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Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

Dragon-91

I had this dream, as a child, that my Grandfather and I were being chased by a fire-breathing dragon around the nursery school I attended.  We were running for our lives through the labyrinthine hallways, narrowly escaping the monster.  With the shadow of the beast reflecting off every wall at every turn, I could hear my Grandfather’s laboured breathing and I knew, in the end, we wouldn’t make it–the monster would win.

As an adult, this is how I’ve led my life, running from one dragon or another, only now the dragon has shifted from the green, scaly beast to invisible entities with names like Shame, Rage, Fear, and Love.  Any “large scale” emotion gets my feet feeling like hot potatoes and, before I know it, I’ve busted out along the road, running and wheezing, although not really sure why.

This past week delivered me to the shores of the poisonous lake of Shame.  Shame of my body.  Shame of womanhood.  Shame of aging.  Shame of sexuality and relationships and body hair and simple everyday thoughts.  Whatever it was that was going on in my life, it seemed to be coated in the corrosive slime of Shame.  I knew it was there, I could feel it in my body:

– rapid pulse

– shallow and quick breathing

– a sense of constriction in my chest

– interrupted sleep

– reduced appetite

– feeling a need to wretch

(Do you know any of these?)

And my mind followed after my body, becoming cloudy, with thoughts trying to move through a thick, pudding-like fog.

Shame.  Although it could have been Fear or Love or anything.

What do you do when you get triggered by large emotions?  Me, like I said, I run.  I run like crazy and I run in all sorts of different ways.  I become obsessed…with ANYTHING.  I feel the need to keep doing, and what I do tends to push my body to an unhealthy edge. I push too hard in the garden.  I push too hard in exercise. I feel it’s utterly necessary to dance, and then I push too hard once again.  I simply push too hard…in my relationships, in my body, in my mind.  All of this in the simple attempt to outrun the beast, the thing I don’t want to face, the thing I am convinced will kill me if I stop for even a moment to look around.

A person cannot run forever.  I, for one, am super tired.  Yesterday, as I was beginning to lose steam and was starting to think, “This thing is going to catch up with me.  I’m doomed,” a new thought entered my mind, “What if I just…stop?”  What would happen if I just stopped running?  If I know, in the long run, I cannot sustain avoidance, that avoidance will ultimately kill any joy and vitality in my life, what’s the risk in stopping?  If I don’t, I will lose everything anyway.

Many schools of martial arts teach that, instead of engaging in a conflicted relationship with an opponent by pulling away, soften the interaction, make connection by stepping towards the threat and into the situation.  Channel the energy inwards. Yesterday my friend emailed me this gem, “Shame only says these things because it fears that you will figure out how truly awesome you are and leave it behind for good.”  Something about that broke my heart.  Nothing likes to be abandoned.  Why, then, do I abandon that part of me, the dragon, that clearly wants to make contact, that is asking for something from me, that is asking for my time and my love?  Why not move inwards and make a connection with the thing I fear the most?

So I stopped.  I put on the brakes and fixed myself to the spot.  And the dragon stopped with me.  Soon I will drum up the courage to turn around, to sit down, and to observe this thing that chases me.  I will give it my time and my attention. Eventually, I hope to approach the beast (perhaps with a yummy slice of pie) and to give it a hug.  This is the woundedness in me that begs to be touched, to be comforted, to be heard, to be healed and there is no one in the world but me who can do this.  And there’s no one in the world who does not have this woundedness within them–we all have it; no one is alone in this experience.

I think we’re given these big emotions as tools to break open our hearts.  How can we shame someone else when we know the crippling pain of shame ourselves?  How can we actively threaten the safety of another when we know abject terror?  How can we not extend love freely when we’ve fully taken love into our own hearts?

So the next time you get the sense that you’re freaking out, that you’re running away from something that is making you uncomfortable, take out this tiny little note that I’ve sent along to you and with you:  This may be the tool, the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.  Stop, breathe, look, love…and offer it pie.

Maybe we’ll both get the chance to see that the dragon just isn’t all that scary.

cutedragon

If you catch sight of me the next time you’re running, screaming, down that road, stop and come grab a seat beside me.  We’ll breathe together.  Maybe we’ll do lunch.  Just know I will be there, that I have been there, and will, no doubt, wind up there again. This learning is forever.  😉

May we be happy.

