Years ago, I discovered that I had become an emotional contortionist, essentially bending over backward to please people. If not, I reasoned, they wouldn’t approve of me or love me and then where would I be? I would tie myself up like a pretzel, in business, primarily since our livelihood was based on happy advertisers and readers. Guess what? It didn’t work and I ended up with an emotionally twisted spine, numerous arguments at home and unsatisfactory business dealings. All of this because I wasn’t being true to myself and living in a sense of integrity within myself. In the interceding time, I have been able to take a different perspective. What I thought was necessary for my survival was a less than skillful way of discovering that I have no responsibility for what others think and how they perceive me. It ties in with don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements concepts. I am learning (and it is a process) to put into practice the most challenging (for me) two: Don’t take anything personally and Don’t make assumptions. What others are going through in their lives is not about me. In relationship, (in whatever form they take), I am learning to step back and allow for process to occur. So often, I have moved to heal or fix someone else’s pain because it has been uncomfortable for me to watch them struggle. I also recognized that as a healer, there is a temptation to make myself indispensable to people in my life. I reasoned that if I was able to help them with their challenges, then they couldn’t possibly abandon me. The truth is, no one ever abandons us. We may do that to ourselves at times. The truth also remains, that God never abandons us.
Several years ago, I experienced what many would call a ‘dark night of the soul’ during which I had almost no appetite, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate. I basically sleep-walked through my days and tossed and turned at night. I called on loving friends and family who guided me through it and recognized that I was revisiting two themes from the past. A little background first on the events of that time: I interviewed two women for a magazine for which I was writing: twin sisters who are psychically gifted. At the end of the interview, Allsyon said: “I asked you a question twice. Did you hear me?” I replied that I hadn’t. She said, “Who’s Michael?” Goosebumps rising on my arms, I told her that Michael had been my husband who had died 5 ½ years earlier. She went on to say that he was there with them and that he was showing them a doorway or threshold that I was walking through and also moving vans. They felt that I would be moving within 3 years. (I didn’t move myself, but in 2011 which was 6 years later, after my mom died, I did move her belongings from her condo).
Later that day, I received the shocking news that a young woman whose wedding ceremony I had performed a year and half prior, had been killed a few days earlier in a car accident and her husband was standing on my doorstep asking me to offer the eulogy at her funeral a few days later. I could do nothing but hold him and cry with him. Words escaped me, except to say that I would be honored to speak at Katie’s funeral. The next night I came to Pebble Hill which is one of my spiritual communities, to hear Robin Velez speak. She is a gifted channel and healer. During her presentation, she invited me to the front of the room. I explained to the audience that this wasn’t a set-up and Robin hadn’t even known I was going to be there. Her stern admonishment? “Stop explaining, stop justifying. It’s killing you. You need to decide here and now, do you want to live or die?” Through tear-filled eyes, I responded that I wanted to live. She then told me that I needed to completely let go of Michael and as I told her that I had, she shook her head. She then asked me what I wanted. I told her that I wanted to trust in love again. She informed me that it was about trusting myself. A while later as I left, I remembered one last detail regarding Michael that I hadn’t attended to. I still had his ashes in my bedroom. What kind of message was that sending the Universe about readiness to move on to a new relationship? A few days later, my dear friend Susan Duval helped me to bury the urn in Pebble Hill’s memorial garden. I also made a decision to find a new home for my cat Amira, since my allergies had become full blown and more than a little uncomfortable. During the week, it became abundantly clear that I was re-living old grief. I was releasing, letting go, turning over every aspect of my life as I had more than five years before. My body had been reacting as it had then too when I was in the throes of bereavement. I had convinced myself that I had successfully moved through the loss gracefully and in some ways I had. All of these events triggered the reactions I was going through. No accident that this all occurred around Memorial Day. An interesting phenomenon occurred that was a side benefit of my clearing. Two weeks earlier the garbage disposal stopped working. I hadn’t gotten around to getting it fixed. On Memorial Day, Pat Harmon (a.k.a. Harmony) was over for breakfast. I was washing the dishes and had just put a juice glass on the rack to dry. I made some comment about how quickly things happen and at that point, the glass jumped or slid off the rack and crashed into the sink. I cleaned up the shards and carefully put my hand in the garbage disposal to take out anything that remained within it. I thought, “What the heck?” and flipped the switch for the garbage disposal and was rewarded with the sounds of it roaring to life. As I had cleaned out my own garbage, it too was no longer on overload and could process as well.
That summer I had begun practicing yoga. Having been surrounded by both practitioners and teachers for many years, my interest had been sparked, but what set it aflame was attending a tantric yoga workshop in March of 2004. There I met people for whom it is a way of life. I saw first hand the emotional, spiritual and physical benefits of this ancient art and so the practice began. First at home on my own, then with a friend and diving into classes, I am enjoying a physical flexibility that I have never known. Even as I practice the asanas, I feel that I am called on to stretch further emotionally than I ever have before as old paradigms fall away. I am reaching beyond my preconceived limitations to what I know is true, rather than what I fear is so. I am recalling the phrases from A Course in Miracles: “What is real cannot be threatened. What is unreal doesn’t exist. Therein lies the peace of God.”