Friday, January 20, 2017

We the People

Five years ago I was full of hubris – the overconfidence of my youth glinting in the sunshine as I basked in the glow of a steady marriage, financial security, and a president who had a lot of good years left in him.

My, how things have changed.

As I write this, I'm alone in my Joy room, overlooking the twinkly lights in the canyon, a helicopter hovering in the distance like the Star of Bethlehem, a bed full of notebooks and journals and iProducts. My roommate is downstairs cooking something amazing, but I'm otherwise fully wrapped up in the aloneness as my ex-husband wakes up in Taiwan, Peter wakes up in India, and the other relevant men in my life prepare to depart into their own spiritual journeys to the Far East. 

I felt quite lonely yesterday morning as I put finishing touches on yet another email to end all emails. Probably one I won't send, because it always feels risky to bare your heart and soul, say what you mean, ask for what you want.

And need.

I don't like admitting that I have needs. I'm some kind of maniacle endurance athlete who tries to deprive myself of love, food, rest, fun. It was about five years ago that I started to punish myself in as many ways as possible, which is ironically the same time I started teaching yoga full time. I'm embracing that hypercritical nature I seem to have, where I advocate that you spend some more time and money on yourself – that you let yourself sleep in and treat yourself to a massage or a cup of tea while I figure out just how much more work I can do so I don't have to think about how alone I feel.

Which is my own fault.

A few days ago a friend posted a quote on instagram that caught my eye – she said it was a question her father used to ask:

“In five years, do you want to be five years older, or five years better?”

Shit, dude. That's a loaded question. Because in five years I would like to be five years older, and also, I would like to be five years better. I would like to feel better, have pictures of my journey along the trail that led me to higher ground, that let me see the valleys below, call to my fellow wanderers and give and receive key information – like where cool water is, the hanging vines, the best spot to view the sunset.

This is going to require a sizeable shift.

Yesterday I burst into tears in my therapists' office. Like literally burst. That has never happened to me – ever. Normally there is a surge of emotion that I try to swat away or push down, or swallow back into the dark hollows, but this? This was a tidal wave that came without warning.

Progress, right? 

Crying in front of strangers is progress, yes? 

Taking a moment to feel emotions and let them move through, rather than sitting tight.

This is not a year for clenching.

I've spent a significant portion of the last five years in despair. While the world got softer, I closed in, destroying relationships in every way I could think of. No matter what happens in the world, the White House, the remaining chambers of my heart, I am not willing to spend another five years mired in the darkness, catalyzing destruction.

In five years I will be five years older, five years stronger, five years better. I burned up the cushy years feeling sorry for myself, dissociating from my body, resenting my story. So I feel quite confident in telling you that it's not worth it. I've been down in those caves, and while their siren's song is tempting, it's really just a fancy black hole without friends and fellowship.

A dangerous person is driving the national bus, yes. But he's not driving your bus. You are. Not your children or your partner, or the people in the magazines and billboards who live in a fantasy world of perfect lighting and post-processing. 

In five years, we will be one year into a new presidency, the softer times will come again.

So let's prepare for that now – today.

Small, incremental change in a positive direction. 

A catalyst for good.

For the next five years, and beyond, God willing, I am going to do one great thing for myself and one good thing for someone else. Every day. It doesn't have to be feeding the homeless, but that's a good one. It doesn't have to be painful or hard. Using the life force within me for good does not have to be hard, no matter what else is happening in the world.

So if this inaguration makes you want to escape, do it. But don't do it by drinking or accidentally marrying a Canadian, by beating yourself up in the very special ways that only you know how to hurt yourself. Lie down. Turn off the things. Notice where you are.

Is there a floor?

Am I on it?

Am I breathing?

Then something is going right.

Start from there.

We the people are here to form a more perfect union. 

But let's start from the inside this time? 

Rather than fixing them, let's heal us.

And now, and now, and now.

Now begins the practice of yoga.




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