May we not suffer.

May we know peace.

All my love and blessings,

Tabitha

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manFallingOverSculpture

 

Standing yoga balances–the art of standing on one foot–are known to increase concentration, to strengthen the legs, knees, ankles and feet, to calm the nervous system, and to increase mental focus.  That’s what they’re known for but the reality, as I consistently witness in my classes, can often look like something else.  Nothing seems to get the majority of my students more riled up than standing balance poses.  This is where I most often witness anger, frustration, despair, and “giving up” as bodies teeter, with feet and legs working hard to keep an upright, balanced position.  This is where my students are more likely drop out of practice after only a few short moments by leaving the body and entering the realm of speech.  Instead of doing the pose and experiencing the challenge in the body, they will turn to me and exclaim in wonder at how hard it is, at how they simply can’t do it and don’t understand why; in short, they will run away.  And this is where it all gets interesting.

We humans hate like hell to feel off-kilter.  We don’t like to feel wobbly.  We don’t like to feel out of control.  We don’t like to feel vulnerable, especially when other people are around to witness our struggle.  So why, then, would we take a standing balance pose and purposely put ourselves in a position where we are constantly at risk of falling over?  For precisely the reasons we resist:  to feel wobbly; to feel out of control; to feel vulnerable, especially when other people are around to witness our struggle.  We take these stances and challenge our comfort zones in a contained way so we can learn more about ourselves, so we can understand our chronic responses to feelings we often label as “less than desirable”.  In trying to stand on one foot in a yoga class, we may discover that we get right pissed off when we lose balance and fall over, and this leads to us wanting to give up.  Or we may find out that when we feel vulnerable, we begin to talk…A LOT; we try to escape the feelings in the body by moving into distracting speech.

All of this acts as a signpost to how we behave out in the world.  Life is an endless stream of events that work to throw us off balance.  How many times have you had your day set with all the tasks perfectly spread out and timed, and then the curve ball came crashing in–your car has a flat tire, you get an emergency call about a family member, you wind up in bumper-to-bumper traffic getting nowhere fast?  Disorienting, isn’t it?  Can you come back to balance when things have thrown you for a loop?  Can you maintain your composure and stay calm?  Can you allow your mind and breath to settle before deciding on how to proceed?  Can you take a few breaths?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

I always hear the voices of my teachers when offering standing balances to my students:  Teacher One:  “It’s not about whether you will fall out of balance, it’s about what you do when you get there.”  (Will you try again?)  Teacher 2:  “Ah, not today.”  (Some days it’s just not working.  Some days you need simply to stand still…on both feet.)

Trying to find centre in the midst of the chaos that can erupt when thrown off kilter is an amazing way to break your heart open and to find compassion, both for yourself and for all the others out there who are working to do the same.  So the next time you fall over (and you will), whether it be physically or otherwise (like when you lose your composure and your temper), instead of scolding yourself for failing somehow, offer yourself compassion for your humanity; say to yourself, “Ah, not today.  Today, in this moment, I cannot achieve balance,” and take 3 deep breaths.  See how that one simple thing can change your life.

And when you’re out in the world and you witness someone else losing her balance in some fashion, feel your heart open up.  If you can, offer assistance.  If you can’t offer assistance, perhaps offer compassion in the same way you did for yourself:  “Ah, not today.  Today, in this moment, she cannot achieve balance,” and take 3 deep breaths for her.  And if even that feels like a stretch, because sometimes people, in their loss of balance, can act in ways we just cannot understand or soften towards, just breathe and see how that one simple thing can change the world.

I’ll be seeing you, face-planted, on the mat and on the mat of life.  Maybe, when we lock eyes, we can smile at one another; we won’t be alone.

 

Until then, much love and many blessings,

Tabitha

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th_Pointing_Finger

We humans like very much to point the finger outwards when things in our lives aren’t going exactly as we’d like.

Have you noticed that?

You’re getting fat because your job is stressful and doesn’t allow time for any kind of physical activity.  It has nothing to do with shoving piles of restaurant food in your mouth and driving to the corner store.  No, no!  It’s out….there.

Your relationship busted up because your ex is emotionally stunted and refused to do anything to help the relationship.  It had nothing to do with your sitting, glazed-eyed, in front of the TV for hours playing video games instead of helping a bit with the housework.  No, no!  Again, out…there.

