The Urban Yoga Den

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Jumping Off Of Bridges (From The UYD Archives) June 19, 2014

19 JUNE, 2014

A couple of months ago, I heard about a California yoga teacher trainee who committed suicide. Everyone in her yoga circle was completely shocked. They said there were no signs…

Last week, I received a gutsy, honest message on my Urban Yoga Den Facebook page about my “Jumping Off Of Bridges” post from March 2013.

“Even though we are strangers you saved my life,” she wrote.

Her Facebook note went on to courageously reveal:

“I’ve done yoga on and off since I was 14. Within the past 5 years I began to take it more seriously than ever. But, like all good things do when someone is depressed , it got pushed to the way side. … Deep down I knew I couldn’t kill myself… So what does any iphone user do? I Googled ‘why you shouldn’t kill yourself.’ And your blog post about the Philadelphia bridge popped up. I read it. And reread it. And bawled my frigging eyes out because the story was so heart breaking and because low and behold someone got it.”

Wow.

This, folks, is why I write how/what/when I do. The practice keeps me alive, and apparently, some others, as well. I recommend trying it…let us know how you really feel. Stick a pin in it. Don’t be alone. Write it out. Because I no longer say, “I don’t want to live.” I might say, “I don’t want to live like this,” but I know that “this” can change with effort…and/or angels. Because before I could even write usefully about this stuff, I had to first reach out for my angels, my life-savers.

However…I will say this from experience with dear ones who took their own lives: sometimes there are signs, sometimes there are not. Sometimes they reach out, sometimes they cannot.

I argue to say that: we are not saved by each other, but by our own seeking. Thank goodness for the times that we are compelled to reach out – for inspiration, for hope…for each other. For our angels who “get it.” In this, we save ourselves.

Love to you, my dear reader. I’m glad we’re both here to tell our tales.

Here, in retro, is mine…

*  *  *

JUMPING OFF OF BRIDGES
(MARCH 2013)

Five years ago this month, I was scheduled to jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge.  I wrote it on my calendar for March 7, 2008: “Philly.”  I was planning to drive from DC to see the Irish band Hothouse Flowers, get drunk, and then jump.

That February, my fiancé had broken up with me – with no notice, with little explanation, and without ever speaking to me again.

I was devastated.  This was the one.  This was the relationship that erased all of my past failures and illustrated all of my current accomplishments.  This relationship proved that I was beyond a painful history with men, and moving forward with a healed soul.  This relationship gave me everything I dreamed of: a wonderful man, two amazing step sons, an awesome dog and cat, and a happy household.  I hadn’t recognized that, beneath this perfect picture, my partner was harboring his own past relationship resentments, a dark and debilitating depression…and a deep longing to escape.

My heart was smashed with his phone call.  The pain of the loss was unbearable.  So I decided to kill myself.

*  *  *

By March 2008, I’d survived multiple suicide attempts throughout my troubled life.  In fact, I’d spent most of the first 37 years of my life wishing or trying to die.

GtownFoggyMorningKeyBridgeFlipped(Nov11)It seemed meant to be.  I was unplanned – conceived after my mother had a tubal ligation!  I once heard my parents fighting about money problems – saying that if I hadn’t have been born, they would be better off.  I developed a deep feeling of being an unwanted problem.

(When I write truthfully about my family, I always have to add: I love and respect my parents, and I love and respect my family.  I understand that we all suffered – even way before I was born.  The ancestry of pain leaves a tough road to travel.  We do our best.)

As a kid, my first suicide attempt was trying to smother myself with a pillow when my beloved Aunt Jeannie died from Cirrhosis of the liver.  Much of my family suffered from alcoholism and its related violence and neglect.  Despite this, Aunt Jeannie consistently showered me with attention, affection and adoration.  She would swoop in for visits, in all of her New York City glamour and flair, bringing gifts and hugs and kisses.  She was a star to me.  When she died, I wanted to die.  I didn’t know that it’s impossible to smother ones self.  I passed out from crying and took a long nap.

