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Wild Is The Wind: A Story Of Heartbreak, And True Love April 19, 2013

Love me, love me, love me – say you do.
Let me fly away with you.
For our love is like the wind.
And wild is the wind.
Give me more than one caress.MagnoliaSun2Colorful(Apr13)
Satisfy this hungriness.
Let the wind blow through your heart.
For wild is the wind.
You touch me – I hear the sound of mandolins.
You kiss me – with your kiss, my life begins.
You’re spring to me, all things to me.
(Hmmm…)
Don’t you know you’re life itself?
Like a leaf clings to a tree,
Oh my darling, cling to me.
For we’re creatures of the wind.
And wild is the wind…so wild is the wind.
(“Wild Is The Wind” ~ arranged/performed by Nina Simone)

* * *

I used to think I’d sing this song at my wedding.

Decades ago, when I first heard “Wild Is The Wind,” I believed that true love should feel wild. That together, my lover and I would feel a devotion as natural and sweeping and consuming as the wind.

These days, I’m not so sure about that formula for partnership. And, two painfully broken engagements, a few messy breakups and one recent heartbreak later, I’m not sure there will ever be a wedding to sing at.

But I am sure of this – true love IS a devotion as natural and sweeping and consuming as the wind.

* * *

This week was a doozy. The world watched bombs and victims and heroes and villains. In the midst of that tragedy, I lost a love to the truth.

We knew each other in high school. Twenty years later, we landed in jury duty together. We dated off and on for the next 11 years, with gaps in between of one, two, even six years. Each phase ended the same way – him saying that he just can’t settle down, and me saying goodbye…until the next time we were drawn together again.

Talk about wild.

Deep in my heart, I wished, “Some day…” Some day he’ll have a change of heart; and I’ll sing “Wild Is The Wind” at our wedding.

Actually…nope. Not gonna happen.

Without getting into the details or timeline or psychology of it all (I’m sure you’ll make your own assumptions and draw your own conclusions), let’s just say – it’s over. Earlier this week, he told me that he is unavailable on more than one level. He told me some truths that hurt deeply. He told me, once and for all, that he can never see me again.

I sense that this time around, it’s really over. Because after all these years, I am finally growing to want what’s best for me, and, I have finally gained the tools to accept the truth and move on. This week, I listened deeply; I thanked him for his honesty; and I said goodbye.

But my heart is still feeling a bit ouchy. I’ve lost a friend. I’ve lost a lover. I’ve lost a magical story. But y’know what? It’s time to let go.

* * *

Today, quite by chance, I heard “Wild Is The Wind.” During deep relaxation, at the end of a much-needed energizing and strengthening yoga class. A class that relieved my mind of the week’s challenges, and fueled me for a productive and present afternoon.

Then I heard those first beautifully ominous notes of the song, and knew I was in for a good cry.

Love me, love me, love me – say you do.

I exhaled a silent sob. Because he can’t. He can’t love me.

Give me more than one caress.

This line made me a little squirmy. But I continued to let the tears flow as the music washed over me.

Satisfy this hungriness.

WhiteCameliaNora(Apr13)And all of the sudden it hit me – no human being could ever satisfy my hungriness.

Shiva popped into my mind. I know this might seem goofy, but I sometimes dedicate popular love songs to god instead of a man, a dream, a wish. And who better than Shiva, who has accompanied my journey through a million births, lives and deaths over the past 47 years?

You kiss me – and with your kiss, my life begins.

My silent sobs were replaced with soft smiles.

You’re spring to me, all things to me. Don’t you know you’re life itself?

A resounding “yes” struck my heart.

I continued to happily embrace and breathe in the life force behind our eternal cycle of time, the prana of life itself. The renewing power of Shiva.

After resting, I rose up, reborn. I walked out into a particularly breezy day.

Let the wind blow through your heart.

Today I heard “Wild Is The Wind” with fresh ears. I heard it as a song about the deepest devotion that exists. The purest Bhakti Yoga in my heart. The true love between my higher power and me.

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

 

In Like A Lion March 6, 2013

The weather forecast for DC today was wrong, all wrong.

They touted blizzard-like conditions, and we received Thunder Slush.  That’s right – a messy mix of rain, snow, wind and thunder.  Still, it is roaring out there.  And so March begins.