You have no friends.  Nobody calls you or asks you to do things.  You’re so alone.  Of course it has nothing to do with your refusal to reach out to others, or that you’re a compulsively negative, unpleasant human being.  No, no!  Go ahead, guess where.  You’ve got it!  Out….there.

How many of us actually stop and take a cold, hard look at what we’re doing to help create the painful situations in our lives?  How many of us actually have the courage to look truthfully and admit to our contributions when we see them?  Acknowledging that you have a large part to play in your own misery feels like a heart-stopping, stomach-clenching shot in the face with a pail full of cold water, but is has to be done, folks, if any real change can take place in your life.

Go ahead, take a look.

venus_mirror_silver_1

Trust me, it only gets better from here.

My real work began the day the light turned on in my head and I realized that I was an abusive partner.  I was using the circumstances of my life as a (weak) excuse for my horrid behaviour.  I was dealing with my own abuse history.  My Dad was chronically emotionally unavailable.  I suffered from depression.  I thought I might be gay.  Blah, blah, blah.  Admittedly, all very stressful things to contend with, but as an excuse to use my partner as an emotional punching bag?  About as useful as saying, “I shot the guy because I didn’t like the weather.”  There was no valid excuse for my behaviour.  True, I was acting unconsciously up until the time consciousness smacked me in the face.  Then there was no going back.  It was a terrifying and nauseating feeling to realize I had been as abusive as my own abuser, only in a different way, and it was the best thing to ever happen to me.

If, according to you, your life sucks right now, I encourage you to take a deep breath, grab that mirror, sit down and have a hard look at yourself.  What are you doing to contribute to the muck?

Here are some of the muck-stories I’ve heard:

1)  There are no good available wo/men to date.  Really?  Is this true?  Beyond the very easy question of  “Have you put yourself out there,” I encourage you to dig a little deeper.  How available are you?  Are you clear and open to the possibility of love, or are you still hung up on, and bitter about, all the things you believe your ex did to you?  If you’re even a little bit hung up, my friends, you are not yet single and available.  You are still dating the ghost of your past partners.  Break up.  Don’t you think it’s about time?

More interestingly, ask yourself if you stand in this world as a quality partner.  If you were a stranger looking in on you, would you want to date yourself?  Do you have the kind of personality and attitude that draws people in, or repels them?  If you wouldn’t date yourself, you’ve got some work to do.  Become the partner you wish for.  Develop and harbour those qualities within yourself.

2)  I wish I had a friend to hang out with, but no one calls me or asks me to go places.  The friends I do have are all into games; nobody communicates. When was the last time you asked someone out for a coffee, or invited them over to your place just to chat?  Have you initiated contact with someone in your life just to see how they’re doing?  Are you playing games with the people in your life, dropping little emotional bombs on their doorsteps and then running away?  Are you communicating with your friends? Honestly, are you?

As you did before, ask yourself if you would have yourself as a friend.  Are you the kind of person others would like to befriend?  Are you warm, approachable and engaging?  Do people feel safe and energized in your presence?  Are you able to reach out, to communicate, to give?  If not, and again, you have some work to do.

3)  I can’t stand drama, but I have so much of it in my life.  🙂  Do you really hate drama?  I mean REALLY?  I used to have a good deal of drama in my life, although I lamented that I couldn’t stand it.  It took some doing, some gluing myself to the spot until I could see that I sucked drama towards me just as powerfully as my lungs suck air.  I used drama as an excuse, as a cover-up. I used drama to hide my fear of doing the work I wanted to be doing.  I used it as a way to avoid the painful reality that I was dissatisfied with the quality of the relationships in my life.  I created a whirlwind of drama when I felt bored or stagnated in my life instead of creating art.  I used it as an antidote to depression instead of working to figure out the root cause of my depression.  I used drama like a drug to anaesthetize myself, to numb me out so I didn’t have to actually make any changes in my life.

So, from one who has been there, I ask:  For what purpose are you using drama?  I’ll bet the farm that you’re at the centre of that maelstrom, conjuring up the forces to keep you from seeing something you don’t really want to see, or to get in the way of your doing something constructive about an uncomfortable situation.

mickey2

What are you avoiding?

