I think I’m not alone in being busy – 2018 was one beautiful, but hectic year for me. I realized today that it’s been a while – too long – since I sat in silent meditation.
I’ve noticed that when I feel too busy, I tend to push off the very things that are good for me, and help me cope with busy-ness. Yoga is something I used to do daily, and haven’t done in a while, and given my feelings of inner restlessness, I decided to start there.
I’m not one of these yoginis who finds all her peace and solace on her mat. Sometimes, it’s the opposite. If I’m moving through a series, guided by yoga youtube which I’d done before, and notice I can’t quite keep up to my old pace, or I’m not really enjoying it as the exertion is beyond my ease, I can end up feeling mentally worse on the mat than on the couch! But that’s a head problem, and knowing it’s been a while, I took a moment to get my head right, and proactively encourage myself to move through at least 10 minutes, and modify wherever I needed to without shame.
Funny how an exercise meant to be self-care can end up being self-shaming if you’re not completely on top of yourself. Being real here – I will never pretend to have my inner life together at all times, because none of us do. In fact, if you find someone on youtube, Instagram, facebook etc., who appears to have all of their act together at all times, be skeptical and wonder for a moment what they’re choosing not to share.
So anyway, I got on my mat, went through the movements, and felt myself click back into a place, intuitively, that I haven’t felt since 2013, (the year my mother was diagnosed.) It was a deeply peaceful, meditative place. I have been breathing and moving in the years since 2013, certainly! Today was different though, and I’ll tell you why I think that is:
I have decided that 2019 is going to be my Year of Leaving Behind.
Since 2012, I have been so focused on surviving, then doing everything I could to visit my mother as often as I could before she died, then processing the endless geyser of emotional upheaval that continued to erupt in the years since her death! Huge shifts happened within out family dynamic. Big emotional events caused relational earthquakes. My reproductive health took a nosedive and took over my life. Even childhood events began to demand attention by showing up with unrelenting PTSD-like symptoms.
I coped pretty well, I think. I went to therapy. I went to doctors. I talked to my friends. I wrote about much of these challenges in this blog! (Thank you so much for reading! You help me more than you know!)
2018 has been an incredible year for me, after all we have worked through. Sweetie and I got married! I healed from my surgery. I launched my Telepathic Communication Class. I did more sessions this year than I’ve ever done in previous years. My practice is growing, my health is improving, and I can feel things moving forward again.
To facilitate this forward motion, I’ve decided that 2019 is the year I let things go. I have put so much energy into healing myself, and through that journey, I’ve learned that I really can *only* heal myself.
I can’t heal the past, no matter how much I think about it.
While I can certainly help other people, I can’t heal them through only my own effort.
Though I can express my own convictions, I can’t change other’s opinions. I’m responsible for my actions, but not for what people think of me, my life, or what I choose to do with it.
My mission for 2019 is to let all of that go.
I’m going to leave behind the expectations that I internalized from other people. This covers A LOT.
Instead, I am going to remind myself of the standards which *I* hold dear.
I’m going to leave behind the wishes and hopes and sighs of “if only things had been different”, because they weren’t, and really, that’s okay.
I going to remind myself to hold compassion for myself and for the other people in those thoughts.
I’m going to release responsibility and attachment for relationships I would love to have, but aren’t within my reach.
I will gently remind myself that I am not responsible to do all of the work that needs to be done. And I will gently blanket myself with a new layer of emotional protection, which I deserve.
I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions – in fact, I’ve been known to resolve to eat an egg for breakfast that very day – and that’s it, resolution accomplished! However, I have been known to take up prayer this time of year, and I thought I’d share a bit of that with you.
I have a prayer book. Not a book of prayers written by other people, but prayers I’ve written myself. Sometimes I call these, “letters to God”. I do see myself in partnership with someone greater than myself, and as my understanding of spirituality expands.
I’m learning more about Judaism right now, and the philosophy discussions I’m listening to are so engaging – exciting, even. All the years I attended the teachings of a dear Buddhist monk who takes the time to travel all the way out to the coast, I never felt the excitement of “yes I believe that!” or “Yes, I value that!” So much about Buddhism is letting go, releasing expectation, attachment, giving love freely, believing in the butterfly effect of loving kindness, inner reflection, and unconditional compassion. It’s a lifelong commitment and I *will* always carry these teachings forward.
