Latest posts by Erica (see all)
- 4 Yoga Poses To Stretch Your Hip Flexors - November 28, 2016
- Essential Yoga Poses for Beginners-Lesson Plans Beginner Level - September 24, 2016
- Lesson Plans: Body Appreciation - February 9, 2016
I wrote this article about four weeks ago. It’s an example of how subtle our layers of reality are. It starts with a story I’m telling about my life and about myself.
Out of that story, I extrapolate an unconscious belief, identifying this belief as something that needs fixing, changing, letting go, or releasing so my conscious reality will change.
This has been a useful process that’s helped me heal much over the last few years.
Yet this process doesn’t end there. There’s another subtle layer – that which seeks to fix, change or alter something in order to make everything feel OK.
That’s the next layer that reveals itself. Deepening into that layer reveals that there is nothing wrong with me, or my life. At some point, all the fixing, changing, letting go and releasing also has to stop.
Instead there comes a deep acceptance of myself as I am. Paradoxically, out of that deep acceptance of myself as I am grows a natural evolution of Self.
Here’s the process, laid bare for you to witness:
Four weeks ago:
It’s been almost nine years since I went crazy. Nine long years. And you know what?
There’s still something at my core that believes there’s something wrong with me and I must have done something bad for that to happen to me.
My fiance at the time broke up with me – sure he was unable to cope with crazy wife-to-be but he was well on his way to dumping my arse anyway. That was part of what was driving me crazy.
I couldn’t figure out how this man who’d fallen so madly deeply crazily (!) in love me was now… not. I was still the same person right? Only he’d gotten to know more of this person, and down at the core, at the very depths of me, he’d found something not lovable.
I was unlovable. Worthless. Broken. And now crazy.
Oh these are subtle layers of consciousness, buried deep. But they rule our lives. It’s ruled my life. For the past nine years I’ve been working working working at healing and recovering and figuring out my psyche and proving that I am good enough. That I’m worthy and not broken and definitely not crazy.
You’d think I’d have done it by now.
Hell, it’s almost laughable every time a long buried truth floats up to the surface. The last time it happened was August 2012, just after I launched the PledgeMe Campaign to raise $20,000 for a Best of Yoga Lunchbox book. Launched on Saturday. Fell to pieces on Tuesday night. Broke through on Wednesday. Lesson learned, insight gained.
Can I graduate now?
Apparently not. Let me see. Launched my book electronically last Friday. It’s selling well. Things are in motion. All is good. And yet.. and yet.. and yet… WTF?
What is wrong with me? Why don’t I feel light and joyous and delighted?
How come I just feel shattered and exhausted and tired? Oh wait – I’m a single parent responsible for my child 24/7 singlehandedly putting out a website, a book, newsletters, articles and managing an ever burgeoning website all by myself.
That’s what’s crazy. Why the hell am I pushing myself so hard? Sure, I want to be financially independent. That’s part of it. (Thank you NZ government and tax payers for the support you offer single parents like me.) But feeling deeper, there’s something else.
Tonight, after my three year old pinched me yet again, I broke down in tears. Always a bad sign. I sat. I cried. I observed. I breathed. Yada yada yada. I’m so over this, WTF? What is wrong with me?
Child in bed, on my mat, Child’s Pose for ten minutes. Bliss. Wide-legged child. Tears. More tears. Deeper now.
This isn’t the exhaustion of a pinch-bruised mother, this is older and deeper. Sit with it.
Man why does there always have to be more? How come other people don’t get all this shit all the time? Maybe there is something wrong with me? Maybe this is what bi-polar is about – feeling deep feelings and running away from them. Only I’m not running anymore. Maybe a half-hearted dash but I always relent.
Moment out to read Facebook – noting need to connect, must find flatmate, can’t live alone, more madness – chance upon an article from one of my favourite bloggers, Slade Roberson. In Manifesting 100 Percent he says:
“You are 100% responsible for everything you manifest in life.”
I’ve put that in quotation marks because I do not believe it.
I just don’t believe it’s that simple. I don’t believe you have that much control over reality.
I break down again near the end of the article, sobbing. Watching myself sob. Ok, so this is interesting, what about this is touching something within me. (See how this works – I’m still learning how to work out feelings. Sure, I can feel ‘em now, but I don’t always know what they mean or what they refer to…)
I’m not 100% responsible for everything I manifest in life.
Flashback to craziness. Maybe that wasn’t my fault.
Well doh, of course it wasn’t your fault, it was just one of those things.
One of what things?
Those things that happen – life. Life happens. Then you deal with it.
It comes back to control. Which may be why I’m despairing over my son pinching and hitting me. I can’t control him.
The dots are beginning to connect now. An email from my ex-partner. A conversation with a close girlfriend.
Before I went crazy, I’d let go of trying to control life. I was just relaxing and enjoying life and having a blast and not worrying about too much. Then WHAM. Psychosis. Twice.
Now, I’ve been trying to live life right and do the right thing and make sure that nothing like that ever happens to me ever again.
Problem is, living like that has put me in a strait jacket. (Never had one of those at the Acute Psych Unit.)
I need to let go. Trust. Surrender. None of which is new.
I know all this. I get this lesson over and over and over and over again.
But how the hell do I do it? Especially when I’m completely responsible for a three year old and on incredibly tight finances. How do I let go and trust and surrender?
I don’t need to know the answer right now. I just need to ask the question. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this process, it does have it’s own rhyme and reason. Written out, The Process looks something like this:
- I feel like crap.
- I know there’s tears on the way.
- I get on the mat. Have a bath. Take some time.
- Cry and cry and cry and cry.
- I note insights arising. Note events and people and memories arising from the past. Note what needs to be seen.
- I write it all out. Ask what’s needed.
- I sit in the unknown.
- I take more time out. Yoga. Bath. Writing.
- I sleep.
- I wake up feeling… clear.
- Insights arise. Something’s released.
How come they don’t teach this in school?
Now, reflecting on this first piece of writing, this is what I see:
Life has again shifted and changed, as it always does. Yes, as a result of the process above I was able to see some old issues around trust and letting go, but out of this particularly difficult day something deeper than that also became clear.
- There is nothing wrong with me.
- There is nothing wrong with feeling sad, or low, or depressed.
- There’s nothing wrong with these feelings.
They’re just feedback mechanisms in the mind/body. They come, they go. What creates the suffering that you see above is my idea that there’s something wrong with me for being how I am.
There isn’t. There’s nothing wrong with you and there’s nothing wrong with me.
We are always worthy, simply because we’ve been born.
We are always loveable – and the inability of other people to love us doesn’t change this.
We are always whole, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.
Yet nothing we do in the outside world can bring home these truths to us. And that’s why I was feeling so awful this particular day. I thought publishing my first book would fix me and make me feel ok. When it didn’t… it totally spun me out.
At least, it could have spun me out if I didn’t have my yoga practice to ground me as I observed the thoughts and feelings I was having.
As a result of those observations and inquiry into what was happening, I was able to let go of the idea that something was wrong with me (nothing’s wrong with me!) and let go of the idea that I need to prove myself worthy (I’m worthy just because!).
So many of us are practicing yoga and meditation because we’re trying to fix ourselves – we’re trying to fix our bodies, our minds, our emotions and our spirits.
This is all good and well, and can serve a valuable purpose. But at some point as we allow ourselves to drop below the fixing we discover that we are actually perfect just as we are.
That’s the radical shift that changes everything.
Suddenly, we’re arrived.
Suddenly, there’s nothing else to do.
Suddenly, there’s nowhere else to go.
- Is it wrong to mix different yoga traditions in one practice? by guest author Elissa Jordan When I step onto my…