4)  My life would be so much better if…  Would it?  If you sincerely looked into yourself right now, is your internal environment receptive, even slightly, to things that are good, or are you committed to seeing nothing but the dark side of life?  Because, let me tell you, if you are hanging strong to the idea that the glass is perpetually half empty, there could be a conga line of good fortune parading in front of you, and you will smack it away as if it was an annoying insect.

Try this instead:  My life would be so much better if I realized how good my life is right now.  My life would be so much better if I realized how much I actually have.  My life would be so much better if I learned how to say thank you for simple wonders and small mercies.  My life would be so much better if I realized I’m here because of the decisions I’ve made so, if I don’t like it, I can choose differently and create change.  My life would be so much better if I allowed my life to be so much better.

Shadow-reflections

It hurts to take an honest look at yourself, to see where and how you create your own misery, but it’s the only way to freedom.  To skitter around trying to change external circumstances, things over which you have no control, is positively futile and will only lead to exhaustion and collapse.  You cannot change the world; you are not that powerful.  And the world owes you nothing.  But you can change yourself, and maybe you owe yourself a little bit of peace.  The only way to do that is to look deep into the looking glass and to fall in.  There is magic in that space and your world will never again be the same.  You wanted change, right?

Now, dive.

Believing in your ability to float,

Tabitha

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Venus of Willendorf

Venus of Willendorf

It was a scene all too familiar–me standing in a changeroom, fluorescent lights casting shadows in a most unappealing way, cringing at the sight of myself in the lilac-coloured t-shirt I was trying on.  I could see rolls.  I could see belly.  I could see that I was no longer 16.  I heaved a deep sigh and decided that I looked too grotesque in the t-shirt and needed to put it away.

The sales associate, an attractive, funky, fuller-figured woman asked me how it went.  I could hear the whining in my voice as I explained how I couldn’t possibly purchase the t-shirt.  “I understand, hon,” she said.  “You’re having one of those days.  You’re feeling depressed so nothing looks good.”

“No,” I replied, “I’m not depressed.  I’m coming to terms with the fact that my body is not 16 any more and I’m having a hard time with it.”

“HONEY,” she said, loudly, “I’m 44!”  And she spread her arms wide for all to see.

Damn, she looked good in her loose royal blue top, black leggings and high boots.  There were curves there, and wrinkles, and, no doubt, her boobs would sneak down towards her waistline if she let them out of their sling, but she wore it all very well.  She wore it with pride even though, as she confessed, she wasn’t feeling so hot about herself that day either.

Why do we, as women over 40, do this to ourselves?

Then I saw this trailer and it explained so much:

Middle-aged women really are invisible, aren’t we?  TV is stocked with ads focusing on cute little baby girls, young women obsessed with buying the “right” tampon, and women over 50 who are smiling joyfully because their diapers held up when they pissed themselves in public, or they didn’t hoark their dentures into the birthday cake, thank you Poligrip!  So where are we, the perimenopausal queens?

Oh, we’re there and we’re horrifying.  Actresses whom I admired when I was a teenager, women not much older than I, are still showing themselves on the pages of magazines and on TV screens, but they’ve mangled themselves, all in the name of beauty and youthfulness.  Blindingly white porcelain veneers, facial skin stretched tight like plastic wrap, lips Botoxed into life preserver status, and boobs packed full of things that just can’t be good for you.  Yes, we, the middle-aged women, are the Frankenwomen, hacking ourselves to shreds so that we can go back in time, back to that 16 year old body.

Hate to tell ya, ladies, but it ain’t gonna happen.  No amount of mangling yourself will ever make you 16 again.  (I know.  That’s a hard one to take.)

So then, again, why do we do it?  I think it’s to be seen, to have a presence in this world, to be acknowledged again.  I understand that.  It’s horrible to feel like you don’t exist, like you could run down the street naked and on fire, and no one would see you.  Feeling like a non-entity is a certain kind of torture, yes, but attempting to make your mark by playing into a demented, youth-oriented, culture that sexualizes women, and throws them away when their “worth” expires, is equally as demented.  I say give it up.

Here’s the thing:  We can’t change anyone’s mind about us, but we can change our own minds.  Maybe the world refuses to recognize us but we can recognize ourselves.  We’re never invisible when we can see ourselves.