From there forward, I thrived on recklessness.  When I was 17, deep depression felt like a mid-life crisis; and I believed I would be dead by 34.  As I got older, I essentially divorced from my family.  I raised myself, nurtured self-destructive tendencies and geared straight toward danger.  I experienced sexual molestation from community members, rape by a friend’s brother, beatings by strangers and boyfriends, and more.  Other dangers included driving maniacally.  I once landed in a life-risking crash – after which I felt very angry to still be alive.

My next deliberate suicide attempts were as an adult, when I hit an emotional, physical and spiritual bottom while living in New Orleans.  In those days, I was convinced that everyone around me was achieving their dreams, while I was at a dead end.  My “romantic” relationships were abusive and empty, my professional life was non-linear and grasping, my connection to god was willfully severed.  After quitting a retail job, I spent my mornings, days and nights drinking and hooking up with strangers and street musicians.  I used my parents’ gas station credit card to buy booze and food.   And my worried and enabling dad paid my rent (bless his un-knowing heart).  My reality was shameful and sad, and it sickened me.  I saw no other way through, than to get out.  Within one week, I tried to kill myself twice, using different mixtures of alcohol and substances.  I woke up dazed both times.  And again, I was very angry to be alive.

After that week, it appeared that I was not meant to die.  (Yet.)  So I ruefully resigned to keep living.  Over the next decade, despite desperate, in-vain attempts to figure out how to decrease life’s pain…despite becoming a vegetarian, seeing therapists, moving all over the country, observing religious ritual, and even trying yoga, I would drink myself to oblivion countless times.

In fact, all along my life timeline, the most pervasive and slow suicide effort was my succumbing to addiction.  I drank alcoholically from age 11.  For the next 25 years, I would deaden myself to emotions, to growth, to the world.

However, despite what looked like a road to ruin, my journey took a transformational turn after I turned 37, in 2002.

*  *  *

Also by March 2008, I had finally enjoyed a sweet, 5-year phase of contentment and joy.  I had been working a strong program of addiction recovery and was 5+ years sober.  I’d been seeing a very effective therapist for those years, and was healing from my traumatic childhood and destructive adulthood.  Plus, although I started while still drinking alcoholically, I’d been practicing yoga for 15 years, and was feeling it gradually shape my emotions, my growth and my world.

So, when the February breakup happened, I was blindsided and felt betrayed – not just by my fiancé, but by life itself.  After so much transformational work, this crap would still happen?  Well, yes.  It would.  And I could not accept that.  So the March 7th Philly trip was planned.

Yet clearly, I did not jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge.  What happened?  Yoga, recovery and therapy – my power trio – gratefully intervened.

The addiction recovery program taught me to be rigorously honest.  Right after the breakup, I showed up at meetings, blurted out my pain and cried myself into a puddle on the floor.  I spoke about not being able to eat.  Recovery friends came to my house with irresistible Thai lemongrass soup.  I spoke about feeling betrayed by god and feeling that I would die from the pain of loss.  Recovery friends listened intently and sensed that I was at risk.

Knowing that I was planning to go see Hothouse Flowers in Philly – and that my ex and I had taken our 1st road trip together to see that band in that city – a recovery friend invited me to go to a Brazilian Dance class at a yoga studio with her on March 7th.   OK, she didn’t just “invite” me – she pretty much forced me.  Up to that night, I had primarily been practicing yoga on my own at home for a few years.  Being back in a mindful, intentional space felt healing to me.  I bought a class pass and started showing up for (and crying my eyes out during) yoga classes regularly.  I couldn’t believe I’d abandoned practicing yoga with others, in community.  Even the minor embarrassment of crying in public was far outweighed by that public’s absolute embrace and understanding.

Having skipped my March 7th suicide plan in favor of Brazilian Dance at a yoga studio, my therapist was relieved.  Still, because my depression persisted, she wanted me to be evaluated for psychiatric medication.  I visited her recommended psychiatrist, and had an eye-opening experience.

