I attended a workshop this afternoon that was facilitated by an old friend that I had not actually met hug to hug until today. Her name is Ambika Devi, author of the cosmic journey called Lilith which combines historical teachings, powerful legends, in this case the s/hero’s journey, as well as colorful, sensual concepts. We have traveled in the same circles since likely the 1980’s, have emailed and if memory serves, have spoken on the phone. I was honored to have written the foreword for her book and eagerly anticipated seeing her and immersing in the rich juiciness of the teachings she was to share. I described her as equal parts yogic scholar, playful pixie and fire-y Goddess- a definite kindred spirit. Some of our time together in a group of 20 included Vak yoga, seated meditation, chanting, journaling and moving meditation that took us outside in the crisp early autumnal air. She had asked us to be aware of the sensations, emotions and insights while chanting the bija (seed mantra) of Gam which relates to the Hindu God Ganesh who is the remover of obstacles. Moving in slow motion, I found myself in no rush to do anything; pulled inexorably by the breeze, crunching leaves beneath my feet, smelling the spicy aroma, feeling like the waving tree branches that were being danced gracefully. Standing in an open clearing, allowing the sun to melt a place in my chest where my heart had been shielded for so many years. I told myself that it needed that protective covering to remain safe. Such a fallacy that was. I have been hiding from repeating interactions that felt toxic and self limiting. I had become accustomed to hiding, ducking and weaving, all the while making it look like I was open and receptive to life experiences, when in reality, I wanted nothing more than to avoid the pain not being known and seen. Instead, I settled for being perceived as wise and confident, competent and compelling. I also perched on the edge of a winged angel chair. I noticed that a piece of it had broken off and was on the seat. I picked it up, cradled and rocked it, as I felt it represented a part of my own wings that had felt cut off at times. I haven’t always soared above it all, as much as I wanted it to appear that I had.
After the workshop I was called on my stuff by a friend who expressed dismay of my reaction to something that occurred between us. I found myself falling into old co-dependent patterns and felt it was my job to relieve her pain even though it wasn’t requested or expected. Paradoxically, my response didn’t feel caring to either of us. I confessed that it was easier to be in fix it mode than to witness her experience. Part of that came from not wanting sit in my own pain, preferring instead to problem solve, even though I think of it as solution finding. I shared that I would rather safely avoid an intimate relationship with a partner, since melting away the glaciated parts of my heart would put me at greater risk for emotional pain. So much easier to sink back into newly familiar behaviors that look like self care- napping, solitude and quiet time to myself. While it does serve that purpose, it also prevents me from letting love in fully. Still tender places from a paradoxical marriage that ended nearly 16 years ago with the death of my husband. Choosing to slowly peel away the layers, rather than ripping them off like a Band-Aid from a boo boo.