For years, if I had a magic wand, I’d have opted for “the easy way out” of everything. I perceived life as a fight. Every single day, I went to bed with my armor on and made sure it was spiffed up and shiny everyday when I got up. No one could get to me. I was armed and ready for anything, physically, emotionally and mentally. In the end, I ended up with a compromised belief system, horrid self esteem issues and knew in my heart that I was a crappy roll model for my sweet little girl. Sadly, her sweetness was lost on me most days because I had zero coping skills that would help me deal with her chronic mystical fevers and sleeplessness…. that ultimately turned into our sleeplessness. The first time I held her, I suddenly knew what true love was and I realized that if I stayed where I was, she would never know that I felt that way about her, through my misery lens. I was a Grade A disaster. I could tell you stories, but just take a stab at some very shameful lifestyle choices and hit one or two of those that don’t include drugs or alcohol and you’ll have nailed me to the wall.
So what did I do? What was the beginning of my “work”? First, I bailed out of my failed marriage. It wasn’t pretty for anyone involved. My sweet girl cried and screamed and told me it was my fault. She begged me to go back to “the red house” where she had been raised. She tried everything that a 3 year old could to guilt me home because she was no longer comfortable in her own skin. Everything got tossed upside down. I’ll tell you the truth. I waited too long to leave, so when I left I had nothing in place to help her cope with the disaster going on around her. I failed at leaving, but knew I had to go. People will ask why it is that I was so selfish as to upturn her life? They will say things like “you ruined her life”, “you’re a bad mother” or “you are self centered”. Don’t worry, I beat everyone to those thoughts as I packed my things. I knew I was a bad mom, right then and there. Phase one of “doing the work” was a disaster and it will be a defining moment for most of us for the rest of our lives. In truth, at the time, I didn’t think I was doing “work”, I was bailing the “eff” out before I made things any worse.
Meeting Bill gave me hope. I was as broken as I’d ever been. Hope is a funny thing though. Hope is like a magic elixir for the incredibly cruel ways we treat ourselves. In that hope, I started to see myself more clearly and I needed a Hazmat team to come in and clean up; the self loathing, anger, disappointment(….add all the truly sad feelings here…). So, I went to work, doing the “work”. I was extremely fit then and I sweat out a lot of angst. I began to practice yoga again. At first, I practiced for the same reasons that I swung kettle bells with Bill…..like a pressure release valve for my soul. Then slowly, I learned to practice for the respite. At the same time, I started Healing Touch energy work with Amanda Gould.
One of the faults of my first marriage was that I had allowed my belief system to be picked apart until I would groan inwardly when people would talk about God. What god would leave me to feel that lost and alone? I knew no Chakras or meridian lines. Angels and guides were for other people. I had lost the joy of wondering about the unseen other than ghosts. Rolled into the ball of the disaster of leaving was the cracking open of the joy of belief again. What else was out there? Healing Touch opened my eyes wide as my energetic system was smoothed out and cleaned out week after week. I would leave each session with a renewed sense of “I got this” and a clear mind trained on learning to be a better, me. Receiving energy work made me remember that yoga had the same healing qualities. I knew those qualities years prior as I rolled from a daily practice right through my yoga certification. I remember my spirit singing with JOY back then. I had gotten lost.
“Work” is not a Jiffy Pop, quick thing. It’s been four years now and every single day, I do work. Within a year of separating, I got terribly sick. Instead of going to the hospital because I loath emergency rooms as a former EMT, Bill took me to an herbalist. I credit her with helping me learn to save my own life. I also started to study with her and spent two years learning holistic and natural healing. Two years ago I felt compelled to dive headlong into my 300 hour yoga training that would, in the end, give me a total of 500 hours. If 200 hours is like a bachelors degree, then the next 300 is like a masters degree. Within two weeks of my decision, I was in my first training doing “work”. On the last day of a certification on Boundaries and Ethics, I woke up. I completely and utterly woke up. Wide awake. Almost jerked from my slumber and laziness of having become the product of too many other people’s programming. The “work” got harder because the work was no longer about my psyche, it was about my soul….my connection to the universe and the community of souls on this planet. I suddenly remembered JOY and knew it was imperative that I share it.
For almost three years now I’ve been seriously teaching yoga again. For about two years since I woke up however, I’ve been teaching from a platform of JOY and how we can all remember where to find it…. tucked away inside behind some balled up napkins, rubber bands and a tater tot or two. Two years ago, I started what I consider to be the REAL work…..moving from learning it to practicing it to teaching it.
Where’d my sweet girl end up in all the “work” doing? I’ll assure you that she has been front and center in all our lives but she ended up angry for a while and developed a sense of separateness. She lives a 50/50 life like a lot of kids and we have all battled to try to keep her pointed in the right direction. When I got Reiki certified, I started helping her with her energetic system but truly recognized that I couldn’t help her if I didn’t get myself truly clear. The next piece of the “work” was authenticity. If I wasn’t comfortable with myself, then how could I teach her to cope? How could I teach her self love if I wasn’t truly sure that I loved myself too? The “work” got more intense. How does one work on a sense of “separateness”? I had to dig deep.
About a year ago, I became a Sound Healer…..a huge stretch for someone who’s students used to ask her not to sing in class. Yikes! It was a giant leap and one that was packed full of potential judgement from others if I pursued it beyond cert class. I dove in. It made sense the way that Healing Touch made sense. It made sense the way yoga and sunshine made sense. It was audible home for me. Luckily, my practitioners loved it. Over the course of a few short years I had become “healing minded” and health focused and I live daily now with a sense of falling in love with my work. I live daily “in community” with a tribe of JOY seekers and uplifters. A tribe of those who know that there is MORE to life.
My sweet child is now growing up with me in those ways too. A happy mama makes a happy baby. Not to mention, I have a beautiful, high school aged step-daughter in this cosmic mix too that needs love and “soul modeling” too. So yes, I’m still doing “work”. I evaluated my parenting recently and realized that I was the source of a lot of my daughter’s tantrums. So, I got a grip of my mom-ego and did some more work. I shifted my parenting style a bit and my babe is full of smiles again. It was doing us no good to lock horns everyday. I had to change myself or she would learn yet another sense of failing from me. Sure, she has lots of reasons already for therapy, but I’m trying to make sure it’s more of a short list of reasons, than a litany.
Is any of it perfect? No. Do I still feel selfish for the divorce? In some ways, yes because I understand the ways that my own parent’s divorce effected me. What I know now though, is that I am a good person. I live and love out loud and JOY is my soul’s song and life’s work. Will my daughter and my step-daughter be better off learning things from me from the platform I live from now? You can bet your non-dairy buttered, gluten-free biscuits on it.