I described my lifelong desire to die.  I described the conditions of my childhood and my history of self-destruction.  I described my self-reliance, separation and isolation.  I described the breakup, the devastation and my March 7th suicide plan.  I also described my rigorous efforts in yoga, recovery and therapy.  I described my friends, communities and connections.

At the end of our appointment, he said: “In my evaluation, I do not see a need for medication.  You seemTouristShot to be doing all the right things.  For you, reaching out for help and sharing with others is 100% more powerful than any medication.”  I was shocked.  “Even though I recently planned my suicide?” I asked.  He countered, “That was supposed to happen on March 7th, right?  Today is March 31st.”  I had to laugh.  The psychiatrist explained that, in my case, suicidal ideation is a coping mechanism.  When I imagine or even instigate my own death, I feel relief from my pain, and start going toward the solution.

I’ve been trudging toward the solution ever since.  Life since 2008 has become more challenging, to be honest.  I have been through additional relationship betrayals; I have lost jobs; I have been mugged; and I have experienced other hardships.  My friends and family have experienced very, very tough trials.  But even with these troubles, life is not like that destructive past.  I am not engulfed in atmospheres of addiction, crisis and danger.  In late 2008, I became a yoga teacher, and my life now revolves around this beautiful community.  In 2012, I celebrated 10 years of sobriety, and I currently continue to attend meetings.  I practice the 12 Steps of recovery and the 8 Limbs of yoga to my best ability.  I strive to show gratitude for my own healing and to share transformational practices by being of service however possible.  And I have continued periodic therapy with the non-medication prescribing doctor.

*  *  *

Yesterday, I was driving from Philly to New Jersey while spending the weekend reuniting with some yoga teacher training friends.  Suddenly, I gasped at the irony – without planning this, I was driving over the Ben Franklin Bridge, five years after planning to jump off of it.  The previous evening, I had been to a Kirtan concert, where much water was consumed.  K.D. Lang’s version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (made “famous” by suicide victim Jeff Buckley) was playing on my car stereo.  And I was feeling quite distant from devastation, depression and death.

How could I not cry tears of gratitude and joy?  I knew at once that I had to tell this story.  I know people who, right now, are suffering from the pain of great losses.  Who are considering death and actively trying to kill themselves in one way or another.  I love these people.  I LOVE YOU.

I share my story to say: pain sucks!  And pain ends.  This too shall pass.  My healing power trio is yoga, recovery and therapy.  You might need or prefer a different combo.  No matter what, I urge you to seek what works for you.  To start – say “yes” when people offer soup, dance classes, meetings and conversation.  Jump off of that bridge in a different way – allow yourself to fall into the arms of others.  Surrender.

I LOVE YOU.  OM Shanti.

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When Things Go South August 9, 2013

“Grant me strength, as I go from here, to do your bidding.”  ~ prayer from recovery programsStormClouds

Today I want to be rigorously honest.  Today I want to speak as a person for whom the stars have never miraculously aligned in my favor, simply because I visualized an ideal, or “manifested” an outcome, or even, drastically changed my life for the positive.

Today I want to say, bluntly – my life has been one high wall after another.  Despite the best of intentions (i.e. leaving my beloved hometown of DC, and moving to Nashville in order to make a living amends to my father by being of service to him as he ages); despite the moral support and positive thoughts of friends; despite my daily routines of prayer and meditation and surrendering over and over…most of the time, things have not worked out in SuperMoon3SlowGrassa way that creates a sustainable or easeful journey for me.

So today, I want to frankly say – I have no hope.  Zero.

My efforts toward this definite move to Nashville are not yielding tangible results.  I don’t know why I keep praying and meditating; more and more I don’t believe there is a being who hears or answers prayers; I am terrified of not securing the foundational things I need to make this move happen; I am even more terrified of not securing the foundational things I need to create a sustainable life in Nashville.

