Monday, June 23, 2014

Gravity and the Great Beyond

A couple of months ago I watched the preview for the movie "Gravity" with my mother. We thought it might be a nice award-winning flick to rent.

Except that the preview gave us both heart palpitations.

There Sandra Bullock was, floating freely in open space: unsecured, unbound, and screaming bloody murder. It's what all of us would do in the same circumstance, and that's what made me break out into a cold sweat. Being separate is totally unnatural. Spinning wildly out of control with no ground, no foundation, no anchor? It's what makes us panic in open water, what makes lifeguards quake in their shorts. When we've got no attachment, when we feel like we're drowning, we grasp and hold tight to anything we can reach.

Heavenly bodies have this same problem and simply don't operate in chaos. They lapse into a dance of close and far, but stay connected by a seamless tether. Moons and planets, planets and stars, and even the planets themselves spend time getting closer together, and then time on their own, before coming back right where they were to start yet again.

No cord connects them, but they dance.

I think about this often now, and it helps to remember that I'm on Earth and that the connection I have with this supreme Mother is equal and steady. Without judgement, she pulls as hard on me as I do on her, and we stick together even as we both dance.

When I start to lose my connection and allow my spirit and soul to wander into new orbits, I come back to my mat. My feet. My trust that she's got me, and that no matter how lost I feel, I always have her beneath my bare feet.

Saturday, June 14, 2014



I was teaching a kundalini yoga class yesterday, on an island, to a group of women, on the full moon, on Friday the 13th, with Mercury in retrograde, during a thunderstorm.

If there were a more perfect way for me to describe my inner state than this, I don't know what it would be.

Warrior 2 is this splendidly overused pose that I deeply despise (is it ok to say that as a yoga teacher?). My dislike isn't from the ancient story of decapitation (google it) or the compression in my front hip, or the tightness in my front patellar tendon. My distaste roots from the forward/backward leaning. Most of us pull forwards into the future and burn the past, many of us lean back afraid to take the next step, and none of us lands squarely in the only place we need to be: the present.

The present is hard, because it demands that we land in the animal space of breath rather than the sinister human place of planning and memory. I'm a planner. And a Story Fondler (as Martha Beck would say).  Like a jackrabbit, I bounce back and forth between where I'll be in five years and how far I've come in the last two.

Now I'm on an island in a space beyond time. There are no clocks, no business hours, no schedules. And as easy as it would be to get lost in lists or someone else's skin, I'm just here, stewing. Processing. Caught somewhere between the sand and the sky with nothing but my breath and the surf: the constant reminder that breath is all there is.

Perhaps the present is a gift that comes without wrapping paper (which, let's face it, is just to place a physical barrier between that a gift and the present moment... to mask it away). Somewhere between warrior one and warrior three, the rage and the reparation, is warrior two. The cutting away.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Since high school, every time I get onto a plane, go for a medical test, or narrowly avoid a traffic accident, I say the poem I had to memorize in Spanish 5: En Paz*. It calms me down, reminds me that I'm not in control, and sets the tone that each day is a gift and has the truest potential to be the last.

It reminds me that peace is waiting for me.

I've come to many realizations in the past few years as I've wandered down the rabbit hole of fertility planning. The vast majority of these are private, but the biggest and most resounding lesson is that I'm not in control. When talking with my partner of the last nine years, this fact surfaced and resurfaced.

So many things have to go right for you to get pregnant, and 90% doesn't cut it. My focus has been on the parts that are easiest to address, like my diet and the alignment of my energy channels (or whatever it is that acupuncture does).

The 10% is the piece (the peace) that spirit couldn't get past.

So without opening the window into the heart of our relationship and airing our laundry for you to see, I'm writing to tell you that our marriage is over. Our relationship is solid - strong - in many ways cleaner and brighter for having seen the sun. And while my heart feels open and true and sad, I'm overcome with a sense of peace.

Divorce is hard. I think it gets harder with every unspoken resentment, and I'm so grateful that we don't appear to have any. We both love one another enough that we are willing to let the other person pursue their interests and chase their highest calling without the weight of resentment or compromise.

I believe I have now completed the list of things I could possibly do to disappoint my parents. That's hard, too. How do you tell the two people who love you the most that you'd rather give your love wings than hold him in a cage? Especially as saying this might shine a light where it isn't wanted for others who have chosen to stay married for various reasons.

I am grieving the loss of the life I had planned. I am celebrating a gift I have received and a gift I have given. I am humble and vulnerable. And though the waters are still swirling and choppy, I am at peace.

"...Amé, fui amado, el sol acarició mi faz. Vida, nada me debes. Vida, estamos en paz." En Paz, por Amado Nervo

Monday, June 2, 2014

The End

I'm fascinated by endings, lately. They're a Western concept that seems otherwise so arbitrary. Sitcoms end with everything wrapped up in a neat package. TV dramas end with a teaser of what will come next. But every story has a definite beginning and a finite ending.

Relationships are different. They don't end; they just change.

We love (I love) the neatness, the completeness of a tidy ending. I love flirting with a frozen moment in time and savoring it as though that is how it will always be. We hate (I hate) change. Change is the thaw in the spring that destroys the perfect winter landscape.

Change also paves the way for whatever must come next: growth.

I'm dancing with endings and change right now. It's an awkward, sometimes sad, sometimes delicious song, and I'm grateful for the lessons I'm learning in the process. Themes of judgement and karma and fate keep bouncing around in my head, and I'm at the place where I now must go on and discover what I'm really made of. Face the music, as they say.

I hold a special fondness and kinship with Gandhi, as I'm sure you do, too. He didn't say delay the change, or avoid the change, or change the change. He didn't tell us to fear change or relish change. Gandhi asked us to be the change.

It's a tall order, but to keep running or hiding from this change is a disgrace to those I love. There aren't tools for change, or a special outfit, or partners along the way. Change is like giving birth; others can prepare you, support you, walk next to you, but you must push through it alone, with your just heart, soul, body, and spirit.

And in truth, those are always the only things you ever need.