This morning I had a fantasy about starting a project (I love my fantasy projects.) In this fantasy, I would issue an invite to middle-aged women everywhere to send me pictures of their soft, scarred bellies with rolls.  Bellies that have held (and sometimes lost) babies.  Bellies that have grown and shrunk, and grown and shrunk, from persistent dieting.  Bellies that have undulated with laughter, and have folded in excruciating pain.  Grown woman bellies, the houses of grown woman stories, for the world to see, and if not for the world, then, for ourselves.  I think I would call it The Belly Project.  🙂

Here’s my middle-aged belly:

belly

And how about yours?  Have you looked at yours?  Have you seen it with eyes of love?  Can you dare to?  I pray that, some day, you do.  I pray that, one day, I do too.

With much love from the full-bellied, middle-aged sisterhood,

(Chubby) Tabitha

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I DON'T WANNA!

I DON’T WANNA!

I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t want to be here, in front of this computer screen, working at putting words down in a way that may provoke thought, or inspire, or….whatever.  I just don’t want to be here, the same way I didn’t want to walk my backside down the hallway to the yoga studio for my morning practice.  I opened my eyes this morning, a half hour later than I would normally get up, and I was whomped with a good old fashioned case of “I DON’T WANNA!”  I’m sure the Masters have a more elegant term for this–resistance, self-sabotage, hitting the wall, turning point, etc.  Regardless of the name, what I have is a mind that is pitching one royal fit these days as it begins all sentences with “I DON’T WANNA!”  I don’t wanna do my yoga practice.  I don’t wanna write.  I don’t wanna teach.  I don’t wanna go in to work.  I don’t wanna go anywhere.

I…just…don’t…wanna!

This isn’t a case of depression, by the way; it’s too active a state of mind to be that.  It’s something happening within my psyche that kicks up from time to time and tries to tell me that sleep and comfort are superior to my “disciplines”.  I read an article recently by a yoga teacher that said, if left to its own devices, the body would drag us down into bad habits.  We’d become slovenly.  We’d eat nothing but crap and we’d pound back the vodka to wash it all down.  I could not have disagreed more with an article.  It’s not the body that does this, in my opinion and experience, it’s the mind.  It’s the mind that goes into some kind of crisis and begs to creep back into the comfort zone of ice cream, flannel pyjamas and 18 hours of sleep.  Why does the mind do this?  I’ll be damned if I know but I suspect it’s simply the nature of the mind to kick up a fuss.

All of this brings me back a number of years to the weekend workshop I was obliged to attend during my yoga teacher training.  It was January and it was one of the coldest Januarys I can remember.  It was grey and there were piles of snow everywhere.  Navigating the roads was no small feat and, for this workshop, I had to travel into the very core of the city during rush hour traffic.  The mere thought of it felt like complete hell on earth, never mind the actual reality.  I was not a happy camper.  There I sat in a room filled with fellow trainees and other community members when my teacher opened the session with one of my most hated questions, “Why are you here today?”  I knew I was in serious trouble.  The people surrounding me, who all looked so colourful and perky while I was feeling grey and sluggish, answered with profound and lovely statements that had to do with inner peace and expanding knowledge.  All my mind could come up with was a fit of, “I’m here because I’m forced to be here.  I’m here because I won’t graduate if I don’t attend, but trust me, I don’t want to be here!”  I didn’t want to be rude and I certainly did not want to lie to my teacher. When my turn came, I took a deep breath and said, “I don’t know why I’m here.  I’ve hit the wall and I’m not sure I even want to continue with the training.  So I decided I would just show up and see what happens.”

And there it was, the golden nugget that fell out of the sky and into my lap, the key to it all:  Just…show…up.

That became my mantra for the weekend–Just show up and the rest will take care of itself.  It became my mantra for the remainder of my training.  And for my first yoga series offering.  And for Monday mornings at the office.  And for life in general.  I even find myself offering it to my students.

JUST SHOW UP.

Show up when you’d much rather be sleeping.  Show up when you think you don’t have enough time in your life to be there.  Show up regardless of how you’re feeling–happy, sad, angry, full of despair.  Show up even if you’ve had an argument with your loved one.  Show up when you have no idea what to say.  And show up when you can’t manage to stop talking.  If there’s something in your life that you know is good for you, that keeps you steady and grounded, that improves your sense of well-being, that works as a healing balm for your sanity, then, for god’s sake, show up.  All you need to do is arrive, bad mood and all, and the rest really does take care of itself.