But.

I keep going through the motions.

Every day, I wake up and do my Sadhana.  I say the prayers.  I do the yoga practices.  I surrender to my spiritual routine.  And I don’t do this to get some kind of payback that will add up to a miraculously easeful future.  I do them for the sake of the present moment.  And then the next.  And the next.

I am here to serve.  Whether it’s to serve my current yoga students by remaining peaceful during stressful times, or, to cheerfully serve our pizza customers at my restaurant job – I am here to be a part of the cycle of one being showing up for another.  Breath by breath.  Moment to moment.  One day at a time.

SunriseFinalDayTo maintain an ounce of positive forward momentum during this very demanding period of great transition, related emotions, inevitable doubt and endless To-Do Lists – I continue to force myself to ask for help, even though I feel like I’m asking too much; I stay focused on the ways that others do show up for me; I concentrate on the present moment as much as possible; I put my blind faith in a mysterious universe whose directions, plans and designs are beyond my comprehension; and frankly – I pretend.  For myself, not others – I pretend to have hope.

Most importantly, even during the most doubtful times, I act as if I believe in a higher being who has my back, as I attempt to hurdle yet another high wall.

“Grant me strength, as I go from here, to do your bidding.”  OM Namah Shivaya.

May you find the strength to hurdle your walls.  OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

 

Jumping Off Of Bridges March 25, 2013

Five years ago this month, I was scheduled to jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge.  I wrote it on my calendar for March 7, 2008: “Philly.”  I was planning to drive from DC to see the Irish band Hothouse Flowers, get drunk, and then jump.

That February, my fiancé had broken up with me – with no notice, with little explanation, and without ever speaking to me again.

I was devastated.  This was the one.  This was the relationship that erased all of my past failures and illustrated all of my current accomplishments.  This relationship proved that I was beyond a painful history with men, and moving forward with a healed soul.  This relationship gave me everything I dreamed of: a wonderful man, two amazing step sons, an awesome dog and cat, and a happy household.  I hadn’t recognized that, beneath this perfect picture, my partner was harboring his own past relationship resentments, a dark and debilitating depression…and a deep longing to escape.

My heart was smashed with his phone call.  The pain of the loss was unbearable.  So I decided to kill myself.

*  *  *

By March 2008, I’d survived multiple suicide attempts throughout my troubled life.  In fact, I’d spent most of the first 37 years of my life wishing or trying to die.

GtownFoggyMorningKeyBridgeFlipped(Nov11)It seemed meant to be.  I was unplanned – conceived after my mother had a tubal ligation!  I once heard my parents fighting about money problems – saying that if I hadn’t have been born, they would be better off.  I developed a deep feeling of being an unwanted problem.

(When I write truthfully about my family, I always have to add: I love and respect my parents, and I love and respect my family.  I understand that we all suffered – even way before I was born.  The ancestry of pain leaves a tough road to travel.  We do our best.)

As a kid, my first suicide attempt was trying to smother myself with a pillow when my beloved Aunt Jeannie died from Cirrhosis of the liver.  Much of my family suffered from alcoholism and its related violence and neglect.  Despite this, Aunt Jeannie consistently showered me with attention, affection and adoration.  She would swoop in for visits, in all of her New York City glamour and flair, bringing gifts and hugs and kisses.  She was a star to me.  When she died, I wanted to die.  I didn’t know that it’s impossible to smother ones self.  I passed out from crying and took a long nap.

From there forward, I thrived on recklessness.  When I was 17, deep depression felt like a mid-life crisis; and I believed I would be dead by 34.  As I got older, I essentially divorced from my family.  I raised myself, nurtured self-destructive tendencies and geared straight toward danger.  I experienced sexual molestation from community members, rape by a friend’s brother, beatings by strangers and boyfriends, and more.  Other dangers included driving maniacally.  I once landed in a life-risking crash – after which I felt very angry to still be alive.

