They are meant to move, explore, and create. Not everyone is designed to sit in a desk for an hour at a time and learn in this way. It is difficult for many of us to learn subjects that have no interest to us. There is nothing wrong with the child, there is plenty wrong with the structure.
My Saturday morning Yoga class, I give so much of myself to. I begin creating this class on Monday, allowing my meditation to guide me. After class there is a feeling that swells inside of me while everyone is in Savasana. I love taking people on a journey and then seeing them rest. I feel that this practice is sacred. To me, it is my church. But having said this. It does not mean that it must be everyone’s path. There are many paths of light. My Mamaw was the first saint that I ever met. She was the most gentle person that I have ever known. She was a strong Pentecostal who spoke in tongues and walked with Jesus and I believe that so much of my passion for prayer and meditation came from the time I shared with her because at the end of the day, when I watched her pray, I knew on a deep level that she was certainly connected. This is the way that i feel when I have worked my body in practice and breathe and I bring my palms together. Stillness, and love. Connection. It doesn’t matter who is right. It doesn’t matter how many people came to my class. It doesn’t matter a mean spirited action by someone. I relish the moment. The way my heart resonates and how grateful I am to be on this beautiful earth. Every moment is of utmost importance. Underneath that when it all comes down to it, I know on a very deep level that there will be a day when the only thing that I have left, the one true thing, is this moment. THIS is all that there is. THIS is all that there is. Not how good of a Yoga Teacher that I am. Not how much money I have made. Not how many views my pretty instagram photos get. But only this. The feeling I get when Im in nature and all is still. When I spend time with my pets. High quality relationships. LOVE. I remember Eckhart Tolle speaking in The Power of Now of how all structures fall. This has definitely been the year of reckoning, awakening, broken structures. I love the quote, “Three things cannot be long hidden. The sun, the moon, and the truth.” Because if we really take a deep look in the mirror, we do have this one thing in common. We all die. Who are we, really? There was a moment in the movie DEAD POET"S SOCIETY that was so powerful. When Robin Williams took his students into the dark night, and the only background was the sound of the wind. And he showed the pictures of the people before that were all gone. We do not have to live in sadness and fear to realize our own demise, but we must look at ourselves as spiritual beings as we face our destiny. We all do leave this earth, and what can we truly leave behind, if not love.
Maybe tomorrow is the beginning, really. A new day. A new level of thinking. Once we are too tired to argue or be right or condemn each other. How about we all try something new. And just be.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing. Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.”