I haven't written much this last year. I think because my father's words are still ringing in my ears ~ "If you don't have something positive to say maybe you shouldn't say anything." It's been a year of tremendous challenge for me. And often it felt as though there really wasn't much positivity to speak of.
Yet here I sit. The first day of a brand New Year. The winds, wild outside my window right now, seem so appropriate. Stirring things up. Blowing away the old. Making room for change. I am filled with an unmistakable feeling of victory. Somehow I'm still here. Somehow life keeps moving forward. Most of 2014 felt like I was continually bracing myself for the blow after blow that just kept coming. It started last November really, when the building that is home to my (brand new) yoga studio was signed over to a "new landlord". The supportive and uber-professional man that I spent almost a year negotiating my 5 year lease with decided (without warning or notice) to sign the building over to his ex wife. A woman who would prove to be one of the most negative humans I've ever encountered. A woman who seemingly finds joy in trying to continually shame, intimidate and attempt to destroy others as if it were some kind of sport. Then, December marked the passing of one of my closest friends and greatest supporters as my Dad died very suddenly. The subsequent months that followed are a blur as we went through the (incredibly painful) motions of clearing, organizing and dealing with all the unfinished business, and my grief stricken mother, that he left behind. Shortly after that my (brand new) business sustained a devastating flood. The first of three (THREE!) in fact that started the horrible process of dealing with the aforementioned landlord who then made me a target for her own rage instead of a tenant, paying good money, that she could be supporting (and working cooperatively and professionally with) to face the issues that continuously seem to arise at one of this town's older buildings.You'd think as a landlord happy tenants would mean an easier happier life. Not for this woman.
Like fireworks that just keep exploding the waves of challenges have continued. All. Year. Long.
The most difficult part of this year was the fact that I was never afforded a chance to just stop. To rest. To take time off to process all that was happening. With the challenge of building a new business, and the 2 part-time jobs I work outside of the studio, there simply wasn't time to slow down. So I just kept pushing through. And as someone who has difficulty with 'vulnerability' the challenge of this was absolutely monumental. Teaching yoga is not as "easy" as it looks. Especially when you are in the midst of your own series of crisis. Not only must you keep moving forward, but you're going through all of this in front of other people, all day every day. By February/March I had developed an ulcer and extreme digestive problems that caused me to vomit, uncontrollably, about 70% of the time I attempted to eat. I also started experiencing heart problems which caused fainting spells, a series of injuries (including a cracked rib) intense bouts of debilitating anxiety and somehow managed to accumulate an additional 30 pounds on my (normally) lean frame. My body became riddled with inflammation as my need for rest was never fully met and my cortisol levels never given a chance to effectively diminish. Several of my classes at times had to be cancelled as I would spend many sleepless nights writhing in pain on my bathroom floor, too exhausted to even move the next morning. Horrible...yes. But through all of this I am still here.
I'm sharing this because none of us are immune. Everyone loves to pretend that their lives are perfect and unscathed. But we will ALL, at some point, experience what I call these 'testing phases' of life. Some of us more than others as we have lots to learn so that we can be of greater service to humanity. And this is how Life teaches us. Like a compassionate divine mother we are ALL given exactly what is needed to grow. We are all served exactly the perfect portion(s) of challenges so that we can learn to overcome and thrive. Like the lotus, growing up through the muck and darkness toward the light to blossom and bloom, we are all meant to just keep growing. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Just. Keep. Going.
I experienced a couple of my closest friends retreating from me because they either didn't know what to say or do, or were totally intolerant to my process as I tried to navigate through the various levels of my grief while attempting to keep a business running and continuously recover from the unending 'episodes' of craziness. And yet, despite everything, I feel nothing but gratitude right now. Deep humility and absolute graciousness. I'm still here! To those "friends" who refused to support me - Thank you. You gave me the gift of learning to support myself. To my landlord who tries to make my life as difficult as she can - Thank you. I am so very grateful that I am not like you. You teach me constantly how to be a better person by never becoming like you. In fact to every single difficult person, every judgement and every challenge that came this year I majestically bow to you, to all of it. Thank you, each and every one of you, for serving my highest good and assisting me in becoming a better, stronger and more resilient ME. To my (slightly curvier) body - Thank you for slowing me down when I needed it and building a little extra cushion to help soften some of the blows. To my man, and my closest friends ~ Thank you, so much, for being by my side through all of this. I am forever grateful for your patience and your ability to see the real me even when I can't. There is nothing more powerful than your unconditional love and I am fueled by it every single day.
Nothing is ever just shit. There is a seed of light within every dark moment. Sometimes it's just a wee tiny seed, but it is always there....waiting for us to notice it so that it can grow.There is a gift inside every tear that is shed in frustration or fear.
There's a couple of things I know for sure:
Yoga is medicine. It will heal your broken heart and help you to recreate yourself at each and every stage of life. Food is medicine. It, too, can heal and mend you on every level. And Love is also medicine. The most potent medicine of them all. I will continue to love despite everything. I will continue to grow and I WILL flourish. This day marks the starting of my rebuilding. Some of you will get to witness this. But regardless - I WILL succeed. Because I am still here.