So today I dragged my sorry, whining ass over to the mat and did my morning practice.  I showed up and walked away with a sense of bliss.  It might have been temporary, but it was there.  I also sat myself down in front of this computer with, apparently, nothing to say.  As of this moment, I have discovered over 800 words to share with you.  I showed up and the post arrived.

I haven’t met a single human yet who hasn’t, at some point or other, hit the wall and felt like sliding down to the ground and parking butt.  It may just be who we are as humans.  At those times, when you know deep within yourself that you need to push against inertia, I suggest you do what it takes–crawl, roll, drag, walk–to get to that thing that works best for you, the thing you are resisting.  Offer yourself to it, even if you’re ragged and bloody.  Write this down for fortification if you need to:

JUST SHOW UP.

The rest will take care of itself.

And it does.

With sore muscles, a cranky mind, and (figuratively) bloody fingers,

all my love,

Tabitha

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OneThingLeadstoAnother

 

And everything is not always as it appears to be.

My house took on water this week.  Basement leaks are nothing new in this old house.  As we were outside pushing snow away from exterior walls and re-routing improperly draining downspouts, water was snaking its way through the centre of the house from a leak in…we know not what.  And just as mysteriously as the water appeared, it vanished.  The plumber’s visit of 3 1/2 hours uncovered…NOTHING.  All we knew was that water was soaking the ugly carpet of the storage room and winding its way towards my most sacred territory–the yoga studio.  At first glance, other than the soaked carpet, everything looked fine.  The floor in the yoga studio appeared to be dry and all was well, except for the unsettling question of what the hell went wrong in the first place.

Yesterday, as I ventured through the studio, preparing to wash the floors, my eyes landed on something that wasn’t there before–curled corners on some of the laminate boards.  My heart started pounding and I thought I was going to puke.  I heard myself at the beginning of class only three days before asking my students, “What do you do when the rug gets pulled out from under you?  How do you respond?  Or do you react?”  Ironic.  I’ll tell you what I did.  I’ll tell you what happened to me when I discovered that water from a mysterious source had infiltrated the most sacred room in my home–I…LOST…MY…SHIT.

freak-out

I started pacing.  I couldn’t breathe.  ALL of my yoga/meditation training went out the window and my vision narrowed to a pin prick.  Obsessive negative thoughts invaded my mind–“You’re finished.  It’s over.  This is simply the first sign that the good times have come to an end and it’s all downhill from here.  This is the first indication that you will fail.  God is telling you your business is going to tank.  It’s ruined, completely ruined.  The space is tainted now and no good shall come from this any more.”  On and ON the voices droned, stripping me down to nothing.  And then the top blew off and I started crying and yelling.  I was absolutely out…of…control.

And yet, in the midst of this mental chaos, I heard a voice asking, “What is it about water that takes you out?  What is it about this water that has you losing it so badly?”  Like I said, this was not the first time I had dealt with water in my basement and the damage from this incident, fortunately, was minimal.  I honestly did not understand what was going on.  All I knew was that I felt young and small and vulnerable and violated.  I felt helpless and powerless.  You can’t fight water, you know?  It has a life, a force and a power all of its own.

And then I received an email from my mother about this weekend being the 15th anniversary of my Grandfather’s death.  That email tore open the floodgates.  Out of some dark corner of my heart came a rush of grief that had hidden away for 15 years.  Like a magician pulling a scarf out of his sleeve, this email pulled out insight that helped me understand that something much deeper was going on.

senior Gramps

My Grandfather struggled with congestive heart failure.  Over time, this robust man’s heart weakened and became enlarged.  Its decreased pumping capacity meant his lungs could not oxygenate his body properly.  His kidneys could not effectively flush fluids from his tissues.  In short, over time, my Grandfather’s body took on water.  Water seeped into his tissues and stayed there, flooding the space, causing him to swell.  His feet became so enlarged that the skin shone and his slippers needed to be slit open in the back if he was ever to put them on.  Slowly but surely my Grandfather began to drown and, after a point, there was nothing anyone could do for him.  My Grandfather was taking on water and he was going to die.  All I could do was sit there and watch.