*  *  *

LionSnowCrownCropColor(Jan12)I’ve been paying attention to a different kind of forecast lately.  And according to one spiritual writer’s monthly outlook, the primary theme for March is “movement.”  In like a lion, indeed.

Aside from the holy days that come at the end of the month, March brings intense seasonal transition.  Tomorrow I begin a two-week “Spring Ritual” that will wrap up with the March 20th Equinox.  Between now and then, I will do an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse, observe my monthly New Moon fast, celebrate the Maha Shivaratri, attend my teacher’s Shiva-honoring class and enjoy a one-week Stay-Cation.  My hope is to make deliberate effort in order to shake off this challenging winter and ease into a lighter spring.

Whoa.  My heart rate just jumped through the roof when I typed the words “deliberate effort.”  Because life takes sooooo muuuuuch wooooork (she says, with the back of her hand to her forehead, head thrown back and eyes rolled upward toward the heavens in pure dramatic flair).

No wonder I often feel tired.  Even my mind is fatigued.  I would love to experience a day…or even an hour…when I am not so focused on doing everything just right (she says with gritted teeth).  Maybe a brief respite when I stop worrying about controlling my insides and managing the entirety of external life.  A few free moments when I pause my deliberate planting of inner peace and prevention of outer chaos.

I spend so much time protecting myself and others from life’s inevitable ups and downs.  I live in nearly constant fear that if I don’t do everything right in a relationship (whether family, work, friend or community), someone will harm me (abandon me, judge me, shame me, physically hurt me).  It’s an awful amount of pressure.

The thing is: I know from experience that in order to avoid emotional whirlwinds, I must follow specific practices and routines.

Or must I?

The routines – YES.  The elaborate plans for avoidance, protection and prevention – NO.

Even this Spring Ritual is turning out to be yet another plan to forecast my life.  Hah – I can count on Shiva to set me straight here.  I surrender!

Shiva: please liberate me of my clutch on life so I may fall back on your guidance with 100% trust and ease!  As I embark on the next two weeks, my prayer is to be present with the process of this “plan,” to deeply feel and see and taste and smell and hear this experience.  I request that my healthy routines become simply that – the things I enjoy doing in order to feel good and incidentally add to the good around me.  At the same time, may I have a hands-off attitude when things don’t feel good.  May I understand that you are making the plans.  May I throw my arms up in pure surrender to you, Shiva.  During and after these two weeks, may I grow to simply breathe, sense and be.

*  *  *

What if I let life happen to me?

The other day, as I was walking over to the studio to teach, I had a number of beautiful moments of pure presence, where I was nowhere but right there, in that very place.  And I realized: sometimes I think way too much about how to live my life, and I miss living it altogether.

I become so excited about the phases of the moon, the year of the snake, the symbolism of lions, the weather, holy day celebrations – and my intricate and important plans surrounding all of this.  And then there are moments when, all of the sudden, the sunlight hits my face through the winter window and I just stall in the comfort of that warmth…  Or when I hear the doves singing from the roof or a woodpecker hammering away at the tree or spring birds chirping in the bushes and I stop everything to listen to them.

So I can enjoy a somewhat balanced amount of planning and being.  (Somewhat.)

As I type, “Thunder Slush” is enveloping the Nation’s Capitol.  Inside my cozy home, it’s all about classical music, hot chocolate and writing.  I think today’s forecast was perfect.

“Happiness is a Butterfly which, when pursued is just beyond your grasp… but if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thanks for reading.  OM Shanti.

 

Gratitude, Pt. 2: Shiva and the Darkness November 25, 2011

Filed under: Gratitude,Recovery,Yoga — Holly Meyers @ 3:08 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

I recently found myself apologizing to god.

It was the umpteenth time that I’d broken out in sobs while singing along with Jai Uttal’s “Om Namah Shivaya.”  To be exact, it was Monday, October 24th.  I was driving to rehearse with The Shaktis, an all-female Kirtan group with whom I play percussion.  Two days before, I’d returned from a little road trip to Pennsylvania – first, Philly to see Jai Uttal in-concert; then, Easton for a two-day Max Strom yoga workshop.  The day after the road trip, back home in DC, The Shaktis lead one of our most joyous and spirited Kirtans yet.