My next deliberate suicide attempts were as an adult, when I hit an emotional, physical and spiritual bottom while living in New Orleans.  In those days, I was convinced that everyone around me was achieving their dreams, while I was at a dead end.  My “romantic” relationships were abusive and empty, my professional life was non-linear and grasping, my connection to god was willfully severed.  After quitting a retail job, I spent my mornings, days and nights drinking and hooking up with strangers and street musicians.  I used my parents’ gas station credit card to buy booze and food.   And my worried and enabling dad paid my rent (bless his un-knowing heart).  My reality was shameful and sad, and it sickened me.  I saw no other way through, than to get out.  Within one week, I tried to kill myself twice, using different mixtures of alcohol and substances.  I woke up dazed both times.  And again, I was very angry to be alive.

After that week, it appeared that I was not meant to die.  (Yet.)  So I ruefully resigned to keep living.  Over the next decade, despite desperate, in-vain attempts to figure out how to decrease life’s pain…despite becoming a vegetarian, seeing therapists, moving all over the country, observing religious ritual, and even trying yoga, I would drink myself to oblivion countless times.

In fact, all along my life timeline, the most pervasive and slow suicide effort was my succumbing to addiction.  I drank alcoholically from age 11.  For the next 25 years, I would deaden myself to emotions, to growth, to the world.

However, despite what looked like a road to ruin, my journey took a transformational turn after I turned 37, in 2002.

*  *  *

Also by March 2008, I had finally enjoyed a sweet, 5-year phase of contentment and joy.  I had been working a strong program of addiction recovery and was 5+ years sober.  I’d been seeing a very effective therapist for those years, and was healing from my traumatic childhood and destructive adulthood.  Plus, although I started while still drinking alcoholically, I’d been practicing yoga for 15 years, and was feeling it gradually shape my emotions, my growth and my world.

So, when the February breakup happened, I was blindsided and felt betrayed – not just by my fiancé, but by life itself.  After so much transformational work, this crap would still happen?  Well, yes.  It would.  And I could not accept that.  So the March 7th Philly trip was planned.

Yet clearly, I did not jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge.  What happened?  Yoga, recovery and therapy – my power trio – gratefully intervened.

The addiction recovery program taught me to be rigorously honest.  Right after the breakup, I showed up at meetings, blurted out my pain and cried myself into a puddle on the floor.  I spoke about not being able to eat.  Recovery friends came to my house with irresistible Thai lemongrass soup.  I spoke about feeling betrayed by god and feeling that I would die from the pain of loss.  Recovery friends listened intently and sensed that I was at risk.

Knowing that I was planning to go see Hothouse Flowers in Philly – and that my ex and I had taken our 1st road trip together to see that band in that city – a recovery friend invited me to go to a Brazilian Dance class at a yoga studio with her on March 7th.   OK, she didn’t just “invite” me – she pretty much forced me.  Up to that night, I had primarily been practicing yoga on my own at home for a few years.  Being back in a mindful, intentional space felt healing to me.  I bought a class pass and started showing up for (and crying my eyes out during) yoga classes regularly.  I couldn’t believe I’d abandoned practicing yoga with others, in community.  Even the minor embarrassment of crying in public was far outweighed by that public’s absolute embrace and understanding.

Having skipped my March 7th suicide plan in favor of Brazilian Dance at a yoga studio, my therapist was relieved.  Still, because my depression persisted, she wanted me to be evaluated for psychiatric medication.  I visited her recommended psychiatrist, and had an eye-opening experience.

I described my lifelong desire to die.  I described the conditions of my childhood and my history of self-destruction.  I described my self-reliance, separation and isolation.  I described the breakup, the devastation and my March 7th suicide plan.  I also described my rigorous efforts in yoga, recovery and therapy.  I described my friends, communities and connections.