How much of the panic and fear I was experiencing was about the actual water that came into my home, and how much was about unresolved conflict and feelings around my Grandfather’s death and other instances when I have felt completely helpless?  When walking around the yoga studio as a crazed lunatic, pressing down on the floor boards, was I really trying to flush the fluids out of the floor, or was I unconsciously trying to save my Grandfather’s life by squeezing the water from his lungs so he could breathe again?  When I obsessed about washing the studio floor, how much of that had to do with the footprints on the laminate, and how much of it was the unresolved guilt I felt for being too afraid to touch my Grandfather’s swollen skin before he died?  The water’s infiltration into my home and sacred space, along with my reaction to it, was a sneaky signpost, something that pointed the way to the truth–that my stories of powerlessness and helplessness were the issues here and the things that needed healing.

So the next time you, like me, find yourself in a predicament where the extent of your emotional response goes far beyond what is warranted, may I suggest you take a moment to breathe (or at least try) and ask yourself these gentle questions:  What’s really going on here?  What lies beneath the surface of this experience?  What memory has been triggered that is asking for my attention?  What buried piece is surfacing that needs healing?  How can I best nurture myself at this time?

Everything is not always as it appears to be and, often, one thing leads to another.

Wishing for you the courage and ability to dig deep and to see with soulful, insightful eyes.  Wishing for you hugs when you’re feeling tender, band-aids for the places where you hurt, healing balm to soften your scar tissue, and hip waders for when the water seeps into your world.  😉

Many blessings and much love,

Tabitha

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Water is Freezing

Yesterday I stood in my backyard and noticed a huge pool of water forming on the patio walkway.  We’ve recently had a good deal of snow…and then a thaw…then a freeze, some more snow, another thaw and some rain.  While the walkway has been cleared, with the ground frozen, the run-off from the thaw has nowhere to go, so the water pools ankle-deep.  Last night as I waited for my yoga students to arrive for class, I heard an odd crunching sound outside.  I opened the door to discover one of my students stepping through the light layer of ice that had formed atop the pooling water.  She was the icebreaker going through so others would have safer passage (bless her).

That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling lately–like a stagnant pool of water that’s begun crusting over.  So many hopes and dreams move through me, so many creative ideas, and in the cool of my mid-winter body I feel like these things have nowhere to go.  Instead, they build up inside, like fluid in my tissues.  They sit and cause pressure as the stresses of daily living create a thin crust on the skin of my psyche–nothing comes in, nothing goes out.

Mid-winter is a hard time of year.  You’re so far from the beginning of winter that you can’t remember the feel of warmth on your skin or the vibrancy of colours all around you, and you’re so far from the end of the season that you can sometimes believe it will never end.  The body grows stiff, the mind grows cranky, the psyche becomes easily overloaded and impatient, and the emotions break their snowy banks and spill out everywhere.  Mid-winter and mid-winter living is messy.

Nevertheless, beneath the crust of this season’s living and generally unbeknownst to us, there is movement.  Beneath the thin ice cap, water spreads out if it can’t sink down.  It moves around.  It moves through.  Water does not beat its way through obstacles; it continues until it finds the space that already exists and then it enters, replenishing that which has grown bone dry.

If only I could be as wise as water.

For now, it’s enough for me to acknowledge what’s going on.  It’s enough to sit with the sensation of pooled sluggishness in my body and mind.  It’s enough to know that, although a thin crust of cool has descended upon me, there is movement going on underneath.  Microscopic movement, like the fluttering of an eyelash in a slow, summer breeze, but movement nonetheless.  There’s not much more I can do now other than to sit and wait for the thaw to wash away the deep freeze of my soul.  To allow the waters of my hopes and dreams to sink deep and to spread out and, eventually, to spring up here and there in little green shoots of new life.  For right now, it’s all just potential with a low thrumming vibration at the centre of it all.  And for right now I’m crawling back into my dream-cave to emerge in the Spring with a scratch and a snort.

May we meet each other on the thawed path, at the place beyond mid-winter, and may we all be holding armloads of pretty coloured dream-flowers to share with the world.

flowers

Until then…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………..

Blessings,

Tabitha

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