So as I drove to the rehearsal that Monday, I was brimming with contentment.  Chanting my little heart out.  And suddenly, sobbing uncontrollably.

I am accustomed to being emotionally moved by singing and chanting.  The vibration tends to hit me right in the heart.  Even Jai says, “The singing voice, enriched with a full breath, directly touches that well of emotions inside.”  Still, I had to ask myself, “Why have you been crying every single time you chant ‘Namah Shivaya’ repetitively?  What are you feeling?”

photo: Holly Meyers

Gratitude!  I was crying my thankfulness, realizing I’d come full circle.  I mean, my goodness, since the Spring I’d been through intense periods of questioning everything.  My yoga practice, my yoga teaching, my yoga jobs, my other jobs, my relationships, my associations, my everything!  I started to let go of what felt wrong, what felt like sandpaper against my skin, what felt threatening to my wholeness.  I let go of a lot.  And I ended up feeling completely lost.  Lost in a darkness that felt like drowning.

As they say, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Come end of Summer, I began to emerge.  I launched “The Happy Heart Project” and set the firm intention to grow toward joy by practicing a symbolic ritual – burning a stick of “Happy Heart” incense 1st thing each morning for 100 days.  I took a Labor Day retreat to the Satchidananda Ashram and had a heart-to-heart conversation with a twisted old pine who seemed to beautifully signify the trials and triumphs of my life.  The Jewish High Holy days stirred my sorrow, yet also reinforced my softening, my surrender.  Friendships challenged me; and friends cherished me, despite my awkwardness.  Autumn – my most transformational season – crept in, grey and wet, and dampened my growing inner glow.  And then I sunk lower than ever, my emotional sobriety on edge, my physical sobriety at risk.  The week before I would reach my 9th anniversary without alcohol or drugs, I craved their comfort.  I stayed honest.  I stayed close.

I took a road trip.  There’s something about a geographical cure.  There were no twisted, story-telling pines on this journey.  Just a change of scenery.  A break from my “stuff.”  Strolling the country’s oldest Farmer’s Market, breathing northern air, driving new highways.  Chanting with Jai and other transplanted pals in Philly.  Breathing with Max and long-lost Off the Mat Into the World sisters in Easton.

So returning from this trip, I was – after a period of tormenting darkness – finally back in the light.  I was sober, safe and sound.  That Monday, singing my heart out to Shiva, I cried.  I cried because I made it through.

Then for some reason, I shamefully said, “I’m so sorry.”

I apologized for having become depressed, for being in the dark so long.  As if I had left god’s side, influence, presence, light.  And it hit me – NO!  God took me there.  God took my hand and led me into that darkness, because there was something I needed to see.  Remember all of that questioning and letting go that started in the Spring?  It sprang from a mugging – an incident I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but that brought out a fierceness in me.  I started to put my foot down, to set strong boundaries.  I also started to overreact to certain upsets.  Because in fact, the mugging was a trauma, which triggered unresolved past trauma that needed attention.  And it didn’t just tap me on the shoulder.  It broke down my door.  By force, I had to get the help I needed in order to look at it, start to heal from it…and no longer be ruled by it.

photo: Holly Meyers

So there might be a light at the end of the tunnel – but sometimes, the tunnel itself is well-lit, and leads into the dark.

And into the darkness we went.  God and I.  So I could experience that depth of despair and subsequent transcendence to joy.  So ultimately, I could share the story with others, in case they ever go through something similar.  God was with me the whole time.  No apology necessary.  I went where I was meant to go.

From singing Kirtan, I have come to embrace that god has many faces.  For example, Lord Shiva plays many roles: devout yogi, cosmic dancer and drummer, menacing protector.  Shiva is commonly called “The Destroyer,”  but he actually governs destruction, transformation and regeneration.  As Jai says, “He wipes the slate clean so that new writing can be written.  He destroys everything so that rebirth can occur instantly.”

It makes sense to me that god, in the form of Shiva, led me deep down to the bottom.  To show me the realities that needed to be faced.  The same realities that now inform my purpose, inspire my actions and give me something to share in service to others.  During that dark period, I was yearning for surrender, security and trust the whole time.  Now I know that I was never alone.  I was always safe.  And I was always loved.

And for that, I cry tears of gratitude.  OM Namah Shivaya.

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.