At the end of our appointment, he said: “In my evaluation, I do not see a need for medication.  You seemTouristShot to be doing all the right things.  For you, reaching out for help and sharing with others is 100% more powerful than any medication.”  I was shocked.  “Even though I recently planned my suicide?” I asked.  He countered, “That was supposed to happen on March 7th, right?  Today is March 31st.”  I had to laugh.  The psychiatrist explained that, in my case, suicidal ideation is a coping mechanism.  When I imagine or even instigate my own death, I feel relief from my pain, and start going toward the solution.

I’ve been trudging toward the solution ever since.  Life since 2008 has become more challenging, to be honest.  I have been through additional relationship betrayals; I have lost jobs; I have been mugged; and I have experienced other hardships.  My friends and family have experienced very, very tough trials.  But even with these troubles, life is not like that destructive past.  I am not engulfed in atmospheres of addiction, crisis and danger.  In late 2008, I became a yoga teacher, and my life now revolves around this beautiful community.  In 2012, I celebrated 10 years of sobriety, and I currently continue to attend meetings.  I practice the 12 Steps of recovery and the 8 Limbs of yoga to my best ability.  I strive to show gratitude for my own healing and to share transformational practices by being of service however possible.  And I have continued periodic therapy with the non-medication prescribing doctor.

*  *  *

Yesterday, I was driving from Philly to New Jersey while spending the weekend reuniting with some yoga teacher training friends.  Suddenly, I gasped at the irony – without planning this, I was driving over the Ben Franklin Bridge, five years after planning to jump off of it.  The previous evening, I had been to a Kirtan concert, where much water was consumed.  K.D. Lang’s version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (made “famous” by suicide victim Jeff Buckley) was playing on my car stereo.  And I was feeling quite distant from devastation, depression and death.

How could I not cry tears of gratitude and joy?  I knew at once that I had to tell this story.  I know people who, right now, are suffering from the pain of great losses.  Who are considering death and actively trying to kill themselves in one way or another.  I love these people.  I LOVE YOU.

I share my story to say: pain sucks!  And pain ends.  This too shall pass.  My healing power trio is yoga, recovery and therapy.  You might need or prefer a different combo.  No matter what, I urge you to seek what works for you.  To start – say “yes” when people offer soup, dance classes, meetings and conversation.  Jump off of that bridge in a different way – allow yourself to fall into the arms of others.  Surrender.

I LOVE YOU.  OM Shanti.

 

Not Love: Anger, Pt. 2 February 15, 2013

Filed under: Inspiration,Life,mental health,Spirituality — Holly Meyers @ 2:11 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

LOVE: Brief (and maybe not so brief) explorations for our February class focus.  (Or maybe not.)

*  *  *

Corazon27LargeFirst I just want to wish everyone a beautiful Valentine’s Day.  Truly, from my heart.  I’m sorry that I am posting something difficult today.  But this is where I process and come to solutions.

*  *  *

My only income right now comes from teaching yoga.  I don’t make enough money to pay for my very simple life.  I borrow and I use a credit card.

Today I found that someone had taken down every single workshop flier I had posted at several businesses near the hosting studio.  This brought up several reactions, in this order:
– I am hated.
– This is unfair.
– Thank god the studio owner made more fliers.  I’m replacing the fliers.
– I am livid.
– Is this a message from god, that I am not supposed to teach in studios anymore, and that I should only offer yoga in service?
– If this bullsh** continues, with people taking down my fliers or refusing to put them up (see my last post, “Not Love: Anger”), I am never going to earn enough to eat.
– I am terrified that I will end up alone, dead, in a gutter because I can’t get a full-time job and bullsh** like this will keep me from making any money at all.
– I am sick of mean, lying, harmful people.  I can’t take it anymore.
– I am a piece of sh**.  If I had not screwed up my life for so many years, I would not be in the position of having to rely on yoga teaching for earnings.
– I have never taken anyone’s fliers down.  I would never do something so malicious.
– My workshops are my best work, they come from my heart, I work so hard on them.  I love this work more than anything on earth (see “Love: The Privilege of Teaching Yoga”).
– Who the f*** took down my f**ing fliers?  (Then I tripped up some cafe steps and seriously harmed my back, neck and ankle.  And I blamed the person who took down my fliers for my injury, because I would not have been going into that cafe if I didn’t need to replace fliers.)
– Why would anyone want to come to my workshop?  I am a bad person.  I am hated.
– I am a good person.  I strive to be of service and helpful.  I work hard to right my wrongs.  People are mean and unforgiving.
– I have committed too many harmful mistakes and I will continue to be harmed in various ways.  This is my Karma.
– I don’t have it in me to endure anymore harm.  If this keeps up, I’ll have no energy, esteem or motivation to continue looking for sustainable work.  I feel like I am being beaten down.
– I am really, really hurting.  I don’t think I can stand hurting anymore.  I’ve had enough.  I want to crawl under the covers and never come out.