I owe Buddhism so much in my ability to cope with physical and spiritual distress, and the meditation practice is something I will take with me for the rest of my life. It is truly a gift. Whereas Buddhism has brought me quite a lot of peace and strength, and Christianity has brought community, Judaism is really bringing the brain into spirituality – which is exciting!
For example, from Wikipedia:
Jewish ethical practice is typically understood to be marked by values such as justice, truth, peace, loving-kindness (chesed), compassion, humility, and self-respect. Specific Jewish ethical practices include practices of charity (tzedakah) and refraining from negative speech (lashon hara).
There’s a lot to resonate with there, which I already hold as deep personal values. I think the thing which I find most exciting about studying Judaism is that there is literally no way I will ever hit the bottom of the philosophical discussions within the community. I’m not comparing or saying it’s “better” in any way – not at all my point, and I’ve already come across fundamentalist or uber-conservative rabbis who are problematic – it’s just that Judaism as a culture seems to embrace the UNKNOWN aspects of spirituality far more than Buddhism, Wicca, or any version of Christianity I’ve yet encountered.
I am just intrigued by a faith system that admits, “Hey, we don’t really know for sure, why the things that happen here on earth, happen – and we don’t really agree on what happens after you die either! But we’ve been talking about it for thousands of years!”
A few of the customs I’ve been exposed to through Jewish friends have made an impression on me as well. For example, in the event of an unexpected death, you still proceed with planned celebrations such as bar mitzvah and weddings, because in life, death walks beside us. When, this past summer, people criticized a bride roundly for going ahead with her wedding when her mother had died in a surfing accident that morning, I thought of this practice and believe for some families it is completely appropriate not to cancel her wedding, and I believe, as the bride said, this is what her mother would have wanted. (I don’t know if this family is Jewish or not.)
So the Faithware Upgrade continues! Back to my prayer book:
I have this special journal, with paper so fine and soft I can’t stand to use it for anything but the most vulnerable thoughts in my heart. This is not a journal for to do lists or business planning, it’s not even practical to write in that often, as the pages are small. I only write very special things in them – my gratitude for the blessings in my life, and my prayers for support in doing better work, and looking after myself, my wife, and caring for my community.
This book is where I boil everything down to what I have to offer the earth, and what I need to accomplish that.
I haven’t written in this book for four years.
I had almost forgotten what I’d written in it.
After my yoga, I felt the strong urge to just sit in my body, in silent meditation, kegels for the mind! When I sat upon my mat, with my cat, (ha) I went through my routine of addressing all the thoughts running through my head. No wonder I like to listen to audiobooks! It distracts me from all these THOUGHTS! It took a while for all those thoughts to feel heard, and for my body to make its own state of the union speech, before the space cleared and before me, in my minds eye, I saw my prayer book, and I immediately knew I needed to pick it up and write in it.
Before I did, I gently folded back the pages I’d written four to eight years ago, and to my amazement, I could tick off every prayer as answered. I had never before gone back to check.
My first entry, of course, was a big Thank You. It’s been quite a journey, these past four years, but I sense a big shift now, like the gathering of momentum under me – the feeling you get when you’re on a horse, cantering across an open straight-away, and with a click of encouragement, you feel your horse shift underneath you, as you get high on her neck, gather yourselves before the burst of speed into a gallop!
I don’t know exactly what’s in store for me in the coming years, I do know that I’m ready – not from a place of need (as in, I need things to change) but from a place of growth, where I really can leave these other heavy things behind.
Sometimes healing is about letting go, and being at peace with the scar. One thing is for sure, you can’t truly heal if you keep *looking* at the scar, you just accept it, and when you’re good and ready, you choose to release attachment to the events, the losses, the upheaval that surrounded that scar. You work with it, and most importantly, you do NOT let it hold you back!
Here’s to my Year of Leaving Behind!
May we all release ourselves to gallop towards the future!
A very Happy New Year, my blog friends! Tell me your resolution, if you have one!