It is said that which separates the emotionally mature from the immature is the ability to hold two opposing feelings at the same time. Anger and Love. Fear and Hope. Trust and Doubt.
It has been five years since I boarded an airplane, with a backpack and a willingness to go wherever life wanted to guide me. I wasn’t exactly sure what had taken me over, and many of my family, friends, and students had questioned my judgment and perhaps even my sanity. I heard from one trusted source that a devout student of some years had said that she was “disappointed in me”. At first, I found that gut-wrenching… but with some time and distance I realize how many of us who are teachers carry the weight of whatever projections another cannot carry herself… That’s just the way it goes. So, now I simply find myself saying, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do” when I feel projections coming to cage me.
And so, in that light, I disappointed a lot of people perhaps, … left yoga classes I had been teaching and communities I had been cultivating for years. Although there was no “naming” what I was doing, I knew I was crossing a threshold of some sort—and I couldn’t go back, nor could I continue on as I had—and so, I gave it all up… or should I say, I gave it all UP (to the ultimate giver), and I simply packed a bag, said my good-byes to those who still cared to listen, and I boarded that plane.
Over these past years, I’ve wandered some and traveled some. I’ve searched for home over and over again, until it found me. I’ve lived in the poorest, most dangerous places I’ve ever known, and I’ve gone on a walking pilgrimage :: 50+ miles in 10 + hours — with ten thousand others, all offering their lives to the Holy Mother… I’ve walked up a mountain-top and planted myself in a 10×10 square foot area for 8 days and 7 nights, alone, without food or water… praying, listening, and drinking the wind. I’ve made decisions that many who know and love me thought “crazy” or “irrational”, and yet… still I walked on. I walked on because I knew that I must, even if it meant I go alone.
I grew apart from those who didn’t want to grow in the same direction as I was g(r)owing, and I strengthened my connection to the few who knew that what I was doing was less choice and more destiny, and a necessary passage of initiation through which I must go.
I attempted to “resurface” a handful of times, only to know that the timing was premature, and that I wasn’t ready, so I went back under. I learned to live small and simply, and to release my grip on the pretty, shiny and new. I learned more deeply than ever how to love what is — exactly as it is.
If you ask me what I am doing on any given day, I can only say, “what must be done”. I only know that I don’t have anything to prove and I don’t want to become anything, and that I simply want to un-become and assure myself that if I make it to old and feeble that I look back at my life, having not played it safe but instead having lived deep and bold and taken the necessary risks to make my skin crack, making way for a grand version of my soul.
I don’t know where I am going, exactly, and that’s okay. But I know that I want to feel what it feels like to know that in the marrow of my bones I am stronger THAN I THINK I am… I want to always be brave and wild and willing to stand in my aloneness, if that’s what it takes to keep my life aligned with the heartbeat of nature.
There will be more, dear Ones. But for now, I just wanted to say that I am here, and I am chanting, and practicing, and praying during these dark times. And I am doing my best to hold the “both / and” every day for all of us.
Whatever you are doing, to tend to your own heart ache or confusion, or inspiration (if you are so blessed to feel this at this time), I say KEEP GOING… You’re doing good work, and the foundation you are building is the most important thing we can be tending to at this time.
I am right here.