Again, like my last post, so many mixed emotions.  I am swinging between feeling like a bad person who will never surpass some horrible Karmic cycle of being harmed and causing harm, and, feeling like a good person who is a victim of bad people.  Or maybe those are the same things.

I posted a vague message on Facebook: “the day started off well. going steadily downhill. thoughts, prayers, calls and visits much appreciated. love to y’all. (nothing to hide.)”

Someone wrote me a message.  And although she is very, very far away, we both sat to meditate “together.”  I chanted 108 Asato Ma and 108 Lokah Samasta.  I cried and cried and cried.  Although the pain softened some, after making a smoothie (haven’t eaten much all day) and doing the dishes (there was a pile), I’m still crying.  And to be totally revealing, I am craving for someone to swoop in and comfort me.  But guess what, there is no one.  So I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I have done a few of the next right things.  I reached out.  I chanted.  I ate a little bit.  I lit candles, I burned sweet jasmine incense, I created my own comfort.  I made an appointment with my chiropractor (my body hurts like hell).  Earlier I met with a friend and vented my frustrations, my fears, my anger.  And just now, I checked back in with my long-distance friend and let her know that I just need to get through tonight; a new day usually feels better.

Through all of this turmoil today, I was still able to witness, celebrate and feel sincerely happy for others.  For some reason, this has been one of those days where many friends were sharing great news about their lives.  I am fortunate to be without envy.  I guess because their good news give me faith for myself; and envy erases any notion of hope – which, for some ludicrous reason, I still have.

Still, right now, I am stuck.  And I am going under.  The covers.  Good night.

OM Shanti.

*  *  *

How do we recognize and trust our hearts’ desires?  How can we harness the impulses tugging at our hearts, and shape them into a deeper purpose?  Join me on Saturday, February 23rd, 3-5:30pm at Quiet Mind Yoga in Washington, DC for “Follow Your Heart.”  In this Sankalpa Vinyasa practice, Holly facilitates heart-centered Asana, self-inquiry and journeying, so students can tap into the flow of their deepest intentions. Re-ignite your 2013 resolutions – or, discover a completely new direction.

 

A Warm & Fuzzy Feeling November 18, 2012

Filed under: Gratitude,Inspiration,Life — Holly Meyers @ 11:29 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Today I am applauding the little kid who assaulted me in June.  I dedicated my morning yoga practice to this child; I am smiling; and my heart is singing.

For the back story, please read “Peace Tools: Infinite Compassion” from June 2012.  To summarize – one evening last spring, a familiar kid (about 7 or 8 years old) from the neighborhood impulsively hit me as I passed; I learned from his pals that he had acted-out due to misguided anger; I insisted on and received an apology; we talked and came to understanding. *

I see this group of neighborhood kids all of the time.  Drawn to their energy and mischievousness, I used to approach them to say “Hey” and chat a bit; but since June, I’ve taken to quickly and kindly greeting them, enjoying their antics from afar and sending Metta.  I figure, regardless of our past interactions, most kids want to be left alone by grownups; and so I give them their space.

