I found myself unable to continue in my 20-year marriage and was divorced in March. This was the single most difficult experience of my life, and I know it will remain painful for quite some time – until it isn’t anymore. Here is what I learned from this painful process:
1. GOOD PEOPLE SHOW UP TO HELP – BE GRATEFUL FOR THEM. These people took up the slack when I was not coping well. I will be forever grateful for my core staff – Karen, Jennifer, Sally, Gail, Bethany, Rita, Mary, Barbara, Linn, and Bonnie. You simply have no idea what you all meant to me this year.
2. FRIENDS ARE INVALUABLE – BE GRATEFUL FOR THEM. A group of friends took me in this year and were there for me through countless days and nights. Sometimes I felt like a mere zombie presence letting their banter wash over me. Other times they engaged me in activities I would never have done on my own. Thank you to Lisa, Nylma, Jason, Stephanie, Sean, Mark, Christina, Ben, Maria, Lori, Holly, Erika, Dirk. You were very generous to me this year. And thank you to Ann and Mary Ellen who gave me the space to go a little crazy and not be myself for a little while.
3. THE MOST INTENSE EMOTIONAL PAIN I CAN FEEL WILL NOT KILL ME. It feels like it might, you know. Then I would go to bed, wake up the next day, and realize, “Oh, I am still here.” This happened over and over again, and it transformed me. My friend, Sean, said to me, “You will be a better and stronger person at the end of all this.” Although I am still in the process of it all, I already can see that he was right.
4. FOLLOWING MY OWN NATURAL CURIOSITIES AND JOY LEADS TO GOOD PEOPLE AND PLACES. Zipping off an article for the hospital newsletter on how yoga helped a patient’s pain led to the development of a pain management program that really worked. This occurred when I didn’t have a lot of energy to create. It happened naturally and organically. In some ways I think of this as the Divine taking care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself. Again, so grateful.
5. IMPULSIVE DECISIONS AND CHOICES MADE DURING PAINFUL TIMES ARE PART OF THE PROCESS OF TRANSFORMATION. I made many different decisions than I would have the year before. As a result, I am having vastly different experiences than I otherwise would have. Isn’t this the point?
6. PRESENCE SAVED ME. Being present for students and clients saved me. It helped me to dwell in my true nature of ease, peace, and bliss despite the painful process I was going through. It continues to serve me in this way, regardless of where I am and what I am doing.
7. NO MATTER THE PAIN, THE CHAOS, THE UNCERTAINTY LIFE BRINGS, I CAN EXPERIENCE JOY AND PEACE IN ANY GIVEN MOMENT. I continue to experience this phenomenon daily. It goes back to presence. In any given moment, not much is actually wrong. And so much is right.
Shanti Shanti Peace Peace,
First of all, THANK YOU for being a part of the Living Room Yoga community. Your showing up allows me to practice my true calling. Again, thank you.
As 2011 draws to a close I can honestly say this has been a year like no other. Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth: Discovering Your Life’s Purpose, talks about how as we awaken to our own inner consciousness, we begin to take steps to leave situations, jobs, and relationships that are no longer functional for us. This has most certainly been the case for me this year, although it was nothing I would have predicted a year ago. In addition to some radical personal changes, here are the other things I learned:
- TRUTH. The truth is always seeking to come out – I can allow it to come out directly or it can come out sideways, but it will always come out. The consequences of not speaking and living my truth leads to the death of my spirit and energy. While speaking and living my truth may cause immediate upheaval – sometimes incredibly painfully so – but it is a necessary part of the journey to ease and peace. Living someone else’s truth never works.
- BALANCE. Living a life that is balanced between work and play, solitude and camaraderie, is essential to my health
- FRIENDS. I have so many friends – so many – who love me, support me, and want the best for me. Friends provide strength when I have none, levity when I feel heavy, truth when I am lying to myself, and so much fun.
- PAIN. Emotional pain will not kill me. I do not have to push it away or medicate it away. I can sit with it and make space for it to be there. I can allow myself to feel it fully, knowing it will pass.
- STRENGTH. I have more strength than I ever knew. And when I don’t, friends give me some of theirs.
- EASE. The road to ease can be rocky – and relative. I have spent the last couple of years on a journey to ease only to discover it is not a straight road. Sometimes there are painful mountains to climb and boulders to move. That is where I find myself currently.
- PRESENCE. Every encounter to which I bring full presence is a beautiful healing exchange.
- YOGA. I have renewed respect for the power of yoga, whether it is what some would consider simple chair yoga or an intense physical practice. I have seen transformation in the span of an hour, or even a half hour that never fails to move me. Yoga is truly my calling.
Dear Living Room Yogis,
At the beginning of 2010 I told myself this year would be about becoming financially stable again. It has certainly been that and so much more. Here is what I learned:
1. It is good to listen to my own instincts and intuition – they never fail me. They have earned my trust.
2. It is so much more effective and fun to act from joy and ease instead of fear.
3. It really IS more about attraction than promotion.
4. Things will only ebb so long before they flow again. Ebb and flow are inevitable parts of life.
5. Committing to ease changes every aspect of every aspect of one's life. It has certainly done so for me.
6. Maintaining ease contributes to mental and physical health.
7. Doing what I believe in is never wasted effort.
8. Even seeds planted long ago can be fruitful. I have been amazed and grateful for students from years ago showing up again years later.
9. Practicing non-attachment to outcomes keeps the joy flowing.
10. Surrendering to what is so FREEING. It frees up so much energy usually used for resisting. I really enjoy this extra freed-up energy.
11. Pushing and striving should be applied judiciously with a healthy sprinkling of rest and non-effort in between.
12. Nothing beats getting a good night's sleep. It really changes everything.
13. Intentions, whether they are in the form of pictures on a collage, words on a page, or a statement firmly made in the mind, are powerful and life-shifting.
14. Signs from God, the Universe, the Whole that Connects Us All comes in threes (at least for me). When something shows up three times I really pay attention.
15. When you act from your heart everything really does fall into place.
16. I am no longer afraid. That is really something.
17. Everything that is happening is what should be happening.
18. AfFORMations – as explained by Noah St. John in The Secret Code of Success – are powerful and life-changing.
19. Most people are good and truly doing their best at any given time.
20. You can choose your thoughts and re-create any desired state of mind at will.
21. You can drop into stillness and relaxation at will with practice.
22. When thinking about something that has happened it is important to stick to the facts and not make up wacky stories about the facts.
23. If I believe in any religion at all it is the religion of kindness.
24. The mind is the most powerful tool we have – we can use it to destroy or to heal both ourselves and others. Restraining and retraining the mind is crucial to bliss, contentment, and ease.
25. And finally, gratitude just may be the most powerful antidote to anxiety and depression there is with only the best side effects – the tendency to be kind and compassionate, to be happy and content, and to reside in ease and peace.
Thanks to all of you for a great year! I cannot wait to see what 2011 brings!