The Past Informs the Present
Have you ever had an existential crisis? I’m pretty sure I just lived through one, and I continue to have glimpses of it flash into my consciousness periodically. An existential crisis refers to feelings of unease about meaning, choice, and freedom in life. I was thrown into this phase a little over three years ago, as mom was leaving her earthly body and my only child moved out of our home. I was in deep grief and sadness for well over two years. In my eyes, I lived through two deaths, of the most primal relationships I have. I wasn’t the same person I used to be and reflecting on it now, I can see that that period forever changed who I am.
In many ways I am incredibly happy to be in this stage of life. NOW. (I certainly didn’t feel it in the midst of it.) NOW feels more secure, loving, authentic and spirit filled, but I’d be lying if I said I miss nothing of my old life. Grief is funny that way, how it hangs on, if only in glimpses. As they say, ‘ignorance is bliss.’ I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I was naive about the flow of life. I suspect we are all this way. We really can’t know things in an intimate way unless we live them.
I used to write all the time, like every day. I wrote a lot leading up to mom’s passing but almost entirely stopped writing the way I was used to when she died. It was too painful. I was deepening my wounds instead of healing. So I started writing poetry, my brand of it anyway. I called my poems little ‘love letters for the soul,’ I even wrote and published a book with that title. Fast forward to today, over three and a half years later, I’m feeling a pull to write again, like I used to.
I literally didn’t know who I was for two and a half years following ‘the deaths’. I stopped teaching yoga too. I took a job that didn’t excite me. I lived this way — sorta here, sorta not — for nearly three years. On top of grief, I felt unworthy in so many ways. I felt like my words didn’t matter. I felt like a weirdo to other people. But like everything in life, it’s all coming full circle again. I am distinctly seeing the shape of my life re-form in beautiful ways I never could have imagined. I won’t go into all of the details about how it happened/is happening; I’ll just say that I firmly believe that God gives us exactly what we need to become our best selves if we pay attention to the clues and synchronicities that are given to us each day. Also, ‘the only way out is through.’ I had to go through it to get to here, to gain perspective. I would not be who I am without the pain I endured. I would not have the wisdom that I gained. It is possible I wouldn’t be as empathetic as I am and I certainly wouldn’t feel as secure in myself as I do today. This last one may be the biggest gift of all.
I spent the entirety of my childhood and most of my young adult life feeling insecure, unworthy, afraid of shining, and I hid a lot of my gifts from the world. I was afraid of rejection, of people talking about me in a negative way, of people not liking me. I began my yoga journey, becoming a teacher, with this mindset. It changed me in so many beautiful ways. I shared yoga to help others feel better and to help myself internalize the gifts yoga offers: self acceptance, contentment, non-judgement, on and on. “We teach what we most need to learn ourselves.” That was definitely the case for me.
Long story short, I needed this period of grief to wake up, to become more authentically who I am. I needed it to help me move into this next phase of life, a phase that wants me to be unapologetically me, a phase that will accept nothing less.
Love letters for the soul has become a bit of a mantra for me — a purpose, if you will. Uplifting words are like little ‘love letters for the soul.’ We all need them. We need to connect with our truest natures to find our deepest purpose. Writing and teaching yoga were both ways I offered these gifts to others. I am not sure I’ll ever teach again regularly but I know I’ll never stop writing.
I have always been an empathetic, highly sensitive person. I have always cared about others. I have always wanted to lift others up. Soul Fabric started with a yoga lens but morphed into something more, something deeper, more life encompassing. It has always been and continues to be about the human condition, my lived experience and the ways we are all more alike than different. It is about living, loving and learning, plus musing about being a soul in a human body, and the ways we are woven into the universe.
I hope to write here more in the coming days, sharing more of my experience when appropriate, plus writing about the things I learn about. I am an inquisitive life-long learner and spiritual seeker. As I embark on a two year journey in The Living School through the Center of Action and Contemplation, I know the process will be continued life change. I want to document my experiences and learning for myself, and share with you. We are mirrors for each other. I am truly grateful you are here.
Photo by Krzysztof Niewolny on Unsplash