Last night we were all out and about in the ‘hood – it was inevitable on a beautiful autumn evening.  I kept my distance and sent loving energy their way.  At one point, I was chatting with some street vendors and the crew passed by.  My kid – the one who hit me last spring – veered away from the others, walked over, gave a little wave and said “Hi.”

My soul softened.  I felt such love, hope and joy for this boy.

His greeting showed me that he is not harboring resentment about what happened in June.  He knows that everything is OK between us.  Some children never get the chance to experience the process of reconciliation after harm has been committed – by or against them.  For example, in the midst of troubles at home, I grew up trying to navigate very complex thoughts and feelings without guidance, which led to unprocessed (aka “stuffed”) or misguided (aka “acted out”) emotions.  In my case, unaddressed emotions lead to depression, addiction and destructive behaviors – toward me and others. **

So last night, when my little neighbor approached me with kindness, my heart swelled.  Our efforts last spring – addressing the violation, listening to each other, taking responsibility and coming to understanding – truly healed the situation.  We experienced reconciliation.  Now, we have both moved on and can interact normally.

Ahhh…  This is my warm and fuzzy story.  I hope to bring you more and more and more.

Infinitely grateful for yoga and all that it offers.  OM Shanti.

+  +  +  +  +

* This is a separate incident from my mugging, which happened in June of 2011, involving a different pair of older neighborhood boys, and about which I have little closure. (For background, see The Yoga of Being Mugged from June 2011)

 ** Out of respect for my family, with whom I am experiencing great healing, I want to reinforce that I am not blaming anyone for my challenges.  My upbringing was the result of two parents – whom I love deeply and who navigated their own troubled upbringings – doing their absolute best.

 

Diwali’s Balance of Darkness with Light November 13, 2012

Filed under: Inspiration,mental health,Spirituality — Holly Meyers @ 11:06 pm
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“What is important for a movie?  Both – light to make it; darkness to show it.  The minute you learn to respect and see both sides of the coin as equally good, you can enjoy both.  It is only a matter of understanding and acceptance.  Let us have that light of understanding.  Accept things as they are.  Then, life is worth living.  The world becomes a heaven on earth for you.”
– Swami Satchidananda

In less than one hour, I’ll teach my annual Diwali-themed yoga class.  This Indian holiday is commonly known as the “Festival of Lights,” signifying the triumph of light over darkness.  Ancient history tells of a number of battles across the nation ending, with great victories over evil forces.  To welcome home the heroic warriors on the dark eve of a New Moon, villagers lit their paths with glowing oil lamps.

Hence the ongoing tradition of celebrating this particular New Moon with lamps, fireworks and other uplifting festivities.

For me, Diwali reminds me of the necessity of both darkness and light.

I used to be very, very scared of the “dark.”  The moment a hint of sadness or lowness or depression showed up, I was in action – figuratively lighting my oil lamps to brighten things up.  These days, I have found a strength in welcoming times of darkness, struggle, challenge.  Not that I like to dwell there for long – I can appreciate a rough patch and at the same time know that I must do some reflection and practice to shed light on its lesson.

So there is a balance.  Darkness and light must exist.

As for battles – I will admit that sometime my greatest battle is with myself.  Although I have come to be at peace during most of my dark times, there are still situations where my fears can get the best of me.  They can lead me into poor choices, rash decisions, intense self-protection.  But less and less.  Thankfully.

So today, my greatest victory is not when I “win a battle,” but when I surrender my fears and allow the battle to dissolve.

What are your battles?  Which have you “won?”  Celebrate them tonight!  And which have you surrendered from?  Celebrate them, too.  Recognize your victories.  If you are currently in a dark time, have hope for the triumph of light.

‘Tis the season of shortening days.  Autumn calls us to enjoy the comfort of candles, fires, warmth.  To cultivate our own light.  This very natural, womb-like, growing darkness can be an invitation to experience a balance of darkness with light, of light with darkness.  Enjoy.

Happy Diwali